“The fight is here. I need ammunition, not a ride,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, turning down an offer from the United States to be evacuated from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
In an instant, Zelensky became the superstar symbol of courage around the world — the man who would face the tyrant rather than cut and run, like President Joe Biden was suggesting that he do.
Was it true? Was it war legend? Will it stand the test of time?
This writer was asked this week why coverage of Urkaine-Russia fighting was not front-and-center at Must Read Alaska. The question deserves an answer.
The invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign and struggling nation since the breakup of the Soviet Union, has been coming for decades. Thousands have died in skirmishes along the border over the past many years, and Russian President Vladimir Putin could see that now is the time to strike. He’s doing it while America has a weak and demented leader who spends his weekends recuperating from his short work weeks.
But Must Read Alaska doesn’t have a war correspondent, nor the expertise to wade into war reportage from Eastern Europe.
This author hosted a Ukrainian exchange student for a school year in Anchorage and learned a lot.
“America doesn’t care about Ukraine. The world doesn’t are about Ukraine and never has,” were her words that have stuck with me all these years. “We are on our own.”
But that year is hardly enough to paddle the raging river of current events in Ukraine, Russia, and now in Poland, Romania, the Black Sea, and Turkey. Our reporting would be just an assemblage of what others are seeing in the news and social media.
On social media, all kinds of things are being said by people who know, people who copy, and people who are inflicting bad information on the world for a reason. All of a sudden, everyone on social media is an angry expert on Ukraine-Russia geopolitics and history, and everyone loves Zelensky, a former actor and comedian who has been serving as president of Ukraine since 2019, and who is someone who few Americans could identify on the world stage the week prior.
That the same mainstream media that fed Americans bad information on the Covid pandemic is the media that is now crafting the narrative in Eastern Europe, and they are no more intellectually honest now than they were last year with their election reporting or their choice to not fairly report the truck convoys in Canada.
Our advice: Read widely but consume and discern news carefully. Those who have resources to send people to war zones are the same bad media actors who led America into voting in the Biden Administration. Some reporting on TikTok and Twitter is authentic, but some of it may be manufactured by CIA, Russia, Ukraine, or another group. Some Twitter handles may be Russian, even if they seem American. Be cautious about repeating news items that may not be true.
This author is also watching what’s going on with China and Taiwan, as the world’s attention is focused elsewhere. Alaskans should be very concerned about the signals that China is getting from the Biden response to Russia.
If you know of a good, fair, and hardworking reporter with experience in Eastern Europe, send them our way. But we at Must Read Alaska are not going to become the sudden experts — there are plenty of those out there — or pretend this writer has the time to do war reporting justice. Same goes for a reporter who is a specialist in China.
Thus, there is little chance this small-but-mighty little news agency will be able to, without additional resources, adequately report the war news of the day and still stay in our lane with Alaska news and national news that impacts Alaska.
Where we will weigh in, however, is where we see blatant media bias and when the media (and it is only a matter of time) willfully ignores the facts and reports a false White House narrative.
Keeping the mainstream media on their toes — that is definitely in our lane. Let us know how we’re doing, send us tips, and thank you for your support.