Staunton, Nov. 12 – Unintentionally, the Russian government is undermining trust in itself by delivering diametrically opposed messages to its foreign and domestic audiences about the coronavirus pandemic because the Internet has made it impossible for Moscow to say one thing abroad and another at home without being found out.
Indeed, it is possible that being exposed to this kind of double messaging and duplicity may have an even greater impact on the level of distrust Russians show toward their own government than that which is the result of comparing Russian government media in general with independent sources domestic or foreign.
That is because in many cases, the same government journalists are delivering these two very different messages, something that inevitably reduces confident in what they say regarding in either case and invites listeners to conclude that if these spokespersons are lying about one thing, they are probably lying about others as well.
These reflections are sparked by an examination of Russia Today’s coverage of the pandemic in The Insider by journalist Sofya Presnyakova. She provides examples of how at almost the same time that Russian government station is delivering one set of messages about vaccinations to foreign audiences and a different set to domestic ones (theins.ru/antifake/245796).
Historically, many governments have sent different messages to foreign and domestic audiences with little risk that anyone besides officials would recognize that fact. But just as radio and television made it impossible for politicians to say one thing one place and another another, so now the Internet is making it impossible for governments to continue to get away with this.