It’s been nearly a week since President Biden went to Warsaw and said in an address to the Ukrainian people: “My God, Putin cannot remain in power.” In the aftermath, a number of media pundits have interpreted his remarks as a gaffe – if not saying that he was calling for armed conflict with Russia, a bandwagon that the far right has cheerfully jumped on – suggesting that they could never harbor animosity towards the Kremlin for very long.
This also leaves us to wonder if mainstream media outlets are in fact seeing the implications of what the conflict between Russia and Ukraine really could be, or if they’re just looking to exploit the story for ratings for however long it lasts. Now they can sell the angle of whether the remarks will escalate the conflict in a dangerous fashion – or (foolishly) that making such remarks play into Putin’s hands.
We’re also seeing a fairly steady stream of support as President Biden has refused to back down from the ad-libbed remark that he made – with a number of prominent Ukrainians agreeing that he was right to condemn the Russian dictator in no uncertain terms. Now, even one of the former Russian oligarchs, Mikhail Khodorovsky, is not only confirming that Biden used the right words, but he’s upset with White House staffers for trying to walk it back.
Khodorovsky, who was once a target of Putin’s before he fled the country, was also sure to point out what Biden was referring to – he wasn’t talking about what the U.S. government should do – but rather giving the Russian people the green light to turn against him before the war he declared against Ukraine gets even worse. If Khodorovsky can see the threat that Putin poses, why can’t our own media call this for what it is?
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making