CNN’s Update on Supreme Court and Ukraine-Russia

From CNN’s Reliable Sources:

Two very different wars

On Wednesday night, Anderson Cooper opened his 8pm show informing his audience about the latest developments on Russia’s war against Ukraine. He told viewers about NYT’s report that the US is making contingency plans in case Russia uses nuclear weapons or launches a chemical attack. He noted that President Biden has arrived in Brussels for an emergency NATO meeting. And he covered how the US is now officially accusing Russia of war crimes.

Meanwhile, on Fox, Tucker Carlson opened his show condemning Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for a Tuesday moment in which she declined to offer a definition of “woman” during her Supreme Court hearings. As Cooper showed horrifying drone footage of the widespread devastation in Mariupol, Carlson showed his audience a sex-ed type graphic of the female reproductive system.

The split-screen moment was yet another stark contrast between the two networks. But, perhaps more importantly, it was illustrative of how out-of-touch and small the culture war nonsense is amid a backdrop of actual, serious global problems. Writing for The Atlantic, Stanford Internet Observatory research manager Renée DiResta pointed out that the Ukraine crisis “briefly put America’s culture war in perspective.” She couldn’t be more right.

DiResta noted that when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began one month ago, data showed that the hyper-partisan rage content that normally dominates social media was drowned out by actual news updates. “Those first few days after Russia’s invasion revealed something important about the United States: Much of what looks like unbridgeable polarization online may be the product of boredom, distraction, and jadedness; when something real happens, people pay attention to that instead,” DiResta wrote.

Four weeks after the war commenced, there are signs that fatigue is setting in. TV news ratings, for instance, have started to fall back to reality after ballooning early on. And perhaps another sign is the return of culture idiocy that is once again saturating channels like Fox and social media feeds.

“Still, the early days of the Russian invasion showed that everyday users have choices. The American culture-war influencers didn’t disappear; users just didn’t pay as much attention to them,” DiResta wrote in her piece. “It shouldn’t take a shooting war to pull our eyeballs away from the culture war. The normal state of online discourse shouldn’t be an information war of all against all. The brief moment when Americans focused on more important things didn’t last, but it did show that we have some agency here.”

About Ukraine and Russia

— “While what’s happening in Ukraine continues to be bleak, it’s imperative that news organizations keep making it the dominant story,” Tom Jones writes, “even though audiences likely check out from time to time because the narrative and images are just so depressing…” (Poynter)

Sheera Frenkel and Stuart Thompson write about how some voices in US right-wing media “have echoed the Kremlin’s misleading claims about the war and vice versa, giving each other’s assertions a sheen of credibility…” (NYT)

— “Russia’s prince of propaganda spins Putin’s Ukraine war:” Markus Ziener profiles TV host and Kremlin insider Dmitry Kiselyov… (LAT)

“Reuters will remove all the content of the Russian state news agency TASS from its business-to-business service Reuters Connect,” Camille Gijs reports, noting the move comes after “multiple Reuters journalists raised alarms over the company’s partnership with the Russian state-controlled media organization…” (Politico)

— New from the NYT’s visual investigations team: “Dozens of battlefield radio transmissions between Russian forces” during an invasion of Makariv “reveal an army struggling with logistical problems and communication failures…” (NYT)

— In a speech posted on social media late Wednesday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke in English and called for “worldwide demonstrations in support of Ukraine starting Thursday,” the one-month mark of the war… (CNN)

The latest update from Big Tech:Google will not help websites, apps and YouTubechannels sell ads alongside content that it deems exploits, dismisses or condones the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict,” Paresh Dave reports… (Reuters)

>> “Russia’s war in Ukraine is approaching the one-month mark, and its troops’ advancement on some key cities … appears to have slowed,” CNN’s Angela Dewanwrites. She shares five things that could happen next…

>> Another one from CNN: “Nearly a month after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian military has perceptibly shifted its messaging. The Russian military’s advances have been stymied, the Ukrainians say, forcing a shift in Russian tactics,” Nathan Hodge writes

>> “[W]ith Wednesday marking four full weeks of fighting, Russia is bogged down in a grinding military campaign, with untold numbers of dead, no immediate end in sight, and its economy crippled by Western sanctions,” the Associated Press’ Nebi Qena and Cara Anna report

>> The AP also rounded up some of its most compelling photos from one month of reporting…

>> “In the month since Russia attacked, brave journalists like [Mstyslav] Chernov and [Evgeniy] Maloletka, serving both Ukrainian and international outlets, have kept the world apprised of the horrors of the war, a commitment to documentation for which several colleagues have already lost their lives,” CJR’s Jon Allsop writes

>> The BBC’s Sara Rainsford had this to say after spending a month in Ukraine: “I’m writing this in a city where there is no shelling. No Russian missiles slam into homes and there’s no air raid siren with a wail that churns your stomach and saps your energy. I wish Ukrainians could say the same. After a month reporting from their country, I have just left a nation under brutal attack and I have no idea when it will end…”

>> NYT photojournalist Lynsey Addario talks about how she had “narrowly escaped death” in Ukraine while photographing the aftermath of the attack that killed a family…

>> NYT also published this visual-heavy interactive that shows the devastation to civilian life in Ukraine: “This devastation, identified and cataloged by The New York Times, included at least 23 hospitals and other health-care infrastructure, 330 schools, 27 cultural buildings, 98 commercial buildings, including at least 11 related to food or agriculture, and 900 houses and apartment buildings…”

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