In Putin's America!

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Last week, I mentioned the murder of dissident Russian journalist Magomed Yevloyev, who was arrested upon returning to his native Ingushetia, shot in the head, and his body dumped by the side of the road. In July, Novaya Gazeta's anti-Putin reporter Sergei Kurt-Adzhiyev was convicted of using counterfeit Adobe and Microsoft software, a charge the Committee to Protect Journalists called "a lame excuse for the authorities to close down one of the few independent voices left on the Russian media market." In my conversation with Andrew Meier at the Los Angeles Times, I referenced the now infamous murder of Novaya Gazeta's Anna Politkovskaya (on Putin's birthday!) and the outrageous use of the so-called Extremism Law to silence the Kremlin's fiercest critics. And while I broadly agree with Andrew Sullivan that keeping Sarah Palin from interacting with the media is pretty infuriating, this is one of the silliest comparisons I have seen in some time (Note that the post is titled "Putin's America"): "If you want to know what it's like to live in Putin's Russia, the Republican party is giving you a good taste. This is the most appalling dereliction of duty by the press that I have ever seen in my adult life."

I'm not entirely sure that this needs unpacking—his headline is pretty unambiguous—but Sullivan should probably recognize that a press corps trying to wrangle an interview with an elusive V.P. candidate (and hamstrung by a McCain campaign petrified of a "General Whatshisname" moment) isn't at all analogous to a state-run media run by an illiberal band of Putin lackeys. As I have previously written, throwing the word "fascist" around willy-nilly is intellectually lazy and, more often than not, historically illiterate. But so is accusing the American media of being no better than outlets controlled by the Kremlin, or those remaining independent journalists whose reporting is influenced by credible threats of violence.

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  1. Next Andrew Sullivan comparison: John McCain is Lex Luthor.

  2. yeah, pretty much. once you see sullivan overshoot justifiable irritation into hysterical outrage, you learn to always take his writings with a grain of salt. he’s one of the best bloggers out there, but.. living on the edge of the media wave + publishing his instantaneous reactions to everything, building his own wave + his natural ‘excitableness’ = occasional screechy blogger overreaction. I was hoping he’d be a bit more mellowed out after his little break.

  3. “In Putin’s America!”

    Putin is just Kim Jong Il lite. He recently saved people from a tiger you know! But of course what he really wants to do is direct.

  4. Seriously. Try blogging in Moscow and see if they don’t drag you screaming to Siberia in your jammies.

  5. I agree. Just so long as Palin’s name isn’t mentioned within 60 days of an election. Then it’s all free and fair.

  6. I wonder if Sullivan realizes that he sounds like a newly-political college freshman most of the time…

  7. “And while I broadly agree with Andrew Sullivan that keeping Sarah Palin from interacting with the media is pretty infuriating”

    Currently, seventeen of about twenty Hit & Run pieces currently available reference Palin. I gotta believe this is unprecedented.

    Joe “the superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan where my helicopter was forced down.” Biden must feel like persona non grata.

    Reason

    All Palin! All the time!

    Time to change the Cannel.

  8. I hated the nutcase right when they claimed this crap in the 90s and I hate it now. It is bad for democracy and bad for civil society. All this horshit that people like Sullivan flings is going to boomerang right back on them. What do you think the right is going to be saying if Obama wins? The same kind of crap. It just makes it impossible to have a reasonable discussion. Further, it is just downright disrespectful to the real victims of oppression in the world for someone like Sullivan to be comparing his fate to theirs.

  9. Put me down for “I don’t care very much about this.” But, it is a little strange that she gets a shield.

    Was it this website or another that pointed out how angry Republicans pretended to be when Obama wouldn’t accept townhall meetings with McCain, and now they trying to justify Palinnot doing anything? What part of mavericks don’t I understand?

  10. BALDNESS IS A CHOICE!

  11. Most Republicans hate the media. The more the media whines about Palin, the more people like her. Also, the less she talks to them the more the media focuses on stupid things about her, again making her more popular. I guess at some point she will have to give an interview. But there is nothing wrong with making the media squirm a bit. Fuck them. Make them beg to interview her.

  12. “And while I broadly agree with Andrew Sullivan that keeping Sarah Palin from interacting with the media is pretty infuriating”

    I blame Oprah.

  13. “Also, the less she talks to them the more the media focuses on stupid things about her, again making her more popular.

    Worked for Bob Dylan and Prince.

