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Western coverage of Ukraine exposes deep-seated racist bias, double standards

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-03-17 14:30
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A man takes his belongings from his house in Kharkov, Ukraine, March 13, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING -- The sharp difference in Western media coverage of the Ukraine situation and other conflicts has laid bare their deep-rooted racist bias and double standards.

Their emphasis on the Ukrainians' race and disregard for tragedies in other parts of the world have drawn criticism particularly from the Middle East.


In their reports, numerous Western journalists have focused on the look, skin color, race and religion of Ukranian evacuees, and made a comparison between them and refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. The unspoken implication is that the former are superior to the latter and have less reason to suffer from any plight.

"To put it bluntly, these are not refugees from Syria, these are refugees from Ukraine ... They're Christian, they're white, they're very similar (to us)," said Kelly Cobiella, an NBC News correspondent based in London, on video.

On BFM TV, France's most-watched cable news channel, journalist Phillipe Corbe said: "We're not talking here about Syrians ... We're talking about Europeans leaving in cars that look like ours to save their lives."

Since the onset of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, remarks of a racist nature have been circulating on Western media, irritating people from around the world, especially those who have fled their homes due to color revolutions or wars waged by the West.

Mohammed al-Jubouri, a professor of the media college at Al-Iraqia University in Baghdad, said that the West has been playing dumb over the refugee issues of Iraq, Syria and Yemen, as well as Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory, as if people in those places were inherently inferior and unworthy of respect.


The reason why a military conflict is taking place on a so-called "civilized" continent has shocked most Western journalists and partly lies in the penetration of West-centrism across their industry, but the theory is plainly grounded upon race superiority.

When reporting from Kyiv in late February, Charlie D'Agata, a senior foreign correspondent with CBS News, said: "This isn't a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades," but "a relatively civilized, relatively European" city.

"They seem so like us. That is what makes it so shocking," wrote Daniel Hannan in Britain's The Telegraph. "War is no longer something visited upon impoverished and remote populations. It can happen to anyone."

"We are in the 21st century, we are in a European city and we have cruise missiles fired as if we were in Iraq or Afghanistan, can you imagine," a commentator said on BFM TV.

The truth is apparent how Western governments and Western media view the conflict in Ukraine, a country they have abandoned, in comparison to the wars they waged in particular against West Asian countries, said a recent opinion article published in Iran's Tehran Times.

"The idea that a conflict inside 'civilized' Europe is so alarming because wars only happen in countries that are 'uncivilized' is such disturbing double standards and hypocritical analyses," it said. "All the wars outside Europe, the vast majority of which in West Asia and Africa, occurred as a result of Western imperialism, plots and military adventurism."

Speaking of the racist reports, Amiya Mohan, a veteran Indian journalist and analyst, regards race supremacy as "the root cause," saying many Western media outlets "are unable to hide their bias," which is "really sad and disappointing."

Earlier this month, the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association based in New York issued a statement on relevant reporting, condemning the "racist implications that any population or country is 'uncivilized' or bears economic factors that make it worthy of conflict."

"This type of commentary reflects the pervasive mentality in Western journalism of normalizing tragedy in parts of the world such as the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and Latin America," it continued.

Calling those racist reports "abhorrent," Cavince Adhere, a Kenyan international relations scholar, noted that many African countries have been subject to the West's stereotypical and negative reporting, which only made local people "tired and weary of misreporting, disinformation and stereotype journalism from some Western media outlets."

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