Peter Savodnik: Portrait Of A Democratic Journalist

I recently had the dubious pleasure of engaging in an extended Twitter exchange with Peter Savodnik. Peter is a consummately credentialed journalist based in New York. He is also a classical representative of the well-paid prostitute class otherwise known as Independent Western Journalists in polite (i.e. doublethink) society, as well as of that emigre clique which delights in smearing their former homeland at every opportunity (as with Julia Ioffe, Miriam Elder, etc). So nicely does he encapsulate the dinner suit-wearing, respectability-laden double standards, Western chauvinism, ingrained authoritarianism, and deep vein of conspiratorial paranoia that characterizes Western Independent Journalism that I think it useful to lay out our conversation in full.

Because protesting sky-high education costs and corporate corruption is so much more morally repugnant than defiling one of a country’s most sacred places.

I noticed Mr. Savodnik’s ranting against Occupy thanks to the approving reply from Streetwise Professor, a Russia blogger. SWP (Craig Pirrong) is a well-known neocon, Russophobe and anti-civil liberties fanatic (who masquerades as a small government classical liberal), who has a rabid gaggle of groupies following his rock-star avatar around on the interwebs (e.g. @LibertyLynx, @catfitz, etc).

The depth of his derangement is demonstrated by his loathing for Wikipedia, which he views as some kind of Communist conspiracy (no kidding, his fan Catherine Fitzpatrick, who apart from her hobby of trolling non-Russophobe blogs also writes blog posts with titles such as What is Technocommunism and the Internet of Things? condemning open-source. Also the reason why she chooses to pay for TypePad, instead of using the free – and much superior – WordPress platform for her blog).

So I guess by Savodnik logic given crackdowns in Belarus, the Meetings in Russia also look baseless and absurd? Time to expose that fool, methinks.

Actually according to my link only 5 of the journalists, or 7% of them, where arrested while “while participating in protests or civil disobedience related to Occupy events.” The rest where arrested while covering them – a perfectly valid journalistic activity. Yasha Levine in particular has a harrowing account (via blog posts) of his experiences in LA country jail – where he picked up a Third World skin disease – and his consequent legal troubles, which demonstrates that the justice system hates independent journalism every bit as much as the police does.

But note, in particular, Savodnik’s diversion of the conversation to Politkovskaya, a journalist murder in Russia SIX YEARS ago. He for one doesn’t seem to have troubles with whataboutism, of the “But in American they lynch Negroes” kind for which non-Russophobes like myself are frequently accused of – including by Sadovnik himself. But the Politkovskaya case has no relevance to the conversation – the issue is Peter Savodnik’s reference to press freedom violations in foreign countries to support repression of his ideological enemies in the West. I do not like hypocrisy, and I call him out on it.

And now the you-work-for-the-KGB canard comes out, reliable as ever coming from liberasts! My eternal response to that – what a pity the paycheck always seems to get stuck in the mail…

Had this exchange occurred at the Guardian, in its Orwellian-named “Comments are Free” section, at this point I’d have been unpersoned by the plagiarist hack Luke Harding for being a Kremlin troll.

Now I take his argument to its logical conclusion, i.e. absurdity, now using Brazil (which is actually, when looked at from the POV of concrete statistics as opposed to Russophobic democraticist rhetoric, is far more dangerous for journalists than Russia) to “justify” Obama pressuring Yemen to imprison the critical journalist Abdulelah Hider Shaea. Because that is the kind of mental acrobatics that Savodnik utilizes to wield the Politkovskaya case against Occupy.

Predictably enough, shattered by the exposure of his true authoritarian leanings and patent double standards on free speech, Peter Savodnik goes off the deep end, ranting about the KGB, FSB, and “agents of an authoritarian regime that kills people.”

Funny he says that, as it is Savodnik himself who has a reactionary hatred for ordinary Russian people and wants to disenfranchise them (see below). Projecting a bit much, Mr.  Democratic Journalist?

I’m sure that Peter Savodnik is not the worst of the lot. Any number of other, far more mendacious characters come to mind who are outstanding on the issue of their hypocrisy as regards Russia, RT, the US, and Wikileaks – Luke Harding (a Russophobe fanatic who blames Assange for releasing the unedited Wikileaks cables when it was actually HE HIMSELF, with David Hearst, who was responsible for publishing the passwords to them); Konstantin von Eggert; the SWP hive; Miriam Elder; fuck it, virtually the entirety of the Western mainstream media.

But what this conservation with Peter Savodnik is useful for is representing that general mendacity in brief, distilled, easily digestible (and disgusting) form.

Exposes of Luke Harding and Von Eggert to follow.

Addendum. Thanks to Minka in the comments for letting us know that Sadovnik also espouses extreme neoliberal Latynina-like views on the Russian majority of Putin voters (“peasants”), who should not be allowed to vote.

In fact it’s pretty clear Savodnik loathes the Russian people as a pack of uncultured peasants for not voting like Savodnik would. The gall!

For our freedom and mine… Right? I think it’s pretty clear that it is Sadovnik who is living in the 19th century, what with his reactionary hatred of ordinary people.


