Ukraine on TV: A Cold War Nightmare Meets Modern Politics

If you were more than a few decades ago, the invasion of Ukraine was horrifying but familiar. That’s what TV has taught you to expect from an early age.

There is a buildup of stress about a “Military exercises” The script opens “The Day After” in 1983. Yes column of the tankan image of the invasion of Czechoslovakia, Soviet news clippings and the 1984 film “Red Dawn”. There are maps of Europe, with arrows showing pincer attacks and Fire red explosion graphic.

The President of the United States has pledged that this act of aggression will not exist. There is a Russian counterpart radiantly declaring his country’s destiny and threatening anyone who interferes. There’s live video from the United Nations, as desperate diplomats just hurl words, with no competition for explosions on the other side of the split screen.

This is the worst kind of nostalgic programming. This is the background chat scene in the first act of a Very Special TV Series, right before a siren overhead and a blinding flash of light in the distance.

At the same time, especially if you grew up with Cold War TV specials and bombing drills, this is also Nothing that you were expecting to see. Some of the differences are technological – smartphone videos, discussions of cyber warfare.

But most of all, you wouldn’t expect to watch shows on an American news channel that would otherwise side with the Russian aggressor, at least provide a basis for sophists and sophists.

You certainly wouldn’t expect that one of those apologists, even when the uprising started, was the previous US president. But there’s Donald Trump on Wednesday night, ushering in the world’s new war the way he began his political career: Call Fox News.

Mr Trump, who has called President Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine “quite smart” and constitutionally unable to utter a word about the Russian leader, has spared the scathing rhetoric. his best in Laura Ingraham’s show for a successor, and in the service of his ongoing career lied about the election he lost.

He said Mr Trump’s “good relationship” with Mr Putin had been “hurt by Russia, Russia, Russia hoax”. The invasion, he said, “all happened because of a rigged election.” (Ms. Ingraham dismissed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine’s plea that Russia not attack his country as a “pathetic display.”)

They often say in wartime that politics stops at the water’s edge. Now it doesn’t stop until the trade break.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson spent run before the attack in the mocking anti-Putin regime. He said Ukraine is not a democracy but a “customer country” of the United States. With a mix of moves against China and his familiar appeals to racial and cultural grievances, he argues, Democrats are trying to “mandate” that people America hates Putin. (“Did Putin ever call me a racist?” Mr. Carlson asked. eat dog meat? ) Russian state media gave a warm review of Mr. Carlson, choose his comment.

Thursday night, with Russia already moving more actively “certainly this program was anticipated”, Mr. Carlson staged a tactical retreat. “Vladimir Putin started this war,” he said. “He is responsible for what we see tonight.” He then turned to blame “tv liars” for using the invasion for partisan gain, likening it to a call for gun control following school shootings. . (He also had a series of guests reiterating that NATO should provide assurances that Ukraine would not join, a longstanding request of Putin.)

Meanwhile, Fox’s daytime shows, in a sort of side-scrolling fashion, have guests who decry President Biden’s response as not being tough enough. “Where is the action? Where is the outrage? ‘ asked Nikki Haley, former UN ambassador. You can see conservative views re-form in real time; late on Thursday, Sean Hannity and other commentators preached the good news of hitting defeat Putin through drilling and extracting oil.

On CNN, coverage of the invasion — with fireballs at night, thick smoke, and reporters wearing protective vests — reiterates its historic broadcasts from the beginning of the Gulf War. first, as well as field coverage of subsequent bombardments. Even astonishment and astonishment eventually turned into a rerun.

But this time, although CNN managed to capture some videos of Russian special forces at an airbase, reporters were only able to reach so many front lines. The networks relied heavily on personal smartphone video, including, in a gritty crossover, footage of the “Dancing With the Stars” dancer. Maksim Chmerkovskiy in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

This is also a war caused by aggressors using disinformation as a weapon. The Soviet Union had the Iron Curtain; Mr. Putin, with his army of trolls and skeptics war meme, there is the Curtain of Irony. Neo spent a lot of time pushing back. CNN’s Jake Tapper has denied Russia’s claim that it invaded to “de-Nazi” Ukraine, noting that Mr Zelensky is Jewish.

Historical global events unfold with reminders of domestic politics. TV networks cut into the afternoon program for President Biden’s speech, rendering Mr. Putin as a bully who has chosen war and should be restrained for the good of the world; he also promised to minimize the impact of planned sanctions on Americans and keep gas prices in check.

Sometimes grave images collide with the usual TV business. In a CNN clipThe footage of an air raid warning ominously sounding in Ukraine juxtaposes the Zac Brown Band hunting for sparkling chicken nuggets in an Applebee ad.

Other images are both mundane and horrifying, like scenes of Ukrainian families using subway stations as bomb shelters or escaping on a highway on foot.

As the first day of the invasion unfolded, gravity and cold uncertainty hit. On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow took a break to host the show for two hours. Before that, Chuck Todd had considered the scenario of Putin testing NATO by deciding: “Let me test tactical nuclear weapons and see what happens,” his voice trembling at the end.

I feel trembling. This story is not simply another skirmish in the endless war of words. This is war-war, modeled on an international dictatorial movement flexing its muscles, waged by a nation with an arsenal of doomsday weapons and ordered by a tyrant with a problem of stability.

But it’s also a war between two other nations – on Friday morning it shared space on American morning shows with stories of Covid policy and a busy wedding season coming up. . Avril Lavigne performed on “Good Morning America.”

You can take this as proof that we are still living in the same world we lived in last week. You can assure yourself that this doesn’t fit a doomsday movie scenario, that this isn’t “The Day After” after all.

You might also remember that’s exactly what someone always says in the first 15 minutes of a disaster movie.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/25/arts/television/ukraine-invasion-tv-cnn-fox-news.html Ukraine on TV: A Cold War Nightmare Meets Modern Politics

Fry Electronics Team

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