American space achievements such as the Apollo 11 Moon landing mean nothing because they were racist and sexist, while the Soviet Union practiced diversity. A ready-made RT article? Try the two main US newspapers instead.
Picture in your mind a RT.com headline that goes something like this: “How the Soviets Won the Space Race for Equality,” above an article about how the USSR was first in space not just with Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin, but also when it came to women, Asians and persons of African extraction. Well, you don’t have to, because that very headline and story actually exist – in the New York Times.
“After putting the first man in space in 1961, the Soviets went on to send the first woman, the first Asian man, and the first black man into orbit – all years before the Americans would follow suit,” Sophie Pinkham wrote in the article dated July 16, exactly 50 years after Apollo 11’s blast-off for the historic mission to the Moon.
There is nothing factually wrong with Pinkham’s article. It did take the USA 20 years to follow Valentina Tereshkova with Sally Ride. And yes, the Soviets sent a Vietnamese pilot and a Cuban of African descent into orbit in 1980. Bringing that up on the anniversary of the major US achievement in the space race, however, just feels… tacky.
That did not stop the Washington Post, America’s other paper of record, from doing the same exact thing, declaring that “The culture that put men on the moon was intense, fun, family-unfriendly, and mostly white and male.”
Had it been RT running articles denigrating the US space program on the Apollo 11 anniversary, I could just imagine the leading Democrats, neocons, spies now employed at CNN and MSNBC – and heaven only knows who else – lining up to denounce the perfidious Muscovite propaganda seeking to diminish the great achievement of American science and technology.
For the past three years, the US media-political establishment has obsessed about the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy, alleging that Moscow used something called “active measures” (in the form of tweets and Facebook posts) to get Donald Trump elected. The whole thing fizzled out in March, when the special counsel appointed to investigate it admitted at long last there was nothing there. That has not stopped the fear-mongering, with media and politicians stoking paranoia over “Russian” smartphone apps used for the Age Challenge, for example.
The Times and the Post, however, are a very important cudgel for them to beat America with and into submission to their preferred point of view, no dissent allowed. And as we’ve seen with the curious case of New Knowledge, “Russian” methods are just fine when used by the “correct” people.
What could have possibly possessed the newspapers of record to denigrate America’s historic achievement thus? One possibility is the omnipresent identity politics, which these mainstream media are steeped in on a daily basis. Virtue is signaled by denouncing and disavowing the past as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it” without stopping to think how that worked out for the author of that quote, Hillary Clinton.
The other possibility is Trump Derangement Syndrome, which causes otherwise sensible people to denounce things they would normally never oppose because they’ve been programmed to fervently believe that Orange Man Bad. Never mind the Moon landing – they’ve denounced the Constitution, the flag, the anthem, the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence as evil too!
Pinkham herself offers another clue, unironically framing the Soviet personnel choices in (post)modern terms thus: “Cosmonaut diversity was key for the Soviet message to the rest of the globe: Under socialism, a person of even the humblest origins could make it all the way up.”
Well, since everyone in America knows that “diversity is our strength” – one of those dogmas one simply does not challenge except at own peril – that clearly makes the USSR and socialism morally superior, right?
Reacting to the Post piece, my colleague Igor Ogorodnev argued that “picking people for posts on the basis of historic justice, skin color and chromosome combinations is a recipe for uncompetitive organizations, where the most talented never succeed.”
Perhaps the Russians learning that lesson is why they still have spaceships that can take humans into orbit, while the US does not, and can’t even hope to replicate the feat of Project Apollo today, despite 50 years of technological – and social? – progress.
Really makes you think.
By Nebojsa Malic
Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist and political commentator, working at RT since 2015
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