Russian television is flush with footage of misery left by the Georgian assault in the separatist district of South Ossetia, but few, if any, reports mention Russia's bombing of Georgia. William Dunbar, a correspondent in Georgia for English-language state channel Russia Today, mentioned the bombing in a report Saturday, and he has not gone on air for the station since.
"I had a series of live, video satellite links scheduled for later that day, and they were canceled by Russia Today," he said by telephone from Tbilisi on Sunday. "The real news, the real facts of the matter, didn't conform to what they were trying to report, and therefore, they wouldn't let me report it. "I felt that I had no choice but to resign," he added.
A Russia Today spokeswoman said Dunbar resigned when a producer called to arrange a broadcast. She provided a copy of a Georgian media report saying Dunbar protested Russia's "aggression" against Georgia and said the channel assumed that was why he quit.
In an online story dated Saturday, the channel mentions Georgian statements about the Russian bombing raids but says its correspondents in Tbilisi "could not substantiate the reports." In a further twist of the information flow, Georgia on Saturday terminated broadcasts of Russian news channels Channel One, Rossia and NTV and blocked web sites in the .ru domain.
Meanwhile, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said hackers had crashed many web sites, including those of state agencies. His own site was not loading Sunday, with an Internet browser saying the server stopped responding. Before it went offline, the site was tampered with to show Saakashvili with the kind of mustache sported by Hitler, Interfax reported Saturday.
Russian officials and state media, meanwhile, criticized Western media, saying they had taken Georgia's side and were misinforming their audiences.
Gee, isn’t that just what the USSR regularly use to claim pre-Gorbacchev era?