It’s not everyday that a Bulgarian high official meets with the US president so PM Boyko Borisov at the White House was quite a topic for Bulgarian media in November.
For the political analyst Peter Cholakov, though, impeachment was clearly the more important issue for Trump so he predicted that the visit would be short and not particularly warm.
But former US ambassador to Sofia James Pardew expressed (in a comment for “The Hill”, republished by “Dnevnik”) his belief that both Trump and Borisov have a lot in common: “Trump, Borisov’s American host, often rants against the legitimate American press. When he does so, the president is following the pattern used by several current and former foreign leaders — like Borisov — to stifle truth and government accountability in their nations.”
Pardew also gave an interview to Deutsche Welle and claimed that “Both Bulgarian Prime Minister and US President rely on nationalism and a certain, gross populism. Both dislike independent and straight forward media”.
For pogled.info, the White House was only aiming at pushing Bulgaria on NATO’s first line of attack agains Russia. According to analyst Stoyan Zhulev, though, that’s in no way favorable to Bulgaria.
Syria, Russia – US battleground
US pulling out of Syria, Turkish offensive in the region and Putin joining Erdogan’s plans were the perfect occasion for many Bulgarian media outlets to put on display anti-US messages of Russian origin.
Russian MFA spokeswoman was quoted claiming that the US smuggles USD 30 million worth of oil a month out of Syria and, besides that, carries out illegal military operations in the region.
Pogled.info republished an analysis published by the “Foreign Affairs” magazine which says as follows: “By the fall of 2015, when Putin dispatched his air force and ground troops to Syria, the United States had made abundantly clear that it would not intervene directly in the Syrian civil war. The risk of a military confrontation with the United States was therefore minimal. There remained the risk of bumping into each other by accident, but that was solved through deconfliction, which was in itself a triumph for the Russian military: the United States, previously free to operate in Syria at will, now had to coordinate its activities with Russia.”
When pogled.info relies on Russian political analysts, everything gets much spicier. Valery Korovin, for instance, claimed that “America is trembling and boiling and we must be empathetic to them. The patient is in agony, is feverish and delirious, but keeps making decisions, imposing sanctions and sending troops everywhere””
Korovin seems to be pogled.info’s darling as it hosted one of his analyses again later in November. This time, the topic was Syria: “Russia’s operation in the Syrian Arab Republic has halted the implementation of the US unipolar world project”.
The same media outlet also quoted the democrat candidate for US prsidency Tulsi Gabbard who criticized Trump’s policy for Syria. “Donald Trump’s decision to leave troops in Syria to <protect> oil fields not only invalidates his choice but also <shames> US troops that may be seen as misappropriating foreign resources”.
The Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, interviewed by “Russia today”, was quoted by duma.bg saying that “the war in Syria is a miniaturized WWIII that is indirectly waged. US have a problem, their hegemony starts to vanish”.
Russian MFA Sergey Lavrov was cited claiming that the real purpose of the US still staying in Syria is the creation of some sort of a quasi-state for strategic needs.
An analysis made by Deutsche Welle and published by fakti.bg concluded that Donald Trump gave no chance to the peace process in Syria when decided to pull troops out.
NATO troops are thugs and rapists
The debate on NATO’s future covered all November. Perhaps unsurprisingly, fakti.bg chose to quote a Russian MP, Dmitry Novikov (first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs), who said that “NATO cannot guarantee Europe’s security and is nothing else but a way of subordinating European countries to the US”.
Pogled.info knows why NATO couldn’t protect anyone: based on an “analysis” that the media outlet published, what the Alliance troops are in charge of on a daily basis are “harassment, beatings and rape” but “Western media simply ignore such topics”.
If once was not enough, a similar story was published later that month by the same media outlet. This time, pogled.info took a look at actions of the British troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and concluded that “homicide, sexual assault and torture are only a few of the crimes committed”.
Pogled.info, though, has some room for content published by media outlets like “Le Figaro” when such media writes that NATO members do not share lately common views on security threats and priorities of the Alliance. The French paper predicted that this sort of things might lead to NATO’s end.
Wall Street Journal is also exactly what pogled.info needs when WSJ notices that Vladimir Putin not only managed to sow discord in US politics but “in the Middle East and other areas everything is also shaping up to his benefit, while NATO members are mired in controversy about the future of this alliance”.
Eventually, all these different views on how NATO should work can only cause bigger disagreements and finally a split, argues pogled.info.
In November, the authors of this report examined 12 Bulgarian media outlets, the most relevant in terms of readership.
Most of the articles (39) were provided by pogled.info, for the third month in a row.
Focus-news.net is ranked second (22 articles), for the fourth month in a row.
On the third place – bnr.bg, fakti.bg and duma.bg (9 articles each).
58 of the collected articles could be classified as “neutral”. 13 of those are news, the other 45 – 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).