Russia and the American Media

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Can you believe what you read about Russia? Despite the sinking subs, burning TV towers, and subway bombings of recent months, most Western news coverage still pictures Russia wending is slow stoical way toward a market democracy something like ours. All wrong, says the NYU historian Stephen Cohen, who sees a human catastrophe in Russia going almost unnoticed in the Western press.

In the decade since the bad old Soviet Union died, Cohen says, our professional Russia-watchers have committed malpractice. Instead of revealing epidemic poverty, pain, emigration, big dips in life expectancy, dire deficits and a riot of corruption, our media have passed along the Yeltsin myths of shock therapy that works, entrepreneurship and a burgeoning civil society. Cohen names names and indicts the best in journalism: the New York Times on down, for a party-line betrayal of reality.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Stephen Cohen

author “Failed Crusade: American and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia.” David Filipov

Boston Globe Russia correspondent