Western Disinformation Never Rests: Deconstructing CNN’s Fareed Zakaria’s Portrait of Putin

Dispatches from Deena Stryker


Everyone knows that Zakaria has been accused of plagiarism, and his film shows that be didn’t stop with appropriating other journalists’ work: he has copied the Hollywood gangster film playbook instead of providing a real portrait of the man who so enrages America. The Russians did that, in an excellent portrait that you can see here: https://www.greanvillepost.com/?s=The+Quiet+Russian so Fareed’s, of course, had to bring something new to the discussion.

First off, the only biographical information concerns his father’s participation in the Great Patriotic War — with no context, such as the fact that, with 27 million killed, the war against Hitler left its mark on every Russian living today. Nor does Fareed tell us that before joining the KGB, Putin was required to graduate from law school, where he majored in international law.

Like a lazy script writer, Fareed relies on Putin’s association with the Soviet Union’s version of the CIA to define him as a threat to the world — overlooking the fact that Poppy Bush, still a gentlemanly icon, headed the shop in Langley. (Quoting Hillary, “He’s a former KGB office, so by definition he can’t have a soul!”) While admitting that his approval rating hovers consistently in the eighties, Zakaria reduces the Russian president to a mafia don who has his enemies bumped off, either with exotic poisons or bullets (while America, always in the forefront of progress, does it with drones…).

Fareed relies on the testimony of David Browder, the son of famous American Communist leader Earl Browder, who made up for his father’s sin by being the American to have made the biggest fortune in newly ‘democratized’ Russia under Boris Yeltsin.  Browder tells us he believes Putin to be the richest man in Russia, a supposition buttressed by a reported ‘belief’ that he ‘owns’ dozens of homes, cars and yachts, feebly contradicted by a parenthetical remark that, like all Presidents around the world, he is entitled to ‘use’ properties owned by the nation, such as Air Force One and Camp David.

Fareed did not shoot this film, he just strung together clips from other films and a few interviews.  By the time you get to the end you realize he has only one explanation for Putin’s success: he was a lowly KGB officer in Dresden, East Germany when the Berlin Wall came crashing down. Alone at the spy co’s headquarters, with an angry crowd outside, and Moscow not answering the phone, he frantically shoveled papers into a basement furnace, then went out all by himself to face the crowd and told them that there were guards inside who would shoot them if they tried to storm the place. AND SINCE THEN Putin’s great fear has been unruly crowds, like the ones who protested over the 2011 announcement that he would trade places with his Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev in order to get around term limits, which Hillary roundly criticized. As Fareed admits, contradicting the ten previous minutes of the film, Putin’s gamble paid off.  He resoundingly won the March, 2012 election and duly appointed Medvedev as his Prime Minister.  Supposedly contrary to type, he is shown with tears in his eyes, acknowledging the results.  No one living in the US could possibly imagine that strong leaders are actually determined to change their country for the better, a task that takes time.

Clearly, Fareed never heard of the color revolutions fomented by the CIA, State and a variety of Soros funded NGOs, using the American Gene Sharp’s blueprint, though they spanned the globe from the Republic of Georgia to the Philippines, culminating in the Ukraine’s ‘Maidan’, organized almost single-handedly by Hillary Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of State for Eastern Europe, Victoria Nuland…

The short take of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stating that the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 put an end to ‘three hundred years of history’, left me wondering, since the Tsarist era lasted from 1547 to 1917, when the Communist regime started, bringing the total by 1991 to almost half a millennium.  Oh, well, what’s a few hundred years in the arc of history……

Much more troubling is the humungous gap in the narrative between the time when Bush junior was able to look into Putin’s eyes and “see his soul” — and as a Hollywood guest the Russian president good-naturedly hummed an American tune in front of a mic — and his present incarnation as “the most powerful man in the world”, obviously to be feared, as though power is never used for anything good. Thumbing his nose at the elementary rule of journalism: “Who, what, why, where, when”? Fareed has no compunction attributing the change in Putin’s attitude toward the US to Hillary Clinton’s bashing and trashing — especially with respect to Russian demonstrations in 2011 that followed Putin’s return to the Presidency. (No other country has demonstrations except Russia, and they are the thing that Ptuin fears above all else.)

Clearly, Fareed never heard of the color revolutions fomented by the CIA, State and a variety of Soros funded NGOs, using the American Gene Sharp’s blueprint, though they spanned the globe from the Republic of Georgia to the Philippines, culminating in the Ukraine’s ‘Maidan’, organized almost single-handedly by Hillary Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of State for Eastern Europe, Victoria Nuland, as amply testified via Google.

According to Fareed, it’s not Hillary’s fault if Ukrainians longed to be part of Europe instead of an appendage of Moscow, and after all, America’s sacred mission is to help the people of the world achieve ‘democracy’, so lacking in Putin’s Russia. He overlooks the fact that in Putin’s Russia, the Orthodox Church is honored, and officials talk about the need to revive traditional values in the face of modernity’s spiritual emptiness.

Of course, Zakaria shows the full-throated salute of thousands of soldiers on Red Square during the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, overlooking available footage of the Russian President marching through Moscow among ordinary Russians each carrying a picture of a family victim.

I have to admit that Zakaria was faced with a thankless task: trying to make the leader most admired around the world look like Lucifer, an increasingly familiar figure as the US confronts a leader who can only claim to do what Putin did: make his country great again.

APPENDIX: The Zakaria “Doc”: The Most Powerful Man in the World


DEENA STRYKER, Senior Contributing Editor

Born in Philadelphia, Stryker spent most of her adolescent and adult years in Europe, resulting over time in several unique books, her latest being 

CUBA: Diary of a Revolution, Inside the Cuban Revolution with Fidel, Raul, Che, and Celia Sanchez

ALSO: Lunch with Fellini, Dinner with Fidel: An Illustrated Personal Journey from the Cold War to the Arab Spring

America Revealed to a Honey-Colored World

A Taoist Politics: The Case For Sacredness

She began her journalistic career at the French News Agency in Rome, spent two years in Cuba finding out whether the Barbados were Communists before they made the revolution (‘Cuba 1964: When the Revolution was Young’). After spending half a decade in Eastern Europe, and a decade in the U.S., studying Global Survival and writing speeches in the Carter State Department, she wrote the only book that foresaw the fall of the Berlin Wall AND the dissolution of the Soviet Union (“Une autre Europe, un autre Monde’). Her memoir, ‘Lunch with Fellini, Dinner with Fidel’, tells it all. ‘A Taoist Politics: The Case for Sacredness’, which examines the similarities between ancient wisdom and modern science and what this implies for political activism; and ‘America Revealed to a Honey-Colored World” is a pamphlet about how the U.S. came down from the City on a Hill’. 



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