  14. And while I broadly agree with Andrew Sullivan that keeping Sarah Palin from interacting with the media is pretty infuriating

    Because the only way to do reporting is with face time in front of a camera.

    Aren’t there about a jillion people in Alaska right now sifting through her trash? Doesn’t that count?

  15. Palin is the type of libertarian I like. She doesn’t get hung up in worrying her pretty little head about monetary policy. We have really really smart important people who angelically agreed to do that for us just because they are so benevolant and caring and we’d just be getting in the way of their efforts if we started asking unamerican questions about the federal reserve and their secret operations.

    Palin is also rational when it comes to foreign polciy. She knows that there are many very scary armies trying to attack us for our freedom so it is neccessary to get rid of our freedom and give it to some people who care about us so much.

    This is why we do need to promote this great libertarian to the borderline libertarians who may be thinking about not voting for McCain.

  16. But this tread was supposed to be about me. Me!

  17. Sullivan: I’m simply staggered at how supine the press has become. They are being deferent and giving the benefit of the doubt to the people who told us there were WMDs in Iraq. Imagine that.

    So is this dude a member of the press or the meta-press? I certainly don’t think the press has been doing a bang-up job on most things in recent years and certainly not on this election (other than all the fine journalists at Reason, of course), but if bloggers are the new media and lamenting the state of the mainstream media, how about going out and doing some actual REPORTING instead of commenting on how bad a job actual reporters are doing?

  18. Me!

    is this thing on? testing…testing…

  19. “how about going out and doing some actual REPORTING instead of commenting on how bad a job actual reporters are doing?”

    I’m an average bicyclist. But if I say Lance Armstrong sucks, I immediately become an above average bicyclist.

  20. “Me!

    is this thing on? testing…testing…”

    No, Vlad, it’s all about me.

  21. I’m an average bicyclist. But if I say Lance Armstrong sucks, I immediately become an above average bicyclist.

    Then you must be doping, Granger.

  22. Joe “the superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan where my helicopter was forced down.” Biden must feel like persona non grata.

    Which brings up some interesting questions.

    Is Joe Biden still alive?
    Is all the attention on Palin inadvertently helping him avoid questions about his record?
    What does it feel like to be a VP candidate wallflower?
    If Joe Biden got drunk and lewd in a titty bar, would the press even notice?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

  23. Next Andrew Sullivan comparison: John McCain is Lex Luthor.

    Is that Sarko in the background?

  24. I certainly don’t think the press has been doing a bang-up job on most things in recent years and certainly not on this election (other than all the fine journalists at Reason, of course) …

    Apple polisher.

  25. John McCain is Lex Luthor.

    You can’t get enough of the white suit, eh?

    Jeez, I was hoping for something a little less grim to brighten my shitty, shitty, day. Sullivan’s histrionics hardly qualify.

  26. If Joe Biden got drunk and lewd in a titty bar, would the press even notice?

    Titty bar? Mmmmm maybe, but he’d have a better shot if it was a gay bar.

  27. It’s not Putin’s America yet, but give them time. They did scoop up a bunch of reporters (including Amy Goodman) who were covering the RNC for unclear reasons, beating some of them up in the process.

    Honestly, we shouldn’t talk about “Putin’s America” — it looks more like a convergence between the U.S., China, and Russia on who can do a better job of oligarchic consumerist capitalism. They’re learning from us, and we’re learning from them.

  28. “Titty bar? Mmmmm maybe, but he’d have a better shot if it was a gay bar.”

    That would be tabloid trash. John Edwards knocked up his mistress and couldn’t get in the papers. I think he would have to be arrested soliciting sex in the bathroom of a gay tittie bar. That might do it.

  29. Andrew Sullivan is a nice guy. But he’s basically the internet’s most urbane troll. He’ll fly into the heights of moral outrage over some of the silliest stuff and start posting some really stupid, fairly irrational, mountain-out-of-a-molehill, possibly self-contradictory, but well written and polite rants.

    It’s the same syndrome that lead him to the pro-war position that he now considers dumb as a box of rocks; he lets his emotions run the show, and back in 2001 he was in a full on war-against-the-terrorists mode; now he seems to have forgotten all that and is writing like he was anti-war the whole time.

  30. Apple polisher.

    Props due. Excluding the inordinate amount of time dedicated to that lipstick-wearing pigpitbull, Balko’s half-assed “could-be-worse” quasi-endorsement of her, and most of Chapman’s recent nonsense.

  31. If Joe Biden got drunk and lewd in a titty bar, would the press even notice?

    If the dancer were Sarah Palin, we’d notice.

