Media figures falsely claim anti-Obama hit piece produced by newspaper Pravda

››› ››› NATHAN TABAK

Several media figures falsely claimed an opinion piece on the Russian website PRAVDA On-line, which attacked President Obama for instigating an "American decent [sic] into Marxism," was published by the Russian newspaper Pravda, which is not related to PRAVDA On-line.

On June 1, several media figures falsely claimed that an April 27 opinion piece attacking President Obama for instigating an "American decent [sic] into Marxism" was the product of the Russian newspaper Pravda. In fact, the piece, written by blogger Stanislav Mishin, was published on the Russian website PRAVDA On-line, a separate media outlet that routinely features sensationalistic stories.

The piece was originally published on April 1 as a post on Mishin's blog, Mat Rodina.

CNN's Jack Cafferty claimed that the piece was published by "the online edition of the Russian news agency Pravda," while Rush Limbaugh stated that it was the product of the "English-language version of Pravda, the state-run media in the old Soviet Union." In fact, as its website itself makes clear, PRAVDA On-line is not affiliated with either the current newspaper Pravda or the version published "in the old Soviet Union." Rather, PRAVDA On-line's "About" page states that the original newspaper Pravda was "a publication of the Communist Party, and, as such, it became a state-owned newspaper" until it was shut down by the government in 1991. Subsequently, two separate news agencies, "[t]he newspaper Pravda" and "PRAVDA On-line" were formed:

At that time, a very serious split occurred in the editorial office. Over 90 percent of the journalists who had been working for Pravda until the coup d'etat of 1991 quit their jobs. They established their own version of the newspaper, which was then closed under government pressure.

These journalists had to take their fight to cyberspace, and the Internet newspaper PRAVDA On-Line was launched in January of 1999, the first Russian newspaper of its kind. We think that both the newly registered newspaper and PRAVDA On-Line (you are now on its server) have an equal moral right to continue the history of the newspaper that was closed by then-President Boris Yeltsin in August of 1991. The number of journalists that work in the head offices of both publications is comparable with the number of journalists who worked for Pravda at the time it was closed.

In spite of the fact that the journalists of both these publications are still in touch with each other, we have different conceptions about news about Russia and the world. The newspaper Pravda analyzes events from the point of view of the Party's interests, whereas PRAVDA On-line takes a pro-Russian approach to forming its policy.

While the website states that "PRAVDA On-line takes a pro-Russian approach to forming its policy," the site also frequently highlights sensationalistic stories. From the website's front page, retrieved on June 2:

Moreover, Mishin himself has a history of inflammatory rhetoric. Mishin's piece as published on PRAVDA On-line referred to Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) as "Senator Barney Franks [sic], a social pervert basking in his homosexuality." In previous posts to his blog, Mishin has described Russian gay rights activists as "attempt[ing] to drag Holy Russia to the depth of Hell and vulgarity that they have driven the West into"; claimed that "the current resident of the White House has come to pander to the Islamics, like no other"; and decried the United States as "a democracy where the rights of the minority, such as the homosexuals and Muslims, routinely trumps the rights of the Christian majority, who are viewed by the elites as a vast unwashed, ignorant economic unit to be taxed as needed, bled for the right causes ... in foreign wars and socially experimented on, at the elites' whim."

The article, originally published on April 27, was first posted on the Drudge Report prior to 4:42 p.m. ET on May 29 and remained on the website through 7:20 a.m. ET on June 1. The article was also highlighted on June 1 by Fox News' website TheFoxNation.com. The article was subsequently cited by media figures including:

  • On the June 1 edition of his radio program, Limbaugh asked his audience, "How many of you saw the story in the English-language version of Pravda over the weekend?" He then read extensively from the Mishin piece, concluding: "English-language version of Pravda, the state-run media in the old Soviet Union. And the key word here, in the lead: 'The American descent into Marxism.' Pravda, calling Marxism something that you fall into."
  • On the June 1 edition of his Fox News program, Glenn Beck read at length from Mishin's piece, which he introduced by stating: "Would you believe the communists, or those who lived under communist rule -- they are warning America now of Marxism in an article at Pravda.com. This is a Russian online news source -- Pravda, remember? They were once the official voice of Soviet communism." In response to Mishin's claim that "Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple," he commented: "You've got to be kidding me. How did we get to a place where Russia is lecturing us on capitalism?" After reading Mishin's conclusion that "[t]he proud American will go down into his slavery with out a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is," Beck said: "Let's make sure the last sentence doesn't ring true."
  • On the June 1 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, Cafferty quoted from Mishin's piece and noted the government's recent actions with regard to auto and financial companies, commenting: "That's not exactly old-school capitalism, now, is it?" He subsequently asked viewers: "Is American capitalism dead?" Cafferty then commented that it was "ironic that Pravda is writing the obituary of the U.S. economic system, when the collapse of the Soviet Union happened, what, about 20 years ago, and things haven't been exactly shipshape ever since." Host Wolf Blitzer responded: "Yes, good point, very ironic indeed. Thanks, Jack."
  • On the June 1 edition of San Francisco radio station KSFO's The Lee Rodgers Program, Monday host Brian Sussman read at length from the Mishin article, which he stated was from "the former mouthpiece of the Communist government in the Soviet Union," praising the piece as "excellent, "incredible," and "amazing," and noted that "Drudge has linked to it."

