The Russian infodemic has spread easily in Bulgaria

As many analysts, commentators and columnist noticed, the coronavirus pandemic was doubled by a terrible infodemic which spread on even larger areas than COVID-19. Europe was the hit hard by both and its survival was believed to be at risk.

EU’s body parts, disconnected

The country that faced the most difficulties dealing with the new coronavirus in Europe was Italy. Rome expected and asked for help from the EU, which was not given when needed. Alexander Soros, the son of George Soros, said in an interview for Project Syndicate that “the EU is on its way to lose Italy. Europe happened to be separated and threatened by territorial collapse”.

On 30th of March, the Vice President of the Italian Parliament, Fabio Rampelli, removed the European Union flag from his cabinet and replaced it with the Italian tricoloured flag. “This is a symbol of change that is coming not only but also in Europe”, commented pogled.info.

The MEP Ivo Hristov said in an interview that “Solidarity is a fundamental principle of the European Union, but in recent years, it is selfishness that has peaked on a global scale – both as an individual value, in corporate culture and everything else. The EU’s good intentions were not in line with the policies it pursued”.

Bulgarian social-democrat MEP Ivo Hristov happens to focus on topics dear to Kremlin. Source: Twitter

According to the former Vice PM of Bulgaria, Ivaylo Kalfin, “the pandemic has brought to light the truth that Europe has gone crazy about putting everything on a commercial basis”.

The financial and economic journalist Gideon Rahman wrote an article in “Financial Times” in which he expressed his opinion that “instead of saving the EU, they may destroy it”.

The chairman of the European Science Council, Mauro Ferrari, unexpectedly resigned after “losing faith in the system itself”, namely in the European structures because of their “disappointing” response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe, Italy, many people changed their opinion about the EU. “During the coronavirus pandemic, only 30% of the Italians have a positive attitude towards the EU while 70% of them admit they have lost their trust in the Alliance”, report the German TV “Das Erste”.

Spain was also one of the most affected countries by COVID-19 and Madrid was another European capital to wait in vain for the needed help from the EU. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has issued an urgent warning that the EU is in danger of collapsing amid the coronavirus crisis.

Many experts also think that the European countries were unprepared for this pandemic and they neglected the danger coming from Wuhan, according to sources quoted by pogled.info: “From Italy alone the coronavirus spread to at least 46 countries while from China to only 27. The fault lies with the authorities of European countries who imposed too late restrictions on flights to/from other countries”.

Pogled.info also published an article by “Le Figaro” under the headline “Rome and Madrid reminded the <selfish Germany> of how Europe helped it after the war”.

The German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, said that “Europe must correct the errors detected by the coronavirus crisis. Our goal is for Europe to come out of this situation more united than it was before”.

Towards the end of the month, the Chief of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, realized it was time to change the approach. “Ursula von der Leyen issued a <heartfelt> apology to Italy for being abandoned at the start of the coronavirus pandemic”, BBC reported.

The former European Council President, Donald Tusk, assumed that the coronavirus crisis may lead to the collapse of the European Union. “When looking at South Europe, all we see is a catastrophe”, he said.

60 years ago the EU was created in Rome, now it can die there”, wrote the Russian newspaper “Expert”.

The coronavirus pandonaldemic

In connection with the spread of the coronavirus, the US authorities have almost entirely depleted the stockpiles of personal protective equipment available to the National Strategic Reserve.

The leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said that “Americans are dying because the administration under the President Donald Trump had a significant delay in dealing with the coronavirus spreading”.

Many theories emerged in an effort to answer the question “How did the coronavirus appear?”. For the Russian political scientist Valeriy Korovin, „COVID-19 did not come out of nowhere, it is American, it was patented in 2015 and scientific journals wrote about it then” – no proof was offered by the Russian, pogled.info published the story anyway.

The university professor Vasil Prodanov also tried (without much success) to look unbiased: “If the coronavirus was created and released in China, who stands behind this? Is it the US military who knowingly or unknowingly did this to the Chinese state?”. So it’s certain that the US somehow unleashed the virus in China. Again, despite no evidence of that, pogled.info took it right away.

At the beginning of April, the US President Donald Trump confirmed that several equipment stocks for healthcare workers are nearly completely depleted, but declined to impose quarantine at national level, leaving this decision in the hands of the governors.

Pogled.info published an “analysis” under the headline “Will COVID-19 happen to be the biological weapon of the US special services against Trump?”.

The Bulgarian financier, who lives in New York, Yordan Kolev said in an interview for BTV that “the pandemic showed that the US economy was not prepared enough. It is hard to remain optimistic in New York”.

The American president literally shocked physicians not only in the US, but around the world, when he suggested that injecting disinfectant in the body would be useful against the COVID-19. The health organizations in the country quickly responded and warned that this is not a good idea and shouldn’t be done.

However, some Americans followed Trump’s advice and drank disinfectant liquid only to be taken moments later to the ER.

For the British newspaper “The Independent”, the conclusion to draw was that “If there was no Trump in the White House, the US might have already eliminated the coronavirus”.

WHO’s to blame?

A plethora of reactions were triggered by Donald Trump’s decision to punish the World Health Organization for allegedly covering China in its attempt to cover the pandemic figures.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that “attempts by the United States, which criticize the World Health Organization, to blame others for the worsening coronavirus pandemic are worrying”.

China also stated that the “US should fulfil its obligations to WHO”.

According to the UK newspaper “Guardian”, “Trump’s decision to suspend funding for the World Health Organization is an attempt to shift responsibility for his catastrophic failure to protect his country despite warnings received”.

Bill Gates was one of the first Americans to criticize Trump’s decision: “Cutting off WHO funding during a health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds.”

Pogled.info was also of the opinion that “Trump blames WHO in a try to distract attention from his mistakes in the process of fighting the epidemic locally.

In March, the authors of this report examined 13 Bulgarian media outlets, the most relevant in terms of readership.

Most of the articles (83) were provided by pogled.info, for the eigth month in a row.

Focus-news.net is ranked second (40 articles), also for the eigth month in a row.

On the third place – 24chasa.bg (17 articles).

70 of the collected articles could be classified as “neutral”. 13 of those are news, the other 57 – analyses.

108 articles are labeled “biased” (15 of them are news, 93 are analyses).

* The authors of this analysis/study divided the media articles into two categories (news and analysis), each classified as biased or neutral. A geographical criterion was also used to link the media articles to the EU and the US. According to this study, a piece of news is nothing more but a short article covering a fact or a statement whereas an “analysis” may be a column, an investigative piece or any other type of article that is based on several facts and statements that are premises for the conclusion that the author of the article wishes to make public. The neutral characteristic is attributed to those news and analyses that use actual quotes (and not made up or out of context ones), rely on fact checking and logical syllogisms, provide side relevant data (context) in order for the public to get the bigger picture. News and analyses are labelled as biased when, on the contrary, the journalist’s work is not compliant with all of the above: quotes are partial and/or manipulated/manipulative, there’s no vetting process, neutral context is not added (and when there’s some context provided, facts are selected to match the conclusion – which, in this sort of cases, is pre-set – and not the other way round).

 

Based on this report:

Коронавирусът е причина за критики срещу САЩ и ЕС в медии през април

Discursul anti-Occident – interviu cu jurnalistul Cătălin PRISACARIU

Dilema veche la “Timpul prezent” – Discursul anti-Occident

Discursul anti-Occident: Aspiratoarele zburătoare americane și spionii ruși

Discursul anti-Occident: Președintele Bulgariei se simte captiv în UE