The Phoniest, Most PR-Intensive War Of All Time

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zelensky Vogue
The 'Vogue' cover has created a lot of buzz on social media.
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Caitlin Johnstone

The president and first lady of Ukraine have posed for a romantic photoshoot with Vogue magazine, wherein President Volodymyr Zelensky waxes poetical about his love for his darling wife.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: how is Zelensky making time for a Vogue photoshoot amidst his busy schedule of PR appearances for other major western institutions? 

I mean this is after all the same Volodymyr Zelensky who has been so busy making video appearances for the Grammy Awards, the Cannes Film Festival, the World Economic Forum and probably the Bilderberg group as well, and having meetings with celebrities like Ben StillerSean Penn, and Bono and the Edge from U2. It’s as busy a PR tour as he could possibly have without having a discussion about the strategic importance of long-range artillery with Elmo on Sesame Street.

Oh yeah, and also isn’t there like a war or something happening in Ukraine? You’d think he’d probably be somewhat busy with that too.

Call me crazy, but I’m beginning to suspect that there might be a concerted effort to manipulate the way we think about the war in Ukraine. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say it’s the most aggressively perception-managed war we’ve ever experienced. 

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February we have not only been smashed with mass media propaganda unlike anything we’ve ever seen while Russian media are purged from the airwaves, we’re also seeing the new media element of unprecedented amounts of online censorship, algorithm-boosted propaganda, and social media trolling.

So we’ve literally never seen this much overall effort put into manipulating the way the public thinks about a war. Which makes sense, given that it’s a profoundly dangerous proxy war which stands to benefit ordinary people in no way, shape or form. 

I mean, can you imagine if people were allowed to just think their own thoughts about their government’s economic warfare against Russia which is hurting them financially and pushing millions toward starvation with the full awareness and approval of the US government? Or if Americans were allowed to wonder if the billions they are pouring into this proxy conflict could be better spent at home? Or if people started objecting to a needless conflict for geostrategic domination threatening their lives and the lives of everyone they know with the risk of nuclear annihilation?

Can’t have that.

There is a night-and-day difference between wanting to tell people the truth about something and wanting to manipulate their perception of something. There are times when true facts can be used to influence people’s perception one way or the other, but if your agenda is to manipulate perception rather than tell the truth you will necessarily be forced to rely on lies, half-truths, distortion, and lies by omission wherever the truth doesn’t serve that agenda.

If they were telling us the truth about this war, they wouldn’t be censoring Russian media. They wouldn’t be censoring online voices who disagree with the official narratives about Ukraine. They wouldn’t be continually blasting us in the face with mass media perception management, and they sure as hell wouldn’t be putting Ukraine’s celebrity-in-chief on the cover of Vogue magazine.

We are being manipulated, and we are being deceived. And we are being manipulated and deceived because our perceiving clearly on our own would go against the interests of the empire. They are lying to us because the interests of the people and the interests of the empire are, as usual, squarely at odds.

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Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.

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