Thursday, September 28, 2017

‘The Refrigerator is Beginning to Defeat the TV,’ ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Commentator Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 28 – Sixty-five percent of Russians now say that the media doesn’t cover the economic situation in Russia fully, the highest figure ever, and many of them say that their main fears are inflation, loss of savings and shortages of goods, according to Mikhail Sergeyev, the chief economics correspondent for Nezavisimaya gazeta.

            As a result, he says, one is fully justified in concluding that as the Russian expression has it, “the refrigerator is beginning to defeat the television,” with what people see in their own lives being more important to their views than what they are told they should think by state television (

            It is increasingly the case, Sergeyev continues, that “the real picture of economic problems in the eyes of the population looks completely different than the one presented in official statistical reports,” something that he says is confirmed even by “pro-government” survey organizations like VTsIOM.

            Other experts agree. Mark Goykhman, an analyst at TeleTrade, says that “people feel on the basis of their own experience that the conditions of their lives do not correspond to the victorious claims of the media.” As a result, the optimistic attitudes television seeks to promote are fading.

            And fading along with it, he continues, is public trust in the mass media, which as things have gotten worse in real life has become even more upbeat than before, thereby raising questions in the minds of many who earlier were prepared to accept a certain disjunction between the two.

            Meanwhile, Andrey Novikov-Lanskoy, an analyst at the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service, adds that “traditional media, including television are gradually losing their influence on public opinion. Everyone is turning to social media, to blogs and videoblogs. The chief channels of communication … are quietly becoming the net media.”

            In his view, such changes in public attention reflect not only the gap between life and reporting but also “the problem of the quality” of economic journalism, “which is conducted either by journalists without special economic education or by economics who have not mastered very well the habits of journalism.”

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