By Xhabir Deralla
Parallel to the raging war on the Ukrainian ground, heavily soaked in blood, the propaganda war is taking its toll – the facts. Same as with all other conflicts across the globe, now and in the past.
War is prime time for media enterprises to gain momentum. This is the chance to reach more people and, if nothing else, satisfy the audience’s thirst for more information and facts in the tornado of events on the battleground, situation rooms, and diplomatic tables. That, as we all know, is extremely difficult in times of war.
Just as facts die first on the battleground, responsibility is killed, too. Devaluation of human lives is followed by devaluation of responsibility for the spoken or written words. On the other hand, the prices of oil and of analysts rise. Media enterprises are hunting for as many analysts as possible. They offer views and speculations from all angles of the war, starting with geostrategic prognosis on the endgames of the figures on the bloody chessboard, ending with the quality of tires of the armored vehicles in the field.
Fact Checking is often impossible, since facts are unclear, incomplete or hidden behind the smoke screens of war propaganda. In the absence of reliable facts, onto the scene steps “Analysis.” Rarely do we see analysis in its milder form – the sort that operates with known facts and figures, in an effort to make sense from what is going on. The audience, which has grown accustomed to morbid sensation, and tik-tok videos with live coverage of the carnage, craves more, or at least this craving is assumed. Analysis, then, becomes wilder.
The wilder the analysis on the developments and outcomes of the war, the more clicks it gets. Just as the videos.
In essence, many of the analyses that gain the highest visibility are limited to wild guesses and speculations, often contaminated with propaganda. Sometimes these analyses actually serve the war propaganda, even unintentionally.
In these times, the prognosis of a war, no matter how groundless it may be, could help one of the sides gain advantage, and vice versa. Therefore, the responsibility of what is presented as analysis is high, and yet responsibility is nowhere to be seen, at the precise moment it is needed the most.
What does the audience want? Entertainment. Death and destruction, just as in the movies and e-games, but more real. A brutal, inhumane reality show.
The rightwing nonsense and conspiracy theories have become the mainstream, draining enormous resources to debunk, with no real responsibility taken for sowing ignorance and hate. Sheer manipulations, guesswork and (as malicious as it is wrong) theorizing are presented and defended as opinions. Endless nonsense and deceptive media content are poured into the global flow of information and communication every hour of the day. A large portion of it is rightwing-driven messaging for political and/or financial profiteering, and should be taken as it is – harmful content made with ill-intent. No explanations (it’s a freedom of speech/opinion, no intentions to harm – bubbling), no apologies accepted.
Difficult times for soldiers. Incomparably and immensely more difficult for civilians under the rain of bombs, bullets and disinformation. The audience is, meanwhile, a new battlefield onto which unscrupulous media and propagandists set their artillery platoons. Until the audience becomes protagonists of the war themselves.
PS. Be careful of what you read. Question everything and everyone. Check the facts. If facts are missing, there’s something wrong with the media content on your palms.