If there’s anything the last two years have taught us, it’s that the members of our ruling class are obsessed with characterizing information they disagree with as “misinformation” that threatens the integrity of our democracy. As Ukraine and Russia duke it out, however, Democrats, so-called neocons, and the corporate media have conveniently glossed over the large swaths of disinformation, war propaganda, and fake news plaguing sites like Twitter because it supports their warmongering agenda.
There is no shortage of fake stories that have driven Western coverage of the ongoing Eastern European crisis. Posts about the Ghost of Kyiv, a Russian tank crushing a Ukrainian civilian in his car, and members of the Ukrainian military telling the Russians to “go f-ck yourselves” before dying, went viral and were amplified by major media outlets but they are questionable, outdated, incorrect, and even flat-out propaganda.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who was recently censured by Republicans for his anti-conservative behavior and previous lies, was one of the many purveyors of fake photos and storylines meant to drudge up emotional responses to the overseas conflict. One look at Kinzinger’s Twitter profile reveals dozens of posts amplifying verifiably false information and outdated photos for the sake of echoing pro-Ukrainian sentiments and encouraging U.S. involvement.
Kinzinger and other blue check marks’ ignorance about what’s actually going down in Ukraine is a cause for concern, especially since many of them have claimed to care about misinformation in the past. But because supporting Ukraine appears politically advantageous, people like Kinzinger seem to be off the hook.
“There was of course in the early hours of the war, a moment that went viral on social media about these Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island saying to a Russian warship, ‘go blank yourself.’ They were going to go down fighting. Well, the Ukrainian Navy just put out the fact that they’re actually alive. Those soldiers didn’t die in that, but it doesn’t matter because that became a rallying cry over those few days here,” MSNBC’s Jonathan Lemire insisted on “Morning Joe” on Monday.
The same politicians and corporate media who justify political censorship in the name of protecting “democracy” are suddenly unbothered by clear misinformation being pumped out of Ukraine and Russia.
For years, Democrats and the media have painted themselves as vigilant keepers of truth. They make big, sweeping gestures calling for censorship and host conferences focused on deliberately suppressing unfavorable narratives.
The Biden administration teamed up with Big Tech last year to kill Covid narratives that didn’t line up with health bureaucrats’ guidance. Corporate media aided in “fact-checking” news about Hunter Biden’s corruption. President Joe Biden even went so far as to say misinformation on Facebook is “killing people.”
The ruling class’s treatment of the origins of Covid, the 2020 summer of rage, the Russian collusion hoax, Jan. 6, and so much more has taught us that reckless rhetoric is only punished if it’s disadvantageous. For someone like Kinzinger, who supported a witch hunt against his own constituents in the name of preventing “insurrections,” spreading lies in the name of supporting Ukraine is beneficial for Democrats and neocons and doesn’t need to be suppressed or corrected.
Very few people are qualified to speak about the crisis in Ukraine so anyone who is boldly tweeting hot takes or fake pictures from video games is participating in an information operation whether they know it or not. This kind of misinformation about the Russia-Ukraine conflict should be concerning to the elites who normally whine about disinformation, but it is not because they only care about suppressing reckless rhetoric when it silences their political opponents and moves the agenda forward.