Recently Ukraine was visited by the group of 18 leaders of public opinion from the United States. The purpose of the organized by the Institute of world policy in partnership with the black sea trust for regional cooperation of the event was to familiarize the experts of leading analytical centers and editors of mass-media with the real situation in Ukraine, implementation of reforms, reports the Ukrainian position to inspire them to comment and to cover events in Ukraine in connection with Russia’s aggression through the prism of the position of official Kyiv, not the Russian propaganda mouthpiece.
“Day” spoke with a member of the editorial Board of The New York Times by Serge Smetannom. He in 1991, he received the Pulitzer prize for coverage of the reunification of Germany. September 12 2001 New York Times published on the first page of his article about the terrorist attacks that happened the day before.
The conversation we started with the theme, which was recently designated a chief strategist in the White house Steve Bannon, stating that the American media still do not understand why I won trump.
“Trump is a new phenomenon for America.”
Sergio Smaman: It is true, I do not understand how it happened. The problem is that the media in the US is mainly located on the East and West coast. And is located in the middle States that we do not really understand. Perhaps because of this, we are not aware of the anger and frustration of Americans. And the results of the vote were a surprise. After all, public opinion polls showed that the victory of Hillary Clinton. So really we were surprised by the result, and therefore, media should start to examine and find out why we were misled. But it happens everywhere. Media in the UK were also misled by the polls.
In my opinion, the world has entered a new state, when all regular rules where there are a America, experience changes. We believed that the policy is not applied to personal insults to each other that people vote in a familiar environment, knowing that behind the term “conservative” or “liberal” is what we mean.
Trump is a new phenomenon for America. He is a populist who broke all the rules. And every time he broke the rules, we thought it’s over, like when he insulted Senator McCain and when he made fun of the women or the disabled. And suddenly we realized that this man can say anything and people take it the way it is, and when he wants to destroy the established rules.
“Trump learns very quickly”
“Day”: how could it happen next?
— We need to figure out what happened, what changed, and why didn’t we notice this, in particular, the discontent of the Americans. And it is very difficult, because the media itself has changed. With the advent of social media, online publications, everything changes for us and for America. We need to understand what it means. But, notwithstanding that, we are fighting for what you believe in.
When trump is lying, we say he’s lying. We do not say that he said it, but someone else.
For journalists has a new goal: if he’s going to play by the new rules, we will attempt to bring it back to the old rules that have been tested by time, and it is a good rule. Cannot lie, should be ashamed, if you’re doing it wrong. Trump learns very quickly, and after two weeks realized that it is impossible to do what you wish, there are restrictions on what you say and how you say or do.
For example, today, trump acknowledged the one-China principle. Here he retreated. And we will be watching to see whether trump to learn to perform their duties or will attempt to change them.
“I believe in traditional journalism, which is based on facts and ethics”
— Does this mean that the American system of checks and balances work, and in the end, trump will play by the rules?
— Yes, it happens. The judicial system pulled him a decree on the prohibition on the entry of the seven Muslim countries. Trump will complain and exert pressure, but it will not help. And I think the Republicans in Congress will start to put pressure on him and not allow him to do what he wants. He thinks like a businessman: I’m the boss and can give orders to do something or other. Yes, he’s a fast learner, but we need to be careful. We need to defend democracy. Some say that democracy should be a verb, not a noun.
We are quite solid and won’t give up so easily. I personally very much believe in traditional journalism, which is based on facts and ethics. I spent my whole life in journalism and not going to succumb to any pressure.
— Why, in your opinion, trump criticizes Putin?
— I think that it is very dangerous for Putin himself. Any trump statements like “Putin is my friend”, are worth nothing, because the national interests of the countries are very different. Trump may one day say: “My friend is not doing what I want to do”. A new American President takes insults personally, and in this case it will also be perceived as a personal insult.
“Putin as the master chess is not particularly burdened with tasks”
— You are a part of the American delegation met with President Poroshenko. Tell us, what is your impression after this meeting?
— It is clear to us that Ukraine has a lot going on, many people are disappointed that it is not so quickly done as one might think. The whole world is now in a chaotic state.
Here we saw the great determination of the people with whom we met, including President Poroshenko. They all recognize the existence of problems, difficulties and the need to do something. You have to give credit to them, they are trying to solve problems. I think that eventually it would happen, but everything happens very slowly.
The fight that Ukraine is against corruption and for the development of the country, takes all the time, except for the fact that you are still at war with Russia. So all this may not happen very quickly. You need patience, because it is a slow and painful process of construction. And assuming that Europe and America are in a state of chaos, it is very difficult to do. Moreover, when Putin as the master chess game is not especially burdened with the task.
“Poroshenko needs to inform Trump that the United States has assumed certain commitments and should fulfill them”
— As you know, during a telephone conversation the presidents of Ukraine and the United States agreed to a personal meeting. Washington already went to the Minister of foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin to agree on a specific date. What, in your opinion, should affect the Ukrainian President?
— Poroshenko is Ukraine’s national interests and should clearly convey the Trump that America has assumed certain commitments and should fulfill them. It should also emphasize that Ukraine trusts America that Ukraine is trying to build a democracy, and the United States should firmly support Ukraine. I think that is how Poroshenko will submit this question to Trump. But the problem is that we don’t know how to act trump.
“We recognized that the reporting of Walter Duranty was untrue”
In 2003 the newspaper “Day” joined the action for the deprivation of the Pulitzer prize-winning journalist for The New York Times Walter Duranty as an apologist for Stalin, who misled the entire world about the famine-genocide of 1932-1933 in Ukraine, denying the famine. Would like to hear your opinion on such unprofessional activities of American journalist and the reaction of the edition?
We recognized that his stories were untrue, and The New York Times took his portrait, which hung in the gallery edition among the winners of this award.