The Ukraine invasion is the first social media war, and Volodymyr Zelensky is its star

The Ukraine invasion is the first social media war, and Volodymyr Zelensky is its star. By Stephen Miller.

CNN’s Brian Stelter attempted to take credit on behalf of all network news media for the coverage, saying on Twitter: “The past twenty-four hours are a reminder that consumers in an era of YouTube and TikTok still gravitate to trusted, established news outlets during emergencies. They ‘know where to go,’ so to speak. And television coverage is essential.”

Stelter has it completely backwards. While CNN has employed a roster of veteran foreign journalists … to dominate their coverage on the ground in Ukraine, much of CNN’s main roster of partisan performers have been sidelined. That’s not a testament to the current state of CNN or cable news.

Also, much of what is airing on cable news are videos culled from viral clips which were first shared on Twitter, Telegram and other social media sites. Slapping a CNN logo on those clips does not mean the majority of audiences are getting their information from cable news.

Propaganda and fake videos — some even from computer games — are everywhere, some going viral:

Every day on Twitter, hundreds of small clips are shared by foreign and domestic accounts — some out of pure international interest and others to be leveraged as propaganda. It clouds the entire information ecosystem and reveals why an unreliable partisan media is so badly needed right now.

Journalists and members of Congress even pushed the debunked “Ghost of Kyiv” story, a myth born from a single shared video of a Ukrainian fighter jet and pilot who rocketed to the top of trends for supposedly downing several Russian aircraft.

A similar situation occurred when Russians occupied a small island and the inhabitants were recorded telling the Russian war ship to “Go fuck yourselves.” It was reported that all Ukrainians were killed in that exchange, but it has since emerged that they were captured. These kinds of myths are no different than previous wars and are spread to boost morale. With social media, the spread is almost instantaneous now.

Ukrainian President outplays Putin in social media:

Zelensky has a background in media and entertainment. He knows how to use these formats better than world leaders twice his age: better than Putin or even the current White House occupant.

Zelensky came of age during the social media renaissance and knows he can reach a larger audience straight from his Twitter feed or YouTube channel. Cable news dinosaurs like Brian Stelter will never understand this.

Ukraine is winning the global sympathy and media story by a massive margin. The pile-on the new pariah state of Russia is immense. Note to China: Don’t go trying to change the map by sending in your army.