The Ukrainian government is quickly learning that it can say anything, literally anything at all, about what’s happening on the ground there and get it uncritically reported as an actual news story by the mainstream western press.
The latest story making the rounds is a completely unevidenced claim made by a Ukrainian government official that Russians are going around raping Ukrainian babies to death. Business Insider, The Daily Beast, The Daily Mail and Yahoo News have all run this story despite no actual evidence existing for it beyond the empty assertions of a government who would have every incentive to lie.
“A one-year-old boy died after being raped by two Russian soldiers, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights said on Thursday,” reads a report by Business Insider which was subsequently picked up by Yahoo News. “The accusation is one of the most horrific from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but is not unique.”
At the end of the fourth paragraph we get to the disclaimer that every critical thinker should look for when reading such stories in the mainstream press:
“Insider could find no independent evidence for the claim.”
In its trademark style, The Daily Beast ran the same story in a much more flamboyant and click-friendly fashion.
“The dead boy is among dozens of alleged child rape victims which include two 10-year-old boys, triplets aged 9, a 2-year-old girl raped by two Russian soldiers, and a 9-month-old baby who was penetrated with a candlestick in front of its mother, according to Ukraine’s Commissioner for Human Rights,” The Daily Beast writes.
The one and only source for this latest spate of “the Russians are raping babies to death” stories is a statement on a Ukrainian government website by Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmyla Denisova. The brief statement contains no evidence of any kind, and its English translation concludes as follows:
I appeal to the UN Commission for Investigation Human Rights Violations during the Russian military invasion of Ukraine to take into account these facts of genocide of the Ukrainian people.
I call on our partners around the world to increase sanctions pressure on russia, to provide Ukraine with offensive weapons, to join the investigation of rashist crimes in our country!
The enemy must be stopped and all those involved in the atrocities in Ukraine must be brought to justice!
This is what passes for journalism in the western world today. Reporting completely unfounded allegations against US enemies based solely on assertions by a government official demanding more weapons and sanctions against those enemies and making claims that sound like they came from an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia bit.