Western media are feeding us bullshit. It is so strong that even western politicians, like the public, seem to believe in it. The reason is that it is increasingly difficult to detect the bullshit because there is just too much of it.
Gilbert Doctorow takes on the Western disinformation campaign especially with regards to the fall of Bakhmut:
t is these censorious states and the mass media that carry their messages with stenographic precision into print and electronic dissemination who are the ones that day after day feed disinformation to the public. It is cynically composed and consists of a toxic blend of ‘spin,’ by which is meant misleading interpretation of events, and outright lies.
The many months long battle for the provincial Donbas city of Bakhmut, or Artyomovsk as it is known in Russia, has been described variously from on high in Washington, London and Berlin. When the likely outcome was unclear, the defense of Bakhmut was called heroic and demonstrative of the brave fighting spirit of the Ukrainians.
Casualty figures issued by Kiev and then trumpeted from Washington suggested that the Russians were stupidly throwing away the lives of their fighting men by using WWI style human waves of attackers who were decimated by the defenders. Russian lives are cheap was the message. The fact that Russian artillery on site outnumbered and outperformed Ukrainian artillery by a factor of five or seven to one was freely admitted by the Western propagandists as they pleaded for increased supplies to Kiev. They, nonetheless, issued casualty reports for the Russians that inverted the force correlation. It was assumed, obviously with reason, that the public was too lazy or too uninterested to do the arithmetic.
I had earlier taken on the nonsensical casualty claims:
The Russian forces fire ten times the number of shells the Ukrainians can fire. In a modern war artillery fire causes 65+% of all casualties. It is thus impossible that Ukraine is losing less soldiers than the Russians.
The total ratio may well be 7 to 1 but it will certainly be to the advantage of the Russian forces side.
The reporting on the alleged not-fall of Bakhmut in mainstream media is similar nonsensical:
The New York Times writes:
As Russia Claims Victory in Bakhmut, Ukraine Sees Opportunity Amid Ruins
Russia’s capture of Bakhmut would be a powerful symbolic success for Moscow. It would represent the first Ukrainian city it has seized since Lysychansk last summer, and be a setback for Kyiv, which expended precious ammunition and sent some of its most capable forces to try to thwart Russia’s devastating monthslong assault on the city. Thousands of troops from both sides are believed to have been killed in nearly a year of intense fighting there.
Bakhmut has fallen. Why then is the NYT writing in the subjunctive 'would'? It does not make sense.
The Washington Post does likewise:
As hold on Bakhmut slips, Ukrainian forces push to encircle city
Ukrainian forces have been reduced to small footholds in the devastated eastern city of Bakhmut, which despite its limited strategic importance has emerged as the war’s bloodiest battlefield. But they have made gains on the Russian flanks, in a move to encircle the city and extend the fight there, according to Ukrainian officials and military personnel in the field.
Ukraine still holds slivers of the city, including the area around what has become a landmark of Ukraine’s last redoubt: a destroyed sculpture of a Soviet MiG fighter jet, according to multiple military personnel involved in defending the position, which Russian forces continue to contest.
No. Ukraine does not hold 'slivers of the city'. Videos published yesterday evidently prove that:
Ukraine Control Map @UAControlMap - 10:50 UTC · May 22, 2023
46/48 Wagner flag raise in south west Bakhmut near the destroyed MiG statue
Coordinates: 48.57570907, 37.96475216
Map view: Google
'Encircling the city' is likewise a dream.
Situation in Bakhmut on May 8 and 22nd
Maps of Bakhmut here ..
The scale of the map is on the bottom right. From it we can tell that the Russian forces, under attack, have moved back some 1 or 2 kilometers from the difficult to defend fields towards better suited positions after Ukrainian forces wasted their lives to open a corridor for the troops fleeing from Bakhmut. That attack happened on May 11. On the following day the Russian Defense Ministry said that the Ukrainian side, during the last 24 hours, had lost 1,725 men, 9 tanks and 55 armored combat vehicles. That was so far the biggest reported daily loss in this war. The lines on the flanks of Bakhmut have since been stabilized.
