Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin are meeting today in Switzerland. The likeliest outcome of the meeting is that many words are said and then America and Russia go back to doing what they were going to do anyway, but “situation broadly unchanged, oh well” is not good enough for the elite American media, which is in a tizzy because History is Being Made. Naturally, what that looks like in practice is highly-paid journalists being very dumb.
Nothing underscores the propagandistic function of so much American journalism like the way it handles these sorts of international issues. Out goes any pretense of skepticism, and in comes talk of bolstering “the world’s democracies” against the Kremlin, as if the U.S. truly cares about democratic values around the world. Out goes any sober analysis, and in come….the body language experts.
CNN’s Jim Sciutto, for instance, simply could not stop with this shit.
Whoa…..Putin moved his head everyone, maybe that means Russia is giving its nukes up!
Alert alert men not smiling.
Sciutto—who says many stupid things, I hasten to note—also pushed the body language analysis to the hilt on actual television.
Actual Jim Sciutto quote: “These moments are about moments, and I’ll tell you one moment I noticed there.” I love this clip because it also features Wolf Blitzer calling the Putin-Biden handshake “significant” not once, but twice. Two times!
Later, the same crew spent endless minutes discussing the fact that Biden and Putin didn’t smile once they were seated inside their meeting place, with Sciutto noting that “Joe Biden likes to smile” and comparing Putin to a teenager who didn’t want to leave his room. Maybe these people are not smiling because they know that CNN will say that smiling carries international significance?
CNN was not alone, of course, in reducing a complex international relationship between two nuclear-armed powers to a boring macho standoff.
“Handshakes are back.” What?