Reaction to Russia’s (Limited) Freedom of the Press

So after listening to On The Media as well as hearing what our classmates had to say, I am still not appalled by Russia’s actions these Olympic games. One thing that’s been stuck in my head is what one student said. Of course it’s not verbatim, but the gist was that in the United States, news eventually get released (e.g. Edward Snowden), but in Russia there are way more cover-ups. First of all I thought that this mode of thinking was absolutely unsupportable. There is no way to tell if we have more secrets or if they do, because they are just that, secrets.

And as our professor mentioned in class the other day, a lot of the American news coverage around Russia and the games is negative. All of these news articles seem to have a common theme- “Look how backwards Russia is.” And fittingly, the US hasn’t had great relations with the country. I mean really, look how crazy Russia really is!

Killing Stray dogs,Tips for “surviving” their hotels like it’s the dangerous Sahara,and they hate gays! Luckily we don’t so let’s cover it while letting you know that we think these anti-gay laws are backwards.

Meanwhile, Kansas is trying to pass a law clearly discriminating against same-sex couples as seen here. Of course I’m not saying that this news didn’t get any coverage, and tell me if I’m wrong but I think Russia’s laws are receiving way more media coverage. Do I think it’s bad that we’re talking about injustices overseas? No, I guess pressuring the Russian government is good, but are we missing out on some local stories, eh? Even On The Media perpetuated this evil Russia that we love to hate. Russia covering up all these problems around the Olympics! Oh dear!

I’m of the opinion that the Olympics are definitely not good for the local community hosting the event. Were they ever said to be? Read This. There are short-term economic boosts, but the economy doesn’t get better after the games. The above article mentions Greece’s now abandoned Olympic arenas, that’s real good for the neighborhood. The American media coverage for the 2000 Sydney games didn’t change how people thought about Sydney. Americans came in with their own views, found things to reaffirm those views, and reported it.”Given that there was no Sydney 2000 media coverage that served to fundamentally challenge already-held images and attitudes, American perceptions, not surprisingly, remained largely constant before and after the Sydney Olympics.” And I think that this is happening with these Olympics as well. Russia’s not the Soviet Union anymore, but look they hate gays, those blackguards!

Is Russia hurting the environment a good news story in my opinion? Yeah, we’re all focusing on these games, we want to know what’s going on, and we like to hear bad news. But this constant onslaught of terrible Russian story after another surely has me thinking, is there a ton wrong with Russia, or the American media coverage? Maybe both, but I think the latter is persuading us quicker than we realize. I’m not advocating some of these Russian policies, I’d assume that constructing the games with less negative environmental impacts is costly and that Russia took the cheap way out here. Trying to prevent that truth from being released goes against our American freedoms and is tyrannic. But this constant negative national coverage will do nothing but convince Americans that Russia is just plain ol’ evil. And to each their own judging what is and what is not evil.

So how much is Russia covering-up? More than we’d like. How much is everyone in the world covering-up, probably more than we’d like as well. That doesn’t make Russia’s position necessarily correct, but I think we might be too quick to judge since it’s all relative. And I think that the Olympics are a very expensive endeavor and an Olympics without cover-ups is way too good to be true. We already havethis news about the Rio games. And for the record, the government controlling news isn’t much different in my eyes than big shots owning a news corporation.


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