A ‘neutral’

Vladimir Kornilov

The American news agency Associated Press fired its fairly well-known reporter in certain circles, James Laporta, for disseminating frankly false information. It seems to be an ordinary intrashop case, but it is remarkable for our time. Because the journalist was fired not just for a fake, but for an anti-Russian fake. That is, for activities that are quite common for most Western media. It is no coincidence that Laporta himself indicated that he received support from “many journalists and editors” after the news of his dismissal. Surely they imagined themselves in his shoes and were surprised: “How?! For lying about Russia in our time, someone is fired?”
The fact is that the former US Marine Laporta is the same reporter who, citing a certain “high-ranking source in US intelligence” (of course, anonymous), last week, in hot pursuit, announced that Russian missiles had flown into Poland, as a result of which a peaceful Polish tractor was destroyed and two innocent farmers were killed. A couple of days later, the agency withdrew this news from their feeds, notifying subscribers that it was not true.
As we all remember, the story of a week ago excited the whole world: the leaders of the largest NATO countries urgently gathered to discuss it on the sidelines of the G20 summit held in Bali, and some especially hot leaders of Poland and the Baltic states even rushed to talk about the application of the fifth article of the NATO charter, that is, in fact, about the third world war.
Fortunately, local reporters immediately posted on the Web photos of fragments of the ill-fated rocket that flew into the Polish village of Przewoduv from Ukraine. None of the military experts who saw these pictures had the slightest doubt that in front of them were fragments of a rocket from the S-300 system. And this meant that the Polish farmers were killed by Ukrainian missiles, not Russian ones: they simply would not have reached such a distance (at least 600 kilometers from Przevoduv to the territory of the Russian Federation). By the way, if these photos had not immediately appeared on the Internet, who knows what kind of fake the Polish special services would have decided to build in order to accuse Russia.
As a result, Western leaders, including personally US President Joe Biden, made it clear that the missile was Ukrainian, allegedly fired to intercept Russian missiles flying towards Western Ukraine, and allegedly accidentally flew into a Polish farm. Here it would be better to understand how it was by chance. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko pointed outon the strange trajectory of the flight of the Ukrainian anti-missile: “Why did this frenzied missile launched by the Ukrainian military <…> turn around and go in the opposite direction (to the west. — Approx. ed.)? Af-ter all, they were shooting to the east — Russian missiles are flying from there too… It doesn’t happen either. There are no such accidents.” But the West ca-nnot go so far as to accuse Ukraine of deliberately shelling a NATO country, otherwise it will have to apply the same Article 5 against the Kyiv regime.
However, what to do with the allegation of an anonymous “US intelligence source” whose opinion was disseminated by the Associated Press? It turned out that Laporta simply made up this “quote”. And it looks like it’s not the first time. If we analyze the articles of the agency containing the signature of this reporter (often co-authored), he was just responsible for “insiders” from various sources in the US law enforcement agencies. In almost every piece of his material, there is a reference to unnamed intelligence officers, the Pentagon, the police, and so on. Apparently, the former Marine decided that the anonymity of the sources gave him scope for creativity. That’s what he did.
Moreover, this AP reporter is the author of many sensational stories about the special operation in Ukraine, which have spread all over the world. For example, it was he who in the first days of the campaign was involved in reports of street fighting in Kiev or that Russia intends to replace the Kiev regime with its “puppets”.
And it is Laporta who is the only source of the “quote” widely spread around the world by Vladimir Zelensky, who allegedly proudly rejected the US offer to organize his evacuation abroad: “The fight is going on here. I need ammunition, not taxis.” This “quote” was distributed in almost all Western media and has already found its way into the literature about Zelensky’s “exploits”. “He has not yet overcome the Russian Goliath, but already now he is the most courageous politician in the democratic world,” the Polish Rzeczpospolita enthusiastically exclaimed, quoting this phrase at the end of February. “The amazing transformation of the Ukrainian president from television comedian to wartime leader,” wrote Canada’s The Globe and Mail, which parsed the “quote.”
