Axe = Kremlin Shill?

12.09.08

Categorie: Reporters, Russia |

img9559kg4.jpgAt DANGER ROOM and in The Economist‘s online debate series, I have taken the position that Georgia provoked Russia into attacking South Ossetia, and then tried to lure the West into helping defend Georgia via a concerted propaganda campaign.

That makes me a “Kremlin dupe,” according to Pajamas Media. But what’s more befuddling is Pajamas’ attack on my credentials. Writes Kim Zigfeld:

Axe has made a few freelance trips to Iraq and calls himself a “military correspondent,” with his main claims to fame being that he (a) often writes about Iraq for Sun Myung Moon’s Washington Times and The Village Voice and (b) he writes graphic novels about war. It doesn’t appear that he has any expertise in Russia at all, or any military or national security credentials.  

Actually, that’s EIGHT trips to Iraq, plus trips to Afghanistan, East Timor, Lebanon, Somalia, Chad and Nicaragua — plus countless Stateside reporting enterprises. I have written not just for The Times and The Voice, but for literally hundreds of other publications. Therein lies my “military or national security expertise.” Yes, I write books, including graphic novels. I also play Xbox and eat frozen pizzas and partake in other activities that, in fact, have nothing to do with my reporting.

Further proof that I’m not qualified to have an opinion about Russia, according to Zigfeld, is that I hold a degree in creative writing. She quotes a 2001 story in my old graduate school newspaper. She never really bothered to see what I’ve been doing since 2001. Seven years is a long time when you’re only 30 years old.

But really, all this boils down to a disagreement over Russia. I am no starry-eyed Russian apologist. It’s a backward, corrupt and, for journalists, extremely dangerous country. But that doesn’t mean we should blame Russia for the South Ossetia war and punish her accordingly, when it’s clear that Georgia fired the first shot, and followed up with intensive disinformation that itself has provided the backbone of many Western pundits’ opinion on Russia.

For perhaps the first and last time, I’d like to endorse a statement by Vladimir Putin, quoted in The New York Times:

As for the criticism that has cascaded down on his government, Mr. Putin expressed only bafflement that those in the West did not accept Russia’s explanation that it had simply acted in defense of its citizens. How did they expect Russia to respond to the shelling of its peacekeepers in Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital, he asked — with “slingshots?” Did they expect him to “brandish a penknife?”

(Photo: via Navoine.ru)

Related:
Axe debates on Russia
French scribe faked Georgia account?
Georgia’s propaganda war

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16 Responses to “Axe = Kremlin Shill?”

  1. [...] Pajama Media blogger Kim Zigfeld has launched an ad hominem attack on Nimble Books author David Axe, who responds quite sensibly. [...]

  2. bigfoot says:

    I’d never heard of Kim Zigfeld, but she appears to be a parody. I mean, look at her blog. Who could use the term “malignant cabal” with a straight face?

    As for your age…reading her blog, one gets the impression that she isn’t that old, either. She doesn’t have that Cold War cast to her gaze, the ability to shift between that context and the present. You know, like someone who actually lived it. Those of us who lived through it can’t help doing it. There’s no historical depth to her thinking–you know, the czars, the Okhrana, the USSR, the NKVD. It’s all new to her. Which makes me think she’s as old as, if not younger, than you.

    After 10+ years of the Internet, I’ve decided the definition of an intelligent person on the Internet is someone who makes fools like Zigfeld angry for simply existing. Nobody likes to be reminded of their shortcomings on a daily basis.

    I dunno Dave, maybe she’s cute. Can you get a pic?

  3. Joshua Foust says:

    In Pajamas Media’s defense, you do allow facts to drive your analysis, and they’re not really into that.

  4. madtom says:

    As for the criticism that has cascaded down on his government, Mr. Putin expressed only bafflement that those in the West did not accept Russia’s explanation that it had simply acted in defense of its citizens. How did they expect Russia to respond to the shelling of its peacekeepers in Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital, he asked — with “slingshots?” Did they expect him to “brandish a penknife?”

    Bafflement is why it make a difference if its a Georgian, or a Russian, that fired the first bullet.

    So if a Georgian picked up a Russian blogger and shot him in the head, before pushing him out of a moving car, it matters to Putin?, but not when it happens every other day in Russia, or it’s satellites?

    Or how about the assassination of a dissident in the UK with a radiological poison? One of the worst acts of international terrorism in modern history. To do it they contaminated a restaurant, a hotel, and an airliner!

    An act or war had it been done by any other nation.

    I personally do want to hear about who fired the first shot, or who is putting out the best propaganda, (a bonifide weapon of war), but none of it should affect who’s side I am on, or who is in the right.

  5. Mike says:

    I may not always agree with you, especially WRT the USAF, but attacking your credentials is really weak sauce. You would be one of the relatively few journalists that has credibility on military matters.

  6. J West says:

    1. Have pretty good establishment credentials.
    2. Am a geezer with military experience going back to good old Vietnam, but not limited to that.
    3. Have found your reporting to be fair and accurate.
    4. You will do good right up to the time your effin’ head gets blown off.
    5. Don’t get tits in a flutter about petty criticism.
    6. You’ve got the creds to let go an opinion every once in awhile.
    V/R JW

  7. I have set up a small blog to rebut and expose La Russophobe’s lies and lame attempts to smear individual Russia watchers who disagree with a New Cold War.

    My little blog also does some digging on who is behind websites like “Revoke the Games” supporting a boycott of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, and the New Cold War lobby of Randy Scheunemann and others in Washington (“Kim Zigfeld” most likely is a part time to fulltime black PR project funded by the crumbs from their table).

    Unlike Kim though, just because I have a silly little blog doesn’t give me delusions of grandeur or cause me to start referring to The Steve Nelson in the third person. :)

  8. Sorry, URL is here:

    http://larussophobeexposed.blogspot.com

    Again, I only did this when it became clear that Kim Zigfeld is not some lonely sad sack blogger living in her own little world but someone’s paid flack.

  9. J. says:

    Oh, silly David. Don’t you know that it’s only right-wing bloggers who get to make statements about national security without being challenged? It doesnt matter if left-leaning blogger-journalists are factually right, have done the research, and have a record of credible stories that have a “man-on-the-ground” component.

  10. [...] Related: Axe = Kremlin shill Axe debates on Russia French scribe faked Georgia account? Georgia’s propaganda war No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  11. [...] On that same day, Axe responded to my piece on his blog War Is Boring. Yet in fact there was no response at all. He totally ignored my question, the sole point of my article, which was to ask why he didn’t tell his readers about Hahn’s obvious conflict of interest — and, indeed, if he even knew about it — or obtain a corroborating source before reporting his claims as credible. He made no attempt to stand behind his discredited source or to offer additional corroboration of Hahn’s claims, seeming to confirm there is none. In fact, he didn’t even mention Hahn’s name at all. Is that what passes for journalism at Wired? [...]

  12. Bobo in Texas says:

    I find it quite revealing that most posts average 0-1 comments but this one gets 12, all but 1 in your/Russia’s favor. I suppose that it’s just a strange coincidence, right?

  13. [...] Related: Axe = Kremlin shill Axe debates on Russia French scribe faked Georgia account? Georgia’s propaganda war 2 Comments so far Leave a comment [...]

  14. [...] Related: Axe goes shilling Axe = Kremlin shill Axe debates on Russia French scribe faked Georgia account? Georgia’s propaganda war No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong> [...]

  15. RobKing says:

    keep doing what you’re doing. There are people out there who appreciate the information you provide.

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