  32. Sarah Palin refuses ‘Campaign Donation’ from Joe Biden. –FEC rules bar solicitation from office.

    Damn I kill me…

  33. You can’t get enough of the white suit, eh?

    I fucking love white suits, because only a truly egomaniacal bastard would wear one. Like me. And Lex.

  34. throwing the word “fascist” around willy-nilly is intellectually lazy

    Careful now. Saying this might just bring down the Blogosphere?.

  35. “Damn I kill me…”

    If you’d like, I could do that for you. I’m willing to do anything to get this thread back on track.

  36. In Putin’s Russia, journalists cover you!

    Uh, wait…in Soviet Russia, Putin covers you?

    Sheesh, forget it. I’ll never be Yakov Smirnov.
    🙁

  37. If the dancer were Sarah Palin, we’d notice.

    Because we’d be patrons.

  38. “Reason

    All Palin! All the time!”

    As long as they spell her name correctly.

  39. Jeez, I was hoping for something a little less grim to brighten my shitty, shitty, day

    Why so serious?

  40. “Because we’d be patrons.”

    You must really go for the MILF look. As an aside, isn’t if funny as hell that just a vulger phrase has become so ingrained into polite society?

  41. “You must really go for the MILF look. As an aside, isn’t if funny as hell that just a vulger phrase has become so ingrained into polite society?”

    When has society ever been polite?

  42. I fucking love white suits, because only a truly egomaniacal bastard would wear one. Like me. And Lex.

    One of the legacies of being deeply entrenched in Old South ancestry is that one occasionally has fantasies about wearing a white suit, sitting on the porch of ones large plantation home (on a large plantation), drinking mint juleps, and saying “Beauregard!” Due to my enlightened and modern viewpoint, this fantasy does not include slaves–I’m a libertarian, after all–but it does involve people riding up on horses and saying, “Colonel (or Judge), there’s trouble in town.”

    Lemonade is an acceptable substitute for the mint julep, but I think the white suit is required. I say there!

  43. Why so serious?

    It’s uncharacteristic, true. I’m a little misanthropic due to the recent news that someone else is getting the promotion I really freakin’ deserve. Occupational hazard slightly less serious than journalism in Russia, but I’m egomaniacal enough not to care right now.

    I fucking love white suits, because only a truly egomaniacal bastard would wear one.

    On a similar note, my friends have had to cajole me into not wearing white to other people’s weddings. I know you’re not supposed to, but I just look really good in white.

  44. But seriously. If McCain had chosen Lieberman it would be over. Over! Instead a Wrench From Nowhere? has been hurled into the intellectual vacuum of Campaign Infinite? and all Beautiful Prime Time Punditry? has been thrown into babbling chaos! It must be loved. It must!

  45. When has society ever been polite?

    It was “polite” Western European society that spread the scurrilous rumors about Catherine the Great’s death. Rumors that are believed by many to this day. Yeah, society has never been polite.

  46. You don’t sit on the porch in the South wearing a white suit. Who the hell are you Col Sanders? No. You sit on the porch in the South in a searsucker suit. The searsucker suit is the height of Southern fashion. I own one and I love wearing it on a hot day to a meeting downtown with a bunch of Norhtern Lawyers. They all sweat and have pit stains in the dark suits while I am cool and comfortable in my searsucker. Those things are madly comfortable.

  47. I’m a little misanthropic due to the recent news that someone else is getting the promotion I really freakin’ deserve

    That would drive me nuts. I quit over things like that. Go work for Lex at Luthorcorp! You can wear white suits!

    On a similar note, my friends have had to cajole me into not wearing white to other people’s weddings. I know you’re not supposed to, but I just look really good in white

    Now that is impressively egomaniacal. Stealing the bride’s thunder? Nice.

  48. “Lemonade is an acceptable substitute for the mint julep”

    Surely you jest, Colonel Libertate.

  49. One of the legacies of being deeply entrenched in Old South ancestry is that one occasionally has fantasies about wearing a white suit

    That’s not what I’m talking about, though, ProL. I’m talking about wearing the kind of suit Jesus wears because he’s so pure and wonderful, but in fact being the opposite of pure. It’s about the arrogance. Which is why Lex is the perfect example.

  50. Ah meant for those rare moments when ah drink something non-alcoholic. That, or ah meant Lynchburg Lemonade.

  51. “I’m talking about wearing the kind of suit Jesus wears”

    Jesus wore a suit??