So where please is the 'encirclement'? The maps show no attempt of one.
Yves Smith points out that the disinformation allures have seemingly turned into the believes of those who issues them:
US Geopolitics: Believing Impossible Things
In corporate America, there’s a decent risk that fakery will get caught out by competitors, short sellers, whistleblowers, and just plain careful reading of audited financials.
By contrast, in politics, reality avoidance is routinely the key to a long and successful-looking career, witness Eurocrats’ fondness for “kick the can” strategies. And that propensity is particularly dangerous when leadership groups have become both selfish and short-termist. There really was once upon a time some people who went into government service for the service part, and not for the revolving door and networking.
But now, the well-honed effectiveness of propaganda has encouraged politicians and their media amplifiers/allies to go hog wild with selling Big Lies. And the worst is there are no consequences for the perps.
The wee problem with the war in Ukraine and the escalating US eye-poking of China is neither is going very well, to the degree that the propaganda started fizzling out very quickly in the Global South and is losing its potency in the West. It’s hard to keep up the pretense of a great inevitable Ukraine victory with Ukraine losing Bakhmut, after Zelensky made it the centerpiece of his Congressional love-fest last December. Oh, but Ukraine is still trying to deny it is lost, as they did for Mariupol and Soledar until well after the fact.
The believe into impossible things is not only with regards to the war in Ukraine but also with the bigger view towards China:
Similarly, US officials may have told themselves that much of the world regarded China with suspicion due to its often-overheated rhetoric and hypersensitivity to slights. But these self-comforting beliefs about China’s position on the world stage got a big wake up call with China brokering a normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and then Syria. Now China is making more trouble by wandering into America’s back yard, as in Europe, and talking up its napkin-doodle Ukraine peace plan.
The extreme hostile G7 communique on China is simply another expression of western delusion:
According to the Financial Times, the G7 has issued its strongest condemnation of China, and most of the other international mainstream media also highlight that it "amps up pressure on China." It seems that the only way for the G7 to catch people's attention and show its sense of presence is to speculate on the issues related to China.
As a "rich countries' club" that once accounted for up to 70% of the global economy, the G7 has been facing a serious existential crisis in recent years as its economic weight has been declining, coupled with a decline in global population share and perceived attractiveness.
The louder the anti-China rhetoric from the G7, the smaller its actual impact will be, as this is a natural law. This is because it would mean that G7 serves the strategic interests of the US rather than the welfare of the international community, making it difficult to receive any "assistance" but more difficult to make progress. It is very likely that in the end, the G7 will find that it has expended a lot of effort, but the result is only spinning its wheels.
The Hiroshima summit seems to have given the G7 a sense of "shaping history," but this illusion will soon be blown away by the winds of reality, since without internal prosperity and development, external displays of strength are only superficial.
Unfortunately many people in the west believe the bullshit their politicians and media are throwing at them. As Caitlin Johnstone observes:
The problem that underpins most other problems in modern times is that human minds are highly hackable, and that the science of hacking them at mass scale has been advancing since Bernays over a century ago. This is what keeps people consenting to the destructive and exploitative agendas of the powerful against their own interests.
Many people, maybe even most people, are to some extent aware that our entire civilization is bullshit. Relatively few are able to describe exactly how and why it’s bullshit, though, because there’s so much bullshit it’s hard to get a clear view of how the bullshit is happening.
It’s hard to understand how and why our civilization is bullshit exactly because our civilization is bullshit. It’s rife with lies, the teachers feed us lies, the algorithms feed us lies, and we’re trained to look for information in areas that will turn up lies.
In a civilization that’s made of bullshit, it’s rare to gain solid enough footing and high enough ground to be able to look around and clearly see how all the bullshit is happening. Everything here is geared toward preventing us from gaining that footing. It takes hard, diligent work, and more than a little luck.
Unfortunately her conclusion is right.
Posted by b on May 22, 2023 at 14:25 UTC