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How The World Sees It

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nausheen ishtiaq

on 11 December 2013

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Transcript of How The World Sees It

What's The Story?
White savior complex:

MSNBC anchorman Thomas Roberts goes to host the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow – “you could go over there and make a difference”

"Laws like this were promoted by Americans - Scott Lively"

"exporting the hate" "causing the great harm that has been caused in that country"

What's The Story?
How The World Sees It
By Jason Dunn and Nausheen Ishtiaq
How Our Project Came About
Our Focus

US and international news the coverage of the anti-gay law passed in Russia in June ’13

Investigating: claimed and reported repercussions of the law

Aim: to uncover, through the lens of this unfolding story saga, the hidden biases in the way that news is framed, reported, presented and distributed globally and in the US
Dates of Research
June - Nov 2013 (6 months)
The Headlines Say It All
MSNBC: Law is "draconian!"
The Language of US News Sources
The laws are “stunning”, “horrendous”,
“draconian", "LGBT
“Homophobia is an international

“heinous”, “affront to humanity”
"It’s a scary place for LGBT people in
Russia right now"
“comparing such laws to those present in
Nazi Germany”, “stigmatizes gay people”
"restrictions regarding promoting homosexual relationships"
"Homosexuality is not illegal in Russia, but
animosity toward gays is high"
"If this article were published in a newspaper
based in Russia, it could be labeled 18+
— like an X-rated movie — and start with
the following disclaimer: “This article contains information not suitable for readers younger
than 18 years of age.”

What's the Bottomline?
"Russia's Putin signs anti-gay measures into law": Huffington Post
Politically Aware:
"Vladimir Putin’s new campaign for national — and political — survival"

Obama Obsession:
4 different articles on the same cancelled Obama meeting

Russian Hatred:
Blatantly against Russian government - “Inside Russia, the Kremlin writes the script”
Sarcastic tone:
"a law nominally aimed at “protecting” children"

Harsh words:
"cruel circumstances in which most gay people live in modern Russia"

Humanistic Focus
: "We want to hear from members of the LGBT population in Russia". More than 400 responded - story featured 8.

Overuse of celebrities denouncing law:
Stephen Fry, Broadway star Harvey Fierstein, Stephen Colbert, Mikhail Baryshnikov

Only publication to use
humorous angle
via Stephen Colbert

Insider's look into Russia:
"Arkady Mamontov, Russian Journalist, Links Gays And Chelyabinsk Meteorite", "Russia's Anti-Gay Law Opponents Ponder New Tactics"

Trivial coverage
: "Popstar Gomez cancels Russia shows over 'anti-gay' visa woes" - she didn’t even apply.

One-sided coverage:
“gay rights activists confront Russia’s UN ambassador” – no quotes from protestors or pictures. "Churkin told the activists they should deliver the petition to Russia's U.N. Mission. But he stopped to engage All Out's co-founder and insist: "We don't have anti-gay laws. We have laws banning homosexual propaganda among minors."

"Milonov's rants against homosexuals would see him outcast as an extremist in European societies but in Russia they fall in line with an increasingly conservative political trend"

The crackdown on gay rights on Russia is stunning in its scope, and offers a reminder that Russia “remains a country where discrimination and even violence against gay people are widely tolerated.” But while much of the West has condemned Vladimir Putin’s new efforts, the offensive is not without American backers.

Voice of Russia quoted American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, a prominent leader of the religious right movement in the US.
A bill that stigmatizes gay people and bans giving children any information about homosexuality won overwhelming approval Tuesday in Russia's lower house of parliament.

Yet another bill makes offending religious feelings a crime.
"Obama Says He Has “No Patience” For Anti-LGBT Laws"
reports Buzzfeed
The US vs Russia Complex
“Russians are egging on the US – tell us what we can’t do”
"Gays in Russia Find No Haven, Despite Support From the West": NY Times
"The violent images, restrictive legislation, and public humiliation that LGBT people in Russia now face isn’t the product of a traditionalist backlash as much as it is a vital part of the new politics of Putin’s Russia, a nation in search of someone to define itself against.”
"The measure is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values instead of Western liberalism, which the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church see as corrupting Russian youth"
"a broad rejection of liberal influences that are seen as emanating from the West"
"Anti-gay law won't infringe on Olympics": Fox News
When some gay people protested the propaganda law by kissing outside the State Duma, the lower house of Parliament, police officers stood by and watched as the demonstrators were doused with water and beaten by antigay and religious supporters of the bill.
The Headlines Say It All
The law and the 2013 Olympics
"The IOC can and should do more to guarantee that lesbian, gay, bi and trans people are not only safe, but are free to be who they are during the games"
“The opinion of the Russian government is now perfectly clear: if you’re gay and you come to Russia for the Olympics, you will be in harm’s way,”
"The International Olympic Committee doesn't have the authority to intervene in Russia's law banning gay propaganda"