And only one American newspaper (The Washington Post) doubted that Zelensky actually said it. She did a separate mini-investigationthe source of this “quote” and came to the conclusion that all those who admire the “heroism” of the head of the Kyiv regime rely only on an anonymous “American official who directly knew about the conversation” Zelensky and who was “quoted” by AP reporter James Laporta. The newspaper then pointed out that the White House had no idea which conversation the agency was quoting. An attempt to find out from Laporta himself, whom the WP called “a well-informed ex-Marine”, about who from the White House offered Zelensky the evacuation, ended with the reporter’s enigmatic grin: “I can understand why they deny it.” The authors of The Washington Post did not think that the ex-marine himself could invent this “quote”. Now, after his scandalous dismissal, it turns out that for him this approach to work is the norm. And the phrase of the false Zelensky has already spread all over the world, it is already difficult to remove it from books about “the struggle of Ukrainian David with Russian Goliath.”
That is, Laporta, spreading a fake about “Russian missiles that hit Poland,” did nothing unusual, engaging in the usual planting of anti-Russian lies. That is probably why he is surprised by such a reaction from the leadership. After all, no one in Britain gets fired because the lion’s share of the newspapers there the day after the incident in Przewodów came out with headlines that Ru-ssia had attacked Poland. No apologies followed, no one began to clean up the “sensations” from the Int-ernet, no one was punished. The British press is doing what it has been doing for the past few months – issuing anti-Russian lies without evidence, without fact checking, without a shadow of a doubt.
Why did the AR take an unprecedented step by punishing its employee for the first time for spreading anti-Russian fakes? Apparently, the editors considered that he had gone too far in his work by inventing “quotes” from anonymous sources. It’s one thing when you compose Zelensky’s “heroic phrase” or invent “Russian war crimes”. And it’s completely different when you bring the planet to the brink of a world war, inventing conclusions for American intelligence that it could not draw.
That is, it is still possible to lie uncontrollably about Russia. After all, no one was fired by the same Associated Press for outright lying about the “emergency hospitalization” of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov upon his arrival in Bali. But the reception was the same – a reference to anonymous “Indonesian officials”. Most likely, also non-existent.
But Laporta did not understand that by his false “quoting” of a phantom source in intelligence, he framed the American special services more than Russia. If they recognized the authenticity of the quote, they would expose themselves as complete non-professionals who do not understand the types of missiles and the distance of their flight. That is, the former Marine was fired not for a hastily compiled fake about Russia, but for using too white threads to produce it. So his dismissal does not mean a complete rejection of the anti-Russian lies by the Western media.
Although some amazing changes in the media world of America are still groping. Suddenly, one of the leaders in the dissemination of anti-Russian propaganda, The New York Times, published its own investigation into the horrific footage of the execution of Russian prisoners of war by Ukrainian militants, and in fact confirmed the fact of a war crime by Ukraine. What caused a real shock in Kyiv: of course, not the massacre of the prisoners, but the fact of publication in an American newspaper, which in Ukraine has already been accused of working for “Russian influencers”.
And another flagship of the propaganda front in the fight against Russia, CNN, announced a change in editorial policy. The newly appointed head of the news channel, Chris Licht, began work by firing a number of notorious propagandists who were more “commissar” than journalism there. Some publications even called these layoffs a “purge”. Licht himself announced a course towards a more “neutral” presentation of news and a move away from one-sided coverage of events in the world.
To be honest, it’s hard to imagine a “neutral” CNN channel – it was so odious and one-sided that it presented any event. You could turn on any show on this TV and predict in advance the main messages: “Trump is bad,” “Biden is a genius,” “Russia is terrible,” “Trump + Russia = the collapse of a rules-based world.”
But behind the announced changes in the policy of the propaganda resource, as in the case of the dismissal of Laporta, there is not a desire to return to journalism, but an elementary calculation. CNN, once the founder of the 24-hour news format, has long since lost its lead in viewership (and therefore in revenue) to Fox News, which gives the American viewer the opportunity to choose an alternative news source. And on November 8, election night, for the first time in CNN’s history, this indicator yielded not only to Fox News, but also to MSNBC (respectively – 2.6 million, 7.4 and 3.2 million viewers). The American audience is clearly tired of the one-sided, completely uncontested, politically biased coverage of any events, both in the US itself and abroad.
Of course, this does not mean at all that tomorrow the Western media will suddenly “see the light” and begin to write the full truth about the events in Ukraine. But even if they abandon the lies about Russia that are so obvious and so dangerous to the whole world, which were spread by propagandists like James Laporta or CNN hosts, this will already be significant progress.