Analysis of the News: “Pentagon threatened Americans: If you don’t give money to Ukraine, we will send your children to war”

Published on:

December 2023.

As part of the program Regional Initiative for combating disinformation “Western Balkans Combatting disinformation Center: Exposing malicious influences through fact-checking and Analytical Journalism“, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

Pentagon threatened Americans: If you don’t give money to Ukraine, we will send your children to war

In this week’s edition, we present you news based on the statement of the American presenter, Tucker Carlson, which was reported by numerous pro-Russian portals and caused general confusion among readers. The main headline is oriented around the sentence “We will send your sons against Russia”, as officially reported by Sputnik, while other portals also reported in a similar form.

Namely, the article of Sputnik directly conveys the statement of the journalist Tucker Carlson, who allegedly quoted the American Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, that he will send “sons, cousins and uncles” of top American politicians to fight in Ukraine if the aid intended for Ukraine is not approved. As usual, without citing any source or proof that this was said, Sputnik also refers to the Secretary of Defense as the Head of the Pentagon, which is incorrect. Almost every part of the sentence is misinformation, from not providing relevant evidence or sources to not even checking if the news is reliable. This speaks volumes about the casualness of pro-Russian portals in creating disinformation space and creating confusion.

Now that we have determined who could be the main protagonist of this disinformation, we come to the next step: to analyze the possibilities of this manoeuvre, which is being discussed. So, what exactly did Tucker Carlson, and by the way, the broadcasters of this news, mean when they broke the news that sons, cousins and uncles would be fighting in Ukraine? We can assume that it is an attempt to disseminate information that if Ukraine is not helped, America will go to war with Russia? Again, this is an unlikely conclusion, considering that Europe is also providing aid to Ukraine in addition to the United States. Would that mean that anyone who provides aid to Ukraine will sooner or later go to war with Russia? And so, we encounter countless interconnected illogicalities because the news makes absolutely no sense. The only success of this disinformation, which is its primary purpose, is to divert attention from Russia’s invasion of a sovereign state by talking about potential attacks by other states on Russia, creating a victim from the initial aggressor.

In addition, Sputnik reports the question that Elon Musk asked Tucker, in which he asks, “Is it true?” Carlson further retorts that “everything is confirmed”. Again, there is no source or evidence for this confirmation other than Carlson’s tweet. and Nulta Tacka additionally spiced up this story with an interview of the Republican Thomas Massie, who was a guest at Carlson’s, where Carlson is again quoted as asking the question, “How could Washington send tens of billions more to sleazy oligarchs in Ukraine now that the whole enterprise revealed as an inefficient, corrupt and incredibly destructive disaster?”

Thomas Massie is known for his opposition to providing aid to Ukraine and is an excellent interlocutor for Carlson. However, even though Carlson asked the question and did not present direct disinformation, we can still define the question itself as disinformation. And to his question, we must also answer questions like: Why is providing assistance to a sovereign state against an occupier an ineffective action? (as he states) When it is said that the action is corrupt, we must present sources or evidence, that are not there again? When the claim is made indirectly that the money was distributed to Ukrainian oligarchs, it must be said to which oligarchs? How much money was shared by the same, if we start from the assumption that it was?

A series of such questions can be arranged, as in the first part of the text, where we expressly indicated the sequence of disinformation created by the pro-Russian portal.