Before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and Russia established a capitalist government that was headed by President Boris Yeltsin and later, President Vladimir Putin, it was infamous for Orwellian language: government-owned media reported what the Soviet Communist Party told them to report. Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov was among those who grew up in the Soviet Union, and in a December 5 op-ed for CNN’s website, he finds some Orwellian parallels between the old Soviet Union and the Trump Administration.
Now 56, Kasparov points out that in the Soviet Union, “reality” was “whatever” the Soviet Communist Party “put out on the nightly news.” Kasparov notes that the Soviet Union’s official government newspapers were Pravda and Izvestia; in Russian, “pravda” is the word for “truth,” while “izvestia” means “news.” And Kasparov recalls that in the Soviet Union, a common joke was that “there is no news in the truth and no truth in the news.”
“I’m a post-Soviet citizen,” Kasparov explains. “The country of my birth ceased to exist in 1991. We enjoyed less than a decade of tenuous freedom in Russia before Vladimir Putin launched its post-democratic phase. My ongoing attempts to fight that tragedy led to my exile in the United States. Now, my new home finds itself locked in its own perilous battle: a battle to avoid becoming the latest member of the post-truth world.”
Kasparov goes on to explain why Trump’s presidency reminds him so much of the Soviet Union.
“Unable to change the facts, Trump and his supporters instead try to shift the debate into an alternate universe where the truth is whatever they say it is today,” Kasparov observes. “Trump repeats the same lies over and over, and it’s hard to say which is more troubling: that his followers don’t realize that they are lies or that they don’t care. Globalization and the internet may have made the world smaller, but now, we’re experiencing a counterattack: the regionalization of truth.”
Kasparov observes that in 2019, Americans have a lot more media options than he had growing up in the Soviet Union; the problem is that Trump supporters only consume media that carries his water — Fox News, for example.
“If you watched the impeachment hearings only on Fox News, you would have thought things were going great for the president,” Kasparov notes. “Any phrase that might sound like it exonerated him — and there weren’t many — was repeated over and over like a mantra. The copious and damning evidence provided may as well not have existed.”
Kasparov wraps up his op-ed on a sobering note, explaining that whether it’s pro-Putin media in Putin’s Russia or pro-Trump media in the United States, niche media is quite effective when it comes to indoctrination.
“What’s the truth? In the era of regionalized facts, it depends on where you stand, what channel you’re watching — and what party you belong to,” Kasparov stresses. “But there cannot be a red state reality and a blue state reality any more than there should be one world map inside of Russia and a different one outside. Trump is finally facing the music, and that must begin with everyone facing the facts.”
WATCH: John Oliver exposes Trump’s lies about vote-by-mail — and the Fox News ‘cult’ claiming the election is already ‘rigged’
"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver's main story Sunday refuted President Donald Trump's latest crusade against vote-by-mail. Trump announced on Twitter that the more people who vote in an election, the more Republicans tend to lose. So, he wants fewer people to have access to the ballot in November, even if people are too scared to go out during the coronavirus crisis.
Oliver called out Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R-MO), who outright told people not to vote if they were too afraid to vote in the local elections next week.
"Well, hold on there," Oliver interjected. "Voting is a right. It has to be easy to understand and accessible to anyone."
John Oliver rips Fox News’ Tucker Carlson for urging ‘order’ from people of color — but never demanding it of police
John Oliver opened his Sunday show, shredding Fox News host Tucker Carlson for uring "order" among protesters, but refusing to urge "order" to police and "wannabe police" who can't stop killing people.
It's a lot, Oliver explained. "How these protests are a response to a legacy of police misconduct, both in Minneapolis and the nation at large and how that misconduct is, itself, built on a legacy of white supremacy that prioritizes the comfort of white Americans over the safety of people of color."
While some of it is complicated, Oliver conceded, most of it is "all too clear."
Cars set on fire blocks from White House as DC protests turn violent
The Washington, D.C. protests turned violent as the city approached the 11 p.m. curfew the mayor instituted Sunday afternoon.
The policy of D.C. police is that when they are attacked, they advance forward. So, when fireworks were fired, the line of officers began pushing the protesters back further from the White House. Behind the line of police officers also stand a line of National Guard troops that President Donald Trump has demanded stand watch in the city.
Lights that normally shine on the White House have also been turned off, reporters revealed.