From the Drudge Report at 4:42:28 p.m. ET, retrieved via drudgereportarchives.com:

From The Fox Nation:

From the June 1 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: You know, I've been saying -- and, of course, the elitist media, they, you know, they never listened to me when I said under George W. Bush, "Headed down the road to socialism. Look out. This is not really good."

Well, people didn't believe me now -- then -- and a lot of people don't believe me now. Would you believe that communists -- or those who lived under communist rule -- they are warning America now of Marxism in an article at Pravda.com. This is a Russian online news source -- Pravda, remember? They were once the official voice of Soviet communism.

Quote: "America's capitalism gone without a whimper." That's the headline. It mocks what's happening in America today, and I wanted to share it with you. Let me quote from the article: "Marxism is happening with breathtaking speed, against the backdrop of a passive, hapless sheeple."

You've got to be kidding me. How did we get to a place where Russia is lecturing us on capitalism?

Pravda writes: "First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas than the drama in D.C. that directly affects their lives."

Then they turn around and they lecture us about our rights and about our democracy. Pride blind the foolish. America, pride blind the foolish.

That line jumped out at me. Let's educate ourselves on what is really going out. Let's not be so prideful that we don't -- that we can't say to each other we've made mistakes or we've voted for the wrong guy last time or this time or anytime.

We just have to stand for the truth, not these stupid parties -- not Republicans or Democrats -- just the truth to be able to save our country. And it doesn't matter if you made mistakes. You know how many mistakes I've made in my life? You know how many bad decisions -- you know how many times I've been wrong?

Yeah, I know, that's in the Media Matters now -- "Look, he's saying he was wrong." Yeah -- well, I'm human. So are you. Pride blind the foolish. And then, Pravda goes on to say our next step in the downward spiral, "Then their faith in God was destroyed until their churches were, for the most part, little more than Sunday circuses. And their televangelists and top Protestant mega-preachers were more than happy to sell their souls and the flock out to the winning side of one pseudo-Marxist politician or another." Does Reverend Wright come to mind?

And final, our final collapse -- this according to Pravda: "The election of President Barack Obama, his speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and printing of money has been record-setting. If this keeps up for more than another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America will best resemble the Weimar Republic, and at worst, Zimbabwe."

Pravda goes on to say, "The past two weeks have been the most breathtaking of all. It should be no surprise that the American president has followed up this with a bold move of declaring that he and another group of unelected chosen stooges will now redesign the entire automotive industry and will be the guarantee of automobile policies."

How should the world react to all of this? The people who lived under Marxist rule said, quote, "The Russian owners of American companies and industries should look thoughtfully at this and at the option of closing down their facilities and fleeing the land of red as fast as possible."

What are we are going to do? Who are we? How is America going to react with barely a whimper? "The proud Americans," Pravda writes, "will go down into his slavery without a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world how free he really is. The world will only snicker."

You know what? There will be those who dismiss this as, "Well, of course, Pravda said that. They want to destroy America." But you know what? Sometimes, there's truth that comes from an imperfect messenger. Let's make sure the last sentence doesn't ring true.

From the June 1 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: How many of you saw the story in the English-language version of Pravda over the weekend? "American capitalism gone with a whimper." Listen to the lead here: "It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American descent into Marxism is happening with breathtaking speed, against the backdrop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I mean people. True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past 20 years. The initial testing grounds as conducted upon our Holy Russia, and a bloody test it was.

"But we Russians would not just roll over and give up our freedoms and our souls, no matter how much money Wall Street poured into the fists of the Marxists. Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters. First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas than the drama in D.C. that directly affects their lives. They care more for their right to choke down a McDonald's burger or a Burger King burger than for their constitutional rights." Nobody ever called 911 when they lost a constitutional right, but they call 911 when they don't get their McNuggets.

"Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our democracy in Russia. Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different branches and denominations were for the most part little more than Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega-preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the winning side of one pseudo-Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the winning side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power.

"Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in Russia" -- meaning Russian Orthodox churches. "The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America's short history, but in the world. If this keeps up for more than another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Weimar Republic, and at worst Zimbabwe.

"These past two weeks have been the most breathtaking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American tax system by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, losses, and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in sheer volumes. Should we congratulate them?"

English-language version of Pravda, the state-run media in the old Soviet Union. And the key word here, in the lead: "The American descent into Marxism." Pravda, calling Marxism something that you fall into.

From the June 1 edition of KSFO's The Lee Rodgers Program:

SUSSMAN: Well, I told you earlier that -- by the way, Sussman here for Lee -- I told you at 7:36 I was going to read this article from Pravda.

OFFICER VIC (co-host Tom Benner): Yes.

SUSSMAN: Well, now it's, you know, almost 20 to 8.

OFFICER VIC: Uh-huh.

SUSSMAN: But there's still time. Sherrie, how much time do I have in this segment? Perfect, perfect. OK, so this is Pravda. This is the former mouthpiece of the Communist --

OFFICER VIC: Communist --

SUSSMAN: -- government in the Soviet Union. This is Pravda.

OFFICER VIC: Pravda, the official -- I mean, we grew up hearing about Pravda.

SUSSMAN: Yeah.

OFFICER VIC: And Izvestiya I think was the other one. But Pravda was the big one -- the big national, official Communist Party newspaper.

SUSSMAN: And they are commie no more, OK. They're not. This is an excellent article. I -- Drudge has linked to it. I've linked to it at my website, and knowing Sherrie, she's probably going to set up a link under program summaries once she figures out where this is from. But the -- I've got to read this to you. This is just incredible. Again, here's an opinion piece from Pravda.

"It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American descent into Marxism is happening with breathtaking speed against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me, dear reader, I mean people. True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past 20 years. The initial testing grounds was conducted upon our Holy Russia, and a bloody test it was. But we Russians would not just roll over and give up our freedoms and our souls, no matter how much money Wall Street poured into the fists of the Marxists.

"Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters.

"First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics." My --

OFFICER VIC: Wow.

SUSSMAN: They're hitting it on the head.

OFFICER VIC: It's like we're writing it.

SUSSMAN: Yeah. This is -- yeah, right. Like you and I sat down and took some time to craft this. First, the population was dumbed down through the politicization and substandard educational system based on pop culture, rather then the classics.

Officer Vic, they don't even teach the classics in most schools any longer.

OFFICER VIC: No.

SUSSMAN: You can't get a Western civilization minor in most schools anymore.

"Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas than the drama in D.C. that directly affects their lives." Absolutely -- [Sean] Hannity proves this every Thursday when he does these man on the street interviews --

OFFICER VIC: Here on KSFO.

SUSSMAN: "They care more for their," quote, unquote, " 'right' to choke down at McDonald's or Burger King than for their constitutional rights. They turn around and lecture us about our rights and our democracy. Pride blind the foolish." It's true, you know we lecture the rest of the world about democracy --

OFFICER VIC: Oh, yeah --

SUSSMAN: -- and rights, et cetera.

OFFICER VIC: We're self-righteous -- "Oh, you people over there ought to do this and that."

SUSSMAN: Yeah, and look what's happening here, they're saying. This is another interesting paragraph from this article. "Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different branches and denominations were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega-preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the winning side of one pseudo-Marxist politician or another.

"Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the winning side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our" -- this is a Russian guy speaking -- "even our Holy Orthodox churches in the United States are scandalously liberalized in America."

OFFICER VIC: Wow.

SUSSMAN: It's true. I mean, the church here -- there's no power in the church. We've rolled over and played dead. And sold our souls and lost the flock.

This goes on to say: "The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been record setting, not just in America's short history, but in the world's. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Weimar Republic, and at worst Zimbabwe."

OFFICER VIC: Wow.

SUSSMAN: "These past two weeks have been the most breathtaking of all," writes this person at Pravda.

"First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system." The redesign they're referring to could be this proposed national sales tax. Of course, we know it incurs -- it involves the taxation of the wealthy and just continuing to sock it to businesses.

And they say that "these make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat their own thieves in the sheer volumes. Should we congratulate them?" it asks. Then it talks about General Motors. "The president steps down from leadership at the command of Barack Obama. That is correct, dear reader, in the land of pure free markets, the American president now has the power, the self-given power, to fire CEOs, and we can assume other employees of private companies, at will.

"Come hither, go dither, the centurion commands his minions." This is just an amazing article, and it continues here as it talks about -- "it should be no surprise that the American president has allowed -- has followed up with this bold move of declaring that he and another group of unelected, chosen stooges will now redesign the entire automotive industry and will be even the guarantee of American policies -- automobile policies, that is. I am sure that if given the chance, they would happily try and redesign it for the whole world, too." Probably, given the chance -- hey, we can make a better car for the entire world. We'll take over the entire world's economy. Might be a good thing. Hey, some are talking about that behind the scenes, by the way.

OFFICER VIC: Sure.

SUSSMAN: "I am sure that if given the chance, they would happily try and redesign it for the whole world, too. Prime Minister Putin, less then two months ago, warned Obama and U.K.'s Blair, not to follow the path to Marxism, it only leads to disaster. Apparently we know nothing, as foolish, drunken Russians, so let our wise Anglo-Saxon fool friends find out the folly of their own pride. Again, the American public has taken this with barely a whimper."

This is just amazing.

OFFICER VIC: Yeah.

SUSSMAN: "The proud American will go down into his slavery without a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world how free he really is. And the world will only snicker" -- just some little bits and pieces from this Pravda piece.

OFFICER VIC: Wow.

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