  1. Glad you did Peter Savodnik, there’s something seriously wrong with the guy who conctantly bitches about Occupy movement, and off handedly calls Russians “pesansts” and then goes on to say how “peasansts” shouldn’t be allowed to vote (I’m not even joking).

    • Thanks! I included those tweets. The schizophrenia of people like Savodnik, Julia Ioffe (workers = sovoks), Yulia “Pinochet” Latynina is hilarious (and disturbing) to observe.

  2. Congratulations Anatoly on exposing the real authoritarian. Interesting how people like Savodnik, Harding & Co turn instantly to calumny and abuse and start calling for censorship (“who are the KGB agents amongst us etc”) when the falsity of their arguments get exposed.

    Briefly, on the subject of Politkovskaya, Savodnik’s diversion on to that topic is as grotesque as it is transparent. Also developments in the case seem to be discrediting the original western account, which is why they no longer get reported.

  3. Just shows who are the real democrats and the real authoritarians.

    No wonder these people always fail. With these sort of views why would the peasants ever vote for them?

    • That’s why they try to stage revolutions. In other words, coups d’etat. Some fringe minority seizes power and then sends millions to gulags trying to secure itself in power. Not thanks, Russia has had more than enough of this sh*t. I say put these bastards on western bound planes with one-way tickets. They will have more freedom than they can stomach.

  4. Obviously he thinks Alexander II was wrong and abolishing serfdom was a mistake.

  5. The contempt for the Russian Orthodox Church and the violation of their property rights/disruption of worship is also telling. SWP and pals curiously silent or even by Pirrong’s own admission indifferent to contraception controversy, even though it’s violating Roman Catholic Church’s conscience (regardless of where you stand on the Pill or abortion if individuals paying for their own not demanding that taxpayers/religious institutions do so).

    In fact, there are remarkable parallels betweeen P—– Riot and Sandra Fluke, in that both clearly seem to be ops designed to wave a red flag in front of a bull (in Fluke’s case, Media Matters wanted tossed a bloody steak in front of junk yard dawgs Rush Limbaugh and other talk hosts) and P—- Riot wanted to anger Putin/Orthodox by disrupting church services during Great Lent.

    Remarkable how SWP condemns ‘Alinsky tactics’ of Occupy, but not Alinsky tactics of Rus opposition figures. Both intended not to actually change America or Russia for the better but to make victims out of those who are clearly not victims.

    • There is a fresh case in the US where an airline passanger protested TSA’s behaviour by undressing completely. He was, of course, arrested for public indecency. These bloody hypocrites then bleat about “political prisoners P*ssy Riot”. They 1) trespassed and 2) broke public decency laws. Since they did this serially they got the book thrown at them. Cry me a river.

  6. “Politkovskaya, a journalist murder in Russia SIX YEARS ago” For the Russophobes dead of Russia are never alid to rest. They are waved us bloody flags in the face of every one opposing their views.

    • Considering that she was spreading hate propaganda against Russia, from Russia, her fate was not some anomaly. But considering the facts, it was most likely a western hit and not a Russian one. Why kill a has been long past their active period? People were forgetting about her and suddenly she is made a martyr? Reminds me of the Litvinenko case, a useless target if ever there was one. He was an indirect asset to Putin given all the embarrassing nonsense he was spouting. His patron Berezovsky is the by far the most likely culprit. I am not sure who sponsored the offing of Politkovskaya. But Putin is not a retard to go after such trivial targets. He does not even go after serious ones like Berezovsky.

  7. “Peter Savodnik @petersavodnik

    Okay. Enough with the personal broadsides against agents of an authoritarian regime that kills people.”

    When there is no valid arguments left, accuse an opponent of being a Commie, KGB, bloody Putin’s agent

  8. The interesting thing about Pussy Riot is that they all wear masks. However, they were arrested and spent several days in jail, so I suspect at that time the jailers would have ripped off their masks and exposed their secret identities?

  9. Spengler was at least more honest when he wrote that Putin realized the problem was the Russian people, in his infamous essay “Putin for President” post-08/08/08. Sometimes I suspect, given his pessimism about Middle Eastern democracy clashing with neoconservative piety, that David P. Goldman wrote that just to piss off the likes of Frank Gaffney and other D.C. neocons who happen to be Russophobes/eternal Cold Warriors.

  10. This highlights my problem with journalism as a profession: it’s a megaphone for amplifying prejudices. In theory, one should be able to hate country X on a personal level, but still strive for accuracy in writing about it. That’s part of being a professional, right? In practice, too many “elite” journalists do nothing of the sort. I do think the business press is better about respecting facts and logic, as well as being less moralistic in their approach.

  11. Not to mention everyone Googling Peter Savodnik and/or Craig Pirrong and coming across this piece should be aware of Pirrong’s all time nuttiest piece, in which he compared supporters of 76-year-old Texas Congressman Ron Paul to the genocidal Khmer Rouge, while his Twitter groupies insist they’re beating back the Occupy Commies and libertarian kooks they overlook such pro-Establishment fanaticism.

    You can’t make this stuff up. I hope Google will steadily move this up in the SWP search results.