Quote of the day: FAKE NEWS

December 13, 2019


Baldly false stories…are an integral part of the Putin system’s postmodern approach to propaganda. In the Soviet era, the state pushed a coherent, if occasionally clumsy, narrative to convince the public of the official version of events. But private media ownership and widespread Internet access have made this impossible. Today, state outlets tell viewers what they are already inclined to believe, rather than try to convince them of what they can plainly see is untrue. At the same time, they release a cacophony of theories with the aim of nudging viewers toward believing nothing at all, or of making them so overwhelmed that they simply throw up their hands. Trying to ascertain the truth becomes a matter of guessing who benefits from a given narrative.

–Joshua Yaffa, “Channeling Putin,” a profile of Konstantin Ernst (below, illustration by Chloe Cushman), head of Russian state television network Channel One, in this week’s New Yorker

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