BuzzFeed Defends “Ghost of Kiev” Propaganda, Ukraine now admits was False

  • Reporters admit that Ukraine stories are propaganda and likely untrue, report them anyway
  • All objectivity shed to pursue war aims of Ukraine against Russia
  • Promoting the “Ghost of Kiev” meme because it makes Ukrainians feel good during the conflict with Russia

OUR RATING: Major Negligence. MSNBC-level basic journalistic negligence

Indicted Outlet: Christopher Miller, Isobel Koshiw, Pete Kiehart | BuzzFeedNews | Link | Archive | 2/27/22

In this BuzzFeedNews story the authors Christopher Miller, Isobel Koshiw, and Pete Kiehart justify broadcasting fake news such as that about the “Ghost of Kiev” that is obviously false war propaganda on the idea that it gives their preferred side in the conflict hope.

Spoiler alert: the Ukraine admitted the “Ghost of Kiev” was all made up! [1]

Major Violations:

  • Obviously false war propaganda
  • No Evidence to Support
  • Not Objective

To recap: after the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine by Russia, a story spread around social media that a heroic Ukraine pilot had downed 11 Russians, making him the first air ace of the modern age. The so-called “Ghost of Kiev” was given superhero status among the cacophony of people supporting the Ukraine.

Let’s start this fact-check by saying that it’s now abundantly clear that the “Ghost of Kiev” story is made up. [2] Even the Ukraine is admitting it was all made up. [3] The pilot was never alive. [4] There’s nothing true to this story.

The Ukraine let this lie linger from February to May of 2022.

The media was careful not to bite too hard on this very outlandish tale. Even by mid-March 2022, outlets as sloppy as Politifact were cautious. [5]

By March 3rd, even the hoax-loving New York Times was saying the “Ghost of Kiev” and the “Snake Island” stories were probably war propaganda. [6]

So what did BuzzFeed say in their headline:

Whether they’re well documented or urban legend, these stories are boosting Ukraine’s resistance.

That’s a nice way of saying the truth doesn’t matter.

And that judgment might seem too strong, so let’s review the rest of the article:

Though many examples of heroism have been documented by videos and photos, some are hard to verify, and there are already a few that seem to be urban myths. Perhaps the most famous early example is the viral tale of “The Ghost of Kyiv,” a single pilot who some believe single-handedly shot down six Russian fighter jets.

But all these stories, combined with President Volodymyr Zelensky’s popular and defiant videos where he stands firm in Kyiv and exhorts all his fellow citizens to take up the fight, add up to a national narrative of bravery for a people who have fewer soldiers and fewer weapons than Putin’s forces.

“When you see all that, you feel like the whole nation is against this aggression. And it’s really hard to fight the whole nation,” Maria Popova, a Ukrainian communications professional in Kyiv, told BuzzFeed News. “The general feeling is that we are ready to fight here, and we are really angry.”

Yes, that’s saying that the stories are false but they’re having a positive impact so we should take that into account.

Of course war propaganda is going to make citizens feel good about their country, a point lost on these reporters.

Readers have heard left-wing media elites preening and lecturing for years about the impact of ‘disinformation’ and ‘misinformation’ corrupting our politics. Those standards apparently don’t apply in wartime, where one would think the attachment to the truth and to accuracy would be most important.

The first casualty in war is truth. [7] And the media exists not to be a shameless mouthpiece for elite-sanctioned sides, but as objective reporters relaying news that has been verified.

The article even goes on to report on the Snake Island myth as another potential lie serving a higher purpose.

It really seems pointless to continue fact-checking this article when the authors are admitting that they are fine with lying in service to the cause.

Any outlet employing these tactics ought to be boycott. Any outlet employing reporters content to tell lies and uncritically repeat war propaganda belong instead as press agents paid by the military, not as part of a supposedly free media.

People expect the military to ‘spin’ the news, but they deserve to have the media tell them the truth.

Many of the memes and anecdotes relayed in this article have been debunked, but one wonders whether the authors even care.

The media lies pushed and promoted during the Russian invasion of Ukraine are an ongoing scandal and industry shame.

OUR RATING: Major Negligence. MSNBC-level basic journalistic negligence

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