Phantasy journalism (Shaun Walker on Belarus)

Belarus demonstrations

The problem with Guardian and Independent journalists writing on Russia – or the post-Soviet space is that 90% of what you get is produced by their lens and 10% by what is actually happening. In the lens is encoded a simple script: liberal capitalist ‘democracies’ good / planned economies bad / moral conservatism bad / Putin bad / Kremlin lies / Navalny is the Messiah. Something like that.

Take this nasty piece from the Guardian’s Moscow correspondent Shaun Walker – who  seems to have managed to hop on a plane to Minsk so he can write real-time reports from the heart of the uprising. The problem is he took his lens with him. Continue reading “Phantasy journalism (Shaun Walker on Belarus)”

Why is there a lockdown? Whose job is it to protect you from Covid? Your own or the government’s?

It is a fact that for people under the age of 50 in good health coronavirus is not much more dangerous than ordinary flu. The risk increases for those over 50, for those with existing health conditions, and for those over 50 with existing health conditions.

This means, (speaking about the UK), that millions of people are enduring severe lockdown restrictions (and quarantine measures at the border) who are not personally at great risk of dying. Of course, it is true that by reducing the rate of infection in this group the more at-risk groups are protected, since it means they are less likely to become infected. Nonetheless millions of people are having their lives severely restricted. They are being denied the right to take the rational individual choice to take the risk and live with the consequences.

Interestingly this “one size fits” all approach – discriminatory lockdown regardless of risk – is at odds with the professed values of Western civilization – of individual responsibility and freedom. Continue reading “Why is there a lockdown? Whose job is it to protect you from Covid? Your own or the government’s?”

Navalny poisoning

This the Guardian announcing that Navalany was poisoned by the Kremlin.

While Berlin’s Charité hospital did not identify the specific poison responsible for Navalny’s sudden illness on an internal Russian flight last Thursday, the substance was part of a group that affects the central nervous system, and includes nerve agents and pesticides, as well as some drugs.

The statement was the first medical corroboration of a poisoning attack on Navalny and marked him as likely the latest Kremlin opponent to face an attempt on his life.

Assuming that the report of the hospital’s statement is correct then the conclusion does not follow. It would appear that Andrew Roth too is joining Luke Harding’s “join the dots” school of journalism. Continue reading “Navalny poisoning”