Jul 15, 2011

This blog on TV

Wow, I missed this. Earlier, I criticized Radley Balko for co-operating with Russia Today here. What I didn't know, and only found out just now, was that while Radley's response to my criticism was, well, underwhelming, Alyona Minkovski decided to address me on a video she published for her show on Russia Today.

It's strange to hear someone talk about my panties on television. What's stranger, however, is that Ms. Minkovski would bother to address my criticism on the air, by name and by showing a shot of my blog, but not actually talk about what it is that I said. In the video, Ms. Minkovski implies that I've said she shouldn't be allowed to criticize her government.

That's absolutely ridiculous. My actual criticism, which you can read from the link in the first paragraph, was directed at Radley Balko. This was the gist of it:

In my view, working with Russia Today, and even more so in letting Russia Today's employees broadcast themselves through his blog, Radley Balko has put a big question mark next to his name and his integrity as a journalist. To me, it's profoundly unethical to blithely co-operate with the propaganda organs of one of the most repressive states in the world and simultaneously cultivate an image of oneself as a libertarian human rights advocate.

Another quote, this time more directly applicable to Ms. Minkovski herself:

Furthermore, I don't believe the people making shows for or otherwise directly working with Russia Today are exactly pursuing an agenda of human rights. Surely if they were concerned with police brutality and human rights, they wouldn't be working for the Russian government. So either they have a very limited definition of human rights that excludes, say, the Russian opposition parties and sexual minorities in Russia, or then they have a different agenda. What's certain is that the channel they're working for is pushing the Russian government's agenda, not a human rights one. And by letting its employees promote themselves and their channel on his blog, Mr. Balko is also taking part in the Russian government's information warfare, to the direct detriment of human rights in Russia.

I don't see how it's possible to read my post as implying that I think Ms. Minkovski shouldn't "dare" criticize her government. What I'm trying to say is that it's more than a little dishonest to criticize the United States for police brutality while working for the Russian government. Surely the two are different things.

When Ms. Minkovski says I should be concerned that US mainstream media isn't reporting on police brutality, I can only say that I am concerned. I've written about SWAT teams and the war on drugs plenty of times on this blog. But what I was trying to say in my previous post is that I'm also concerned that her network isn't reporting on similar stories from Russia. Why is it okay to downplay and ignore police brutality in Russia? For that matter, why is it okay for Russia Today to distort the truth in their country, while it isn't okay for American mainstream media to do the same? That seems like a double standard to me.

Seeing this video was a little bizarre. On the one hand, Ms. Minkovski and, presumably, her producers, felt a need to address my criticisms of her appearing on Mr. Balko's blog. However, they couldn't seem to bring themselves to actually answer my questions, but instead attacked a bizarre strawman. If anything, this would seem to confirm to me that my criticism of her and RT was well-founded. If her reply to a question on journalistic ethics is to distort the question beyond recognition and mock me for asking it, I guess that's all the answer I need.

Not to mention that me and this blog are much more famous than I thought!