Jon Stewart did two segments on Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first looking at Putin’s autocratic style, and the second looking at how Republicans in the US are just fawning over the man.
Stewart makes a great point, among many. It’s funny how Republicans just love Putin’s dictatorial style, while they accuse Obama of wearing “mommy jeans.” But then whenever Obama actually does something, like pass health care reform, the President suddenly becomes “Dictator Obama” who jams unconstitutional legislation down the throats of the American public (by letting the Congress vote on it 50 times).
I had a little back and forth on Twitter with some folks from the GOP publication, the Daily Caller, who were crowing over the fact that a former blogger for the liberal blog ThinkProgress is complaining that he got reprimanded after writing a post critical of Obama’s troop draw-down in Afghanistan. The blogger, and the Daily Caller’s, point was that this was just like what Russia does censoring content via its official propaganda organ, Russia Today (aka RT).
Um, huh? First off, ThinkProgress is a blog. Russia Today is the official voice of the Kremlin. ThinkProgress is partisan, Russia Today is propaganda – it’s the difference between rooting for one political team, and being a paid liar. And just as ThinkProgress tows the progressive line, I’m sure Daily Caller does a bang-up job towing the conservative line, probably more so. (And let’s not forget Christopher Buckley, who basically got thrown off the National Review for violating conservative dogma by endorsing Obama.)
Partisan publications have editorial positions that more or less color their coverage. Gaius and I don’t agree on every issue, but I let him write whatever he wants, because I know he’s a good progressive, and he won’t be writing pieces lauding Arizona’s anti-gay law, or arguing that slavery was actually a good thing for African-Americans. Does the fact that I’d never let someone with those views be a regular contributor to AMERICAblog make us Pravda? Hardly.
I also have a problem with Daily Caller putting this out there, and in essence joining in the false equivalence between Russia Today and ThinkProgress, i.e., the false equivalence between Putin’s Russia and Obama’s America. Some kid getting scolded on a liberal blog is a far cry from working for the Kremlin, an institution that condones Russian neo-Nazi gangs kidnappings gays, black and Jews across Russia (and Ukraine), in addition to currently being in the process of annexing an independent country against its will.
Which takes us back to conservative hagiography of Vladimir Putin, and today’s clips from Jon Stewart. Enjoy.