Thoughts on Pravda, Izvestia and President Obama
Jake Tapper’s Political Punch post, about a “newsgathering” effort (see video above) launched recently by the Obama Administration, reminded of something I learned during my brief tenure as a graduate student studying Russian language at Oklahoma State University almost 25 years ago.
Under the tutelage of Dr. John Schillinger almost 25 years ago, I learned a bit about the Russian language — my fault, not his — and a lot about life in the country then known as the Soviet Union. Having just earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism, I was particularly interested in two state-owned and -operated “newspapers” that had operated in the communist country for decades:
- Pravda (”truth” in Russian) was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991; and
- Izvestia (”delivered messages” in Russian”) was the name of a high-circulation daily newspaper in the Soviet Union that launched in 1917 and continues to be published in Russia today.
Ordinary Russians, according to my professor, had a popular saying about the nation’s two newspapers: “There’s no truth in Pravda, and there’s no news in Izvestia.” That leads me back to the post by ABC News correspondent Tapper.
Perhaps President Barack Obama senses the honeymoon with the mainstream news media is about to end and, in an effort to control the news, has decided to “pull a Hugo Chavez” and nationalize it (i.e., provide both the news itself and the reporting of it) for the good of the American people.
Welcome to the Land of Hope and Change.
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