There is a Very Proper Gander



Way back in 1982 my four-year-old daughter once came home from kindergarten with a story that got stuck in my memory.

“During the Olympic games (in Moscow in 1980) foreigners would throw candy and chewing gum in front of Soviet kids and then would film them picking up the stuff from the dirty pavement or even off the toilet floor,” she said with an indignant tone in her voice one could only expect from the adults.

As a matter of fact, I never found evidence that foreign tourists circulated the photos of Soviet children picking up chewing gum from the ground. So I assume it was just an element of the government-sponsored propaganda game against the West, as understood by my daughter’s kindergarten teachers.

Unfortunately, as time passed, the rules of the game were picked up by the media and by the politicians in the West, which I witnessed first-hand during my 23-year long career as a television journalist with The AP. Well, the new Russia, too, quickly restored the traditions of the not so distant past.

What we are witnessing today in the post-fact and fake-news world appears to be the result of the merger between the Soviet-era propaganda style and the newest political techniques of the free world. Amen. Well, not yet… Keep reading for more flashbacks on the subject dating back to my days at Tass, the Soviet news agency, and at The Associated Press.