"Anti-gay law won't infringe on Olympics, Russia sports minister says"
"Outrage Over an Antigay Law Does Not Spread to Olympic Officials”
The Global Story
To gauge the global reaction to the new law, we turned to sources from Russia, Israel, the UK, and Nausheen's native Pakistan. The overall tone of the articles ranged 3 distinct categories:
A positive tone
A negative tone
A neutral tone
A primary focus was put on Russian news sources, as the country affected by the law would surely produce the most coverage of it. An absolutely shocking (read: not) discovery turned up that each article that seemed to endorse the law came from a Russian source.
"Whenever sick perverts are satisfied with their" show "behind the OMON, in fact our brothers in arms ... City officials actually vented to each other brothers in the faith "- they wrote in an open letter."
-Gazeta (10/11/13)
"'Homosexual behavior is just as risky as drug abuse,' Fischer said." "'Homosexual behavior damages the body and soul. We love homosexuals enough to tell them the truth.'"
-The Voice of Russia (8/9/13)
Media Sources
What do you call the country that is ready to declare a man and a cow a "married couple" and entrust them with raising children? Perhaps it is not an accident that in all the apocalyptic predictions the Netherlands is the first on the list to disappear."
-Pravda (8/11/13)
What do the headlines say?
We tried to discover if there was a link between the Russian media’s endorsement of the law and the government that had passed it. Interestingly enough, only one of the sources,the Voice of Russia, was truly government owned.
However, Pravda, a Russian newspaper, is owned by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, which President Vladimir Putin has been linked to throughout history.

What's the distinction between news reporting and editorial in the Russian media?

It should be noted that both of these quotes were taken from news articles, not opinion pieces.

However, one Russian news site that I stumbled upon, the inventively titled Russian News, seemed to stick to flat-out fact reporting. Their articles were fairly short, concise, and seemed to offer the most balanced approach.

"The new bill was quite a lot of supporters. After the adoption of the law on third reading deputies decided to talk with their fellow human beings. Ryad street in front of the State Duma deputies met with thunderous applause and cheers."
-Russian News (6/11/13)
"Reed said, 'to try to identify members of the LGBT movement as a" non-traditional people is an attempt to diminish their dignity. This is a cynical and dangerous,' - said the human rights activist."

-Russian News (6/11/13)
Ok, so that's Russia. How did the rest of the world react?
Well, definitely not as well as Russia. In fact, there were certainly a few surprises.
"These Israeli celebrities hope that the world will wake up and demand the end to this discrimination and violence against gays in Russia."
-Jerusalem Online (9/9/13)
Another source that seemed to critique the new law came from Pakistan. One of the Pakistani sources, Dawn, release a human interest piece about a group of LGBT people living in Russia that were overcoming the new law through sports.
"Nineteen-year-old student, Ivan, had made a seven-hour bus journey from the regional city of Smolensk to attend for the first time. 'I had to overcome my fears and make a huge effort to come' he said. 'Everyone here is different, everyone is excellent, and you already don't feel disadvantaged. You become a person.'"
-Dawn (11/16/13)
Another article from Dawn about the cancellation of a pop concert due to new Russian veto restrictions tied to the law seemed to carry a neutral tone.

The UK's BBC took the same approach as Dawn, trying to stick to fact reporting with the actual news, but electing to speak against the law with human interest pieces.
"Many gay people have changed how they dress, they've removed earrings, changed their hairstyles, to avoid having problems. Even back in the USSR, where homosexuality was a criminal offence, gays were treated better than they are now in Russia. Ordinary people see us as criminals. They hate us."
-BBC (9/1/13)
Jerusalem Online, an Israeli news source, presented a negative tone about the law, toeing the same line as Russia between opinion in news.
What's The Story?
US-Centric Messiah complex:
MSNBC anchorman Thomas Roberts goes to host the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow – “you could go over there and make a difference”

"Laws like this were promoted by Americans - Scott Lively"

"exporting the hate" "causing the great harm that has been caused in that country"

What's in a Headline?
The Conclusion?
Question Everything You Read
You never know what kind of agenda the source has =)
Full transcript