Same Story, Different Context

April 24, 2014 - 5:14 AM

A full-page headline (although without an accompanying police warning light) on the Drudge Report shouted: BRIT JETS CHASE OFF RUSSIAN SPY PLANES

The story linked to a piece on Sky News' website that made the point that, while this was not a daily occurrence, there were "eight similar incidents reported in 2013." That's about once every six weeks.

I am a big fan of Matt Drudge's site and I probably check it four or five times a day to see what he and his crew think qualifies as important - or at least interesting - news items.

I suspect daily checking Drudge is a guilty pleasure of a huge majority of people working and writing in Our Nation's Capital.

This is the kind of thing that happens when tensions rise.

When the cold and snow hit this past winter, reporters and writers took to adding up the number of people in the affected areas so that "over 3.5 million Americans are trapped in this latest cold snap" or, words to a like effect.

SIDEBAR


I think I learned in Dean Merrill Patterson's English Lit class at Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio 45750 that Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) was first credited with using the phrase "or words to a like effect."

I decided to check that while I was writing this and it turns out the only references to "or words to a like effect" and "Samuel Johnson" are by me.

So, I might have made it up.

END SIDEBAR

If there is a cruise ship that suffers toilet issues, then cruise ship malfunctions will be on every editor's mind for a couple of weeks.

Any issue with any airliner coming from, or going to, or maybe passing over, Malaysia will get a top-of-the-newscast mention.

A backed-up toilet on a Malaysian airliner will send CNN into hyperdrive.

The Russians have plenty of satellites floating around the Earth that can zoom in on what is going on in the U.K. They don't need to send 50-year-old turbo-prop aircraft to snoop around the English Channel.

What they are doing is checking to see what kind of response they will draw if they send a plane snooping around.

The Russians just wanted to see if there was any change in the reaction from the eight times they did the same thing last year.

But, last year there weren't tens of thousands of Russian troops massed along the eastern border of Ukraine and the President didn't send the Vice President to Kiev to, literally, show the flag and wave it in the face of Vladimir Putin.

Last year Canada didn't send fighter jets to Poland to participate in NATO exercises, nor did President Obama send elements of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team to join them.

Last year Ukraine wasn't in danger of being cleaved (cleft?) almost in half between Ukrainian and Russian speaking areas.

The government in Kiev is planning for an election on May 25 - just a month from now - to choose a permanent replacement for Viktor Yanukovych who fled Kiev in February of this year following his decision to move closer to Russia (a move favored by Moscow and the eastern third of Ukraine) rather than the EU (favored by the rest of Ukraine).

Vladimir Putin is doing everything short of a full-scale invasion to try an disrupt political and economic life in Ukraine to the point that the temporary government will not be able to hold that election.

That is why a fairly routine jab by the Russian air force drew a banner headline on Drudge.

Same story, different context.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to that Russian spy plane story, Samuel Johnson, US Troops to Poland, and to the history of the Presidency of Ukraine. Also, a puzzling Mullfoto of a food truck I spotted in DC earlier this week.