This is why it is important to teach journalists how to use social media.

My friends and colleagues in Ukraine are fighting a protracted battle in the global court of public opinion, and they are using all the digital tools and techniques that I’ve been referencing/showing off/misusing during the last seven years that I’ve been teaching and training there. 

The battle is against Putin’s propaganda machine – basically, Russian TV and their associated army of hackers and online purity trolls – and they are having to fight on multiple fronts against the every-shifting narrative of manufactured outrage, faked provocations and deceptive spin that is coming out of the Kremlin. Check out this interview, done in the basement multimedia training room at the Institute for the Digital Future of Journalism, a place where I have spent many days teaching (and learning):

There is also a very touching radio interview that Yevhen Fedchenko and Ruslan Denychenko did with WNYC. It mirrors what one of my students, Olga Grigoryants, wrote a month or so ago in the LA Times, about the widening disconnect between the people within the “Propaganda Footprint” of the Kremlin, and those exposed to a more balanced viewpoint.

Ruslan’s depiction of his wife being unable to talk to her relatives in Russia, because they launch into diatribes about how evil the Ukrainians are, is stunning. Somehow, the victims have been transmogrified into the victimizers, through careful selection of imagery, and deliberate twisting of the facts and events to fit the Kremlin-approved narrative.

If this seems to echo the problems we’re having in the U.S., where those on the left and right of the political spectrum seem to be talking past each other, because we no longer even share a basic agreement on what constitutes reality, that is perhaps no accident.  Modern advertising, marketing and somatic programming techniques have perfected the art of “spinning” a narrative so that it seems to comport with reality … when in fact leading the audience ever-further from a complete understanding of world events, and down a rabbit hole where up is down, right is wrong, and aggression is really peacekeeping.