  52. Episiarch, you fool, when have you ever seen Jesus wearing a suit? He’s more a toga or robe guy. Like Elvis.

  53. I quit over things like that. Go work for Lex at Luthorcorp!

    I definitely feel like quitting, but even without the promotion it’s a pretty good gig. It is lacking in the evil dept. though, so maybe white suits are in my future.

    Stealing the bride’s thunder? Nice.

    The best part of weddings is looking hotter than the bride. Wow, I should feel guiltier about that than I do. Since white’s out, it’s usually short, black, and paired with really, really good shoes.

  54. when have you ever seen Jesus wearing a suit? He’s more a toga or robe guy.

    Jesus has definitely been paying attention to Fashion Week. He’s sporting mostly Armani these days. Now that motherfucker has good shoes.

  55. Jesus wore a suit??

    He does now. A white one.

    Episiarch, you fool, when have you ever seen Jesus wearing a suit? He’s more a toga or robe guy. Like Elvis

    Times change, ProL. Who is cooler and more hip than Elvis or Jesus? Fuck, it’s like Entourage up there in heaven for them, but your white suit never needs cleaning.

    Look, as an expert on coolness, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

  56. Jesus wore a cross and damn if it didn’t hurt!

  57. “Ah meant for those rare moments when ah drink something non-alcoholic. That, or ah meant Lynchburg Lemonade”

    To each his own, Colonel, to each his own.

    By the way, did I hear your comely daughter Miss Felicity just turned thirteen? I’ve been lonelier than a polecat ever since the untimely passing of my dear wife Lizabeth. Thank god for slaves. Don’t know what I do without them.

  58. I definitely feel like quitting, but even without the promotion it’s a pretty good gig.

    Sometimes it’s about the principle. And sometimes it’s about the dough.

    It is lacking in the evil dept. though, so maybe white suits are in my future

    I’d work for Lex in a heartbeat.

    The best part of weddings is looking hotter than the bride. Wow, I should feel guiltier about that than I do

    Nah. I’ve had girlfriends who liked to do the same thing.

  59. Fuck, it’s like Entourage up there in heaven for them, but your white suit never needs cleaning.
    Look, as an expert on coolness, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

    Expert on coolness? Maybe. Expert on heaven? I think not. This thread alone should earn us the 6th circle in hell at least.

  60. “I definitely feel like quitting, but even without the promotion it’s a pretty good gig.

    Sometimes it’s about the principle. And sometimes it’s about the dough.”

    Never throw out dirty water until you have clean.

    – Sheila Lavine (from Sheila Lavine is Dead, and Living in New York City)

  61. C’mon!! We’re talking Jesus here. He wouldn’t be caught dead risen in a white suit after labor day.

  62. Expert on coolness? Maybe. Expert on heaven? I think not. This thread alone should earn us the 6th circle in hell at least.

    You would have a point if I wasn’t already up to the 7th or 8th circle.

    Off to the pool. Please continue hashing out Jesus’ suit wearing habits, as it is a very important subject.

  63. You would have a point if I wasn’t already up to the 7th or 8th circle.

    My guesses are sodomy, pimping & seducing, and political corruption.

    He wouldn’t be caught dead in a white suit after labor day.

    He’s a rebel like that. Knocking over shit in temples, transfiguration, white after Dabor Day. I heard he doesn’t wear hose with open-toed shoes, either.

  64. *Labor Day. “To-dabor-day is Labor Day.”

  65. Mental illness seems to infect a lot of these threads about halfway through.

    What a waste of time this place has become.

  66. Does Lab Whore Day have anything to do with the Ho Ratio? And how does this affect Ho Bama’s campaign?

  67. It is lacking in the evil dept. though,

    We’re working on that, however.

  68. Why take a Ho to a hotel? Ho tell everybody.

    Pro Lib,

    Now I know i’ve actually been good today but . . .

    Chorus: Nate Dogg

    I’ve got hoes (I’ve got hoes)
    In different area codes (area) area codes (codes)
    Hoes (hoes..hoes) in different area codes (area) area codes (codes)

    [Ludacris]
    Now you thought I was just somethin’ somethin’ no
    In 4-0-4, I’m worldwide GET, act like y’all don’t know
    It’s the abominabol-hoe man
    Globe-trot international post man
    Neighbor-dick dope man
    7-1-8s, 2-0-2’s
    I send small cities and states I-O-U’s
    9-0-1, matter fact 3-0-5
    I’ll jump off the G4, we can meet outside
    So control your hormones and keep your drawers on
    ‘Til I close the door and I’m jumping your bones
    3-1-2’s, 3-1-3’s (oh), 2-1-5’s, 8-0-tree’s (oh)
    Read your horoscope and eat some horderves
    Ten on pump one, these hoes is self serve
    7-5-7, 4-1-0’s, my cell phone just overloads

    [Chorus]

    [Ludacris]
    Now everyday is a hol-i-day
    So stop the violence and put the 4-4 away, skeet shoot a hoe today
    5-0-4, 9-7-2’s
    7-1-tree, whatcha gon’ do?
    You checkin up the scene, I’m checkin a hoe tonight
    With perpendicular, vehicular homicide
    3-1-4, 2-0-1 (hey)
    Too much green, too much fun (hey)
    I bang cock in Bangkok
    Can’t stop, I turn and hit the same spot
    Think not, I’m the thriller in Manilla
    Schlong in Hong Kong
    Pimp ’em like Bishop, Magic, Don Juan
    Man after Henny with a coke and a smile
    I just pick up the motherfuckin’ phone and dial
    I got my condoms in a big ass sack
    I’m slangin’ this dick like a New Jack (biatch)

    [Nate Dogg]
    Is it cuz they like my gangsta walk? (gangsta walk)
    Is it cuz they like my gangsta talk? (gangsta talk..ohh)
    Is it cuz they like my handsome face? (handsome face)
    Is it cuz they like my gangsta ways? (gangsta ways..ohh)
    Whatever it is, they love it
    And they just won’t let me be
    I handles my biz, don’t rush me (area)
    Just relax and let me be free (codes)
    Whenever I call (I call), come runnin’
    2-1-2 or 2-1-3
    You know that I ball (I ball) stop frontin’
    ‘For I call my substitute Free

    [Chorus]

    [Ludacris]
    9-1-6, 4-1-5, 7-0-4
    Shout out to the 2-0-6
    Everybody in the 8-0-8
    Ha-ah, 2-1-6, 7-0-2, 4-1-4
    3-1-7, 2-1-4’s and the 2-8-1’s
    3-3-4, 2-0-5, I see ya
    Uh-uh, 3-1-8, 6-0-1’s, 2-0-tree
    8-0-4, 4-0-2, 3-0-1
    9-0-4, 4-0-7, 8-5-0
    7-0-8, 5-0-2
    And different area codes..

  69. Naga,

    TAO beat you to the Luda punch yesterday. More hoes is always appreciated, though.

    I think it’s actually the Lab Whores who compute the Ho Ratio.

  70. My guesses are sodomy, pimping & seducing, and political corruption

    Check. Check. Political corruption?!?

  71. John,

    I believe she is giving an interview on ABC tomorrow with someone named Gibson.

  72. “If you want to know what it’s like to live in Putin’s Russia, the Republican party is giving you a good taste. This is the most appalling dereliction of duty by the press that I have ever seen in my adult life”

    Seriously, Andrew Sullivan is a total fucking moron. If you don’t know that by now, you must be living in a fucking cave, which is evidently where Andrew has been living most of his adult life if he can claim with a straight face that the media’s coverage of Palin is the most appalling dereliction of press duty he has ever seen. The douchebag loves to engage in outrageous hyperbole. I think he sees a new “most appalling dereliction of press duty” every fucking week.

  73. “Reason

    All Palin! All the time”

    Actually, it is all John McCain all the time. I don’t think Matt Welch has done a non-McCain related article since forever. There are probably 10-15 negative articles about McCain for every 1 negative article about Obama.

  74. “Actually, it is all John McCain all the time. I don’t think Matt Welch has done a non-McCain related article since forever. There are probably 10-15 negative articles about McCain for every 1 negative article about Obama.”

    That’s because McCain had sex with Welch’s mom and wouldn’t let Matt watch. But that trauma-induced bias was addressed days ago. Sad, really.

  75. The claim is, of course, absurd. But the commonality he’s looking for is actually there: both Putin and McCain see danger in the public having unfettered access to information.

    The difference between them is one of means, really. They both see the media as the enemy; Putin just doesn’t have to tolerate enemies in his own borders.

  76. Newsflash. Andrew Sullivan is intellectually lazy and historically illiterate.

    Don’t waste your time reading him.

  77. The difference between them is one of means, really.

    Well, to be fair, there is some difference between a reporter having his request for an interview denied, and a reporter being shot in the head and dumped in a gutter.

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