Biden, Putin and the Press

by Margaret Kimberley, published on Black Agenda Report, June 23, 2021

“The United States has declared Russia an enemy and openly supports people who want to bring about regime change.”

Corporate media in the United States work hand in hand with the state and promote its neoliberal and imperialist agenda. There is great continuity from administration to administration and nowhere is that more obvious than in the realm of foreign policy. The duopoly war party consensus doesn’t just dominate in the White House and Congress, but also in television news and newspapers. The recent summit meeting between Joe Biden  and Russian president Vladimir Putin  demonstrated that the media see themselves as governmental servants. They have little interest in being adversarial or keeping the public informed of anything meaningful.

Biden’s team carefully chose who would be allowed to question him at his press conference and no Russian media were invited. In contrast, American reporters were among those at Putin’s press conference and they gave him no consideration. Journalists are supposed to ask tough questions, but ideally those questions should further our understanding of events. If a head of state is put on the spot, it ought to be because important issues are being addressed.

That is not the treatment Putin received. To be clear, he isn’t owed kid glove treatment, but Americans who take the time to watch should learn something other than the “Putin is evil” trope repeated endlessly. But that is what they got from one of the few Black reporters who had a chance to question a head of state after an historic meeting.

“American reporters at Putin’s press conference gave him no consideration.”

Rachel Scott  of ABC asked,

“The list of your political opponents who are dead, imprisoned, or jailed is long. Alexei Navalny, whose organization calls for free and fair elections, and an end to corruption, but Russia has outlawed that organization calling it extremist, and you have now prevented anyone who supports him to run for office. So my question is, Mr. President, what are you so afraid of?”

Putin politely explained that the United States has declared Russia an enemy and openly supports people who want to bring about regime change. Americans may be stuck in propaganda mode from the Soviet era, and see Russia as a land of revolution, but most Russians are horrified by protests, regardless of their opinions of Putin. Neither the Russian public nor their president are supportive of anyone seen as violating the order which they crave. Navalny may be a big name in the United States, but he is an irrelevance in his homeland.

All of the fraudulence of Russiagate has been accepted as fact by the media and they pursued the same line of questioning with Biden, positing that Russia interfered in U.S. elections and is responsible for every cyber attack taking place in this country.

“The fraudulence of Russiagate has been accepted as fact by the media.”

Biden didn’t disappoint in going along with what has been disproven, and in so doing told one of the biggest lies ever uttered by an American president in public:

“His credibility worldwide shrinks. Let’s get this straight. How would it be if the United States were viewed by the rest of the world as interfering with the elections directly of other countries and everybody knew it? What would it be like if we engaged in activities that he’s engaged in? It diminishes the standing of a country that is desperately trying to make sure it maintains its standing as a major world power. And so it’s not just what I do, it’s what the actions that other countries take, in this case Russia, that are contrary to international norms. It is the price that they pay. They are not, they are not able to dictate what happens in the world. There are other nations of significant consequence, i.e., the United States of America.”

Biden’s statement about Russia was an obvious case of projection. Of course the United States interferes with elections all over the world. There are at least 80 instances of the U.S. subverting other governments since World War II. One of the most infamous is the 1996 Russian election  which put Putin’s mentor, Boris Yeltsin, in power. It is the U.S. that struggles to dictate to the rest of the world and that fears losing its status as a hegemon.

“Biden told one of the biggest lies ever uttered by an American president in public.”

But Biden received no follow up questions after telling his whopper of a lie. The only push back was once again in regard to claims of Russian wrongdoing and whether he was up to the task of punishing Putin.

Despite all claims of freedom and democracy, the corporate media in this country only repeat what they are told. They are partners with the people and institutions they should be investigating. Of course, that is why Black Agenda Report and sites like it play such a vital role. If not for news from a left perspective, the truth would rarely see the light of day.


Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere.  Her new book, “Prejudential“, looks at the history of US Presidents treatment of people of color.  She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at patreon.com/margaretkimberley and she regularly posts on Twitter @freedomrideblog.   She is a member of the Administrative Committee of the United National Antiwar Movement.  Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com

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