The U.S. Media’s Murky Coverage of Putin and Trump

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Media Outlet: The New Yorker

Joshua Yaffa wrote for the New Yorker about what Russian journalists think of how American reporters cover Trump:

As James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence, put it, Watergate “pales” in comparison to the current political scandal surrounding the White House. For the past six months, the U.S. media has followed the story of Russia’s interference in the 2016 Presidential election—and the question of possible collusion between figures close to Donald Trump and the Kremlin—with vigor, intensity, and the deployment of an extraordinary amount of newsroom resources. In advance of Trump and Putin’s first meeting, on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, I decided to ask Russia’s sharpest and most experienced political journalists and investigative reporters what they thought of this coverage.

The Russian media is under nearly omnipresent pressure from numerous entities: political operatives in the Kremlin, who tightly monitor what is said in the press about Putin and the myriad arms of the Russian state; media owners, who neuter coverage and readily get rid of overly ambitious reporters and editors; and financial constraints, namely a small advertising market and a tiny number of readers willing to pay for independent journalism. The result is that the space for independent, muckraking journalism has shrunk further. Yet, even given these many constraints, Russia is nevertheless home to a coterie of talented and self-motivated journalists, who produce work that is courageous and illuminating.

Author:

Joshua Yaffa is a New America fellow, reporting and writing on how Putin has sought to redefine the pillars of his rule and legitimacy, and what this new age of Putinism means for everyday Russians and Western governments.