The Boston Globe wrote a remarkable editorial last Saturday dealing with the “Ukraine myths.” The headline is misleading, however, because for perhaps the first time, the Globe seems to be accepting that some of the so-called “myths” are legitimate, and they carefully parse their words in other areas which signals a bit more nuance.
This is new, because the news coverage has been awful on Ukraine. I have written several articles about how the press is conflating “false narratives,” or what is called “conspiracy theories,” with true narratives or questions that deserve to be discussed or acknowledged. Today, the Globe appears to be allowing that such nuance is valid, at least to a small degree, which is good news for anyone seeking some balance.
The myth being promoted by the media has been that any talk of Ukrainian interference is false and without justification. But I have referenced several issues that raise concerns. The media has almost totally focused on one issue, which is that the Russians hacked the DNC server. (We also know they purchased ads on social media, but that part of the story seems to have been forgotten or dropped for some reason.)
Now I have not specifically looked into whether this is a true or false story, but I have heard it mentioned by Trump and Giuliani, and it was referenced in the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky. By press accounts and impeachment testimony, Russia planted this story to accuse Ukraine of the hack and create confusion about their involvement. Let’s assume that this is true and the Ukrainian connection is totally false.
There are plenty of other reasons why President Trump would be concerned about Ukraine: it’s well-known corruption, statements by Ukrainian politicians supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016, the leaking of the Paul Manafort financial information, and the involvement of Hunter Biden and Joe Biden’s firing of the prosecutor which had been or was going to look into Burisma, the company that was paying Hunter. Even without the DNC computer being hacked, these would all raise questions in President Trump’s mind about the wisdom of relying on Ukraine for anything.
The Globe editorial states generally “how loopy the theory of Ukrainian involvement is.” But the specific theory about the DNC hack is not mentioned in this regard. Then, the editorial says the “president’s apologists have also attempted to dilute the meaning of the word ‘interference’ to include run-of-the-mill activities by Ukrainian diplomats and officials.” That is a false statement, because nobody dilutes the word “interference” by showing different types or levels of interference. We are actually expanding the word to include all types of interference. And second, the activities of the Ukrainians were not “run-of-the-mill” but were actually harmful because they violated diplomatic norms. And this isn’t my opinion, it was said by Dr. Hill during her testimony. She said something to the effect that these types of activities by diplomats were not wise, but they were widely done. I believe someone even asked her if they were considered interference and she admitted they were. She went on to say that her department compiled a list of all these interferences and was glad to report that the countries had not been retaliated against by the new Trump administration.
The Globe then gives one example of interference, but it ignored the Manafort issue. Manafort is the clearest example of election interference because it targeted candidate Trump’s campaign manager.
Instead, the Globe used the instance of a Ukrainian diplomat who defended his country in an op-ed in an American newspaper by criticizing candidate Trump during the election. That is textbook interference, not “run-of-the-mill” activities by a foreign diplomat. It is interfering in our election, on American soil, in an American newspaper, suggesting that one candidate would be better for his country than another.
Well, the Globe did a terrible job of putting this issue to bed, but at least it acknowledged that there was interference, and it described one instance of it.
Politico wrote about this Ukrainian influence in 2017. See https://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/ukraine-sabotage-trump-backfire-233446
The Globe then made a second important admission (yes, two in one editorial!). It admits that Russia was not specifically trying to help candidate Trump in 2016. “Russia’s interest, according to US intelligence, is more in stirring up rancor and boosting polarizing candidates than it is in aiding any particular party or ideology.” This was confirmed by Dr. Hill during her testimony as well. We also know that the RNC computer was targeted by Russians but that attempt failed. Some of the interference was to help Trump, some to help Clinton, and some just to cause turmoil.
Just like President Trump can’t pick who chooses to support him, he was in no position to influence or do anything about Russian interference in 2016. If the Russians chose to help the “underdog” because his election would be more disruptive, that doesn’t cast doubt on Trump or make Trump a Russian ally or stooge.
The media including the Boston Globe is clearly not going to speak truthfully or plainly about what happened in 2016. From the false collusion narrative that sparked the Mueller investigation, to the several false narratives used against President Trump (like that he supported white supremacists in Charlottesville, which the media repeats to this day), and now to the false Ukrainian interference dismissals when the evidence that they were involved is everywhere, the press will evidently do whatever they can to help Democrats win in 2020 and get us back on the Obama path to socialism. But at least Republicans and President Trump are objecting loudly enough that the press has to admit when they overreach, if only to try to minimize their partisan involvement.
NOTE: We have been very active on our Facebook page for Public Editor Press. The page is getting lots of hits and comments, which have been very helpful. I urge readers to go there if you wish to participate or read reactions from others. You will need to “login” to Facebook to post your own comments but you can probably read them without a Facebook account. Here is the direct link to this article’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/390560688135747/posts/724235434768269
To reach our Facebook site in general: https://www.facebook.com/publiceditorpress/
*Requires minimim of 5 Ratings to be displayed
Grading articles for bias is subjective. We hope that with widespread participation, we can give the reporters and editors at the Boston Globe valuable feedback on their professional work. Here are our suggestions for grading news articles for bias. (We do not rate editorial opinion columns for bias. But we do analyze the Boston Globe for overall editorial balance.)
Consider whether the article is completely free of bias (a grade of 10 or A), has been mostly free of bias (8 or 9, A- or B+), has been biased but not terribly or where the bias did not hurt the integrity of the underlying information (7 or 6, B or B-).
If the article was fairly biased overall, but subtle; or where the bias was particularly prominent but isolated to a single section, give the article a 5 or 4 (C+ or C). If the article was very biased but perhaps not intentionally so, perhaps a C- (3) would be deserved.
If the article was extremely prejudiced with major misstatements of fact, intentionally misleading, or ignored well known facts to advance a false narrative, give the article a D or F (2 or 1).
Reviewers must subscribe to Public Editor and agree to our terms of service to participate. Subscriptions are currently free. We recommend that all readers subscribe to the Boston Globe or the newspaper of their choice to support journalism, and to send the Boston Globe your feedback directly. Thank you for participating in Public Editor’s bias rating project!