Public Diplomacy and Global Communication 2014c

The propagation of U.S television coverage of post-communist countries

The U.S. media propaganda is something acknowledged by many outside the USA, and is slowly realized more and more media propagandainside the U.S. Here is an example of how political factors, such as relations with the U.S., affect American television coverage of post-communist countries e.g. Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Moldova etc.

The argument here is that post-communist countries which are allies with the U.S. are more likely to receive better coverage, than those considered non-allies. Even though propaganda can be difficult to determine exactly, many studies address different media propaganda in political communications. The following content will give some examples of that.

When the Soviet Union and the United States were allies during the World War ll, Joseph Stalin was turned into “Uncle Joe” and “his totalitarian rule and mass political repression were largely overlooked in the U.S. until the start of the Cold War. Then Stalin and the USSR were represented in a negative light by U.S. media. Similarly, Afghan mujahedeen were often represented in the U.S. media as “freedom fighters” during their war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, despite their illiberal Islamist ideology – reflected in their name, which is derived from jihad.” (1)

Another study concluded that much of the coverage of the two wars in Chechnya in the United States and by the Western media in general, “has been relentlessly one-sided and relentlessly anti-Russian” (Lieven 200a). Coverage mostly focused on the effects of Russian actions on Chechen civilians, blamed Russia for starting both wars, and largely ignored or minimized the role of attacks carried out by Islamist terrorists and kidnappers in Chechnya at the starts of the violent conflict in 1994 and its resumption in 1999 (Lieven 2000a, 2000b).” (2)

There are many examples from the past that could be brought to light, but the table below speaks for itself. This table shows the amount of positive and negative content of U.S. television coverage of post-communist countries before and after they turned into allies of the United States (1998-2009):


Looking at current events, e.g. the crisis in Ukraine, it can be seen that this trend is still relevant today. John Pilger is a very famous critic of the western media and in his interview for RT (Russia Today) he is talking about the Western media bias; the way he describes it is “ a deep anti-Russian sense that runs right through the media..” The full interview can be seen in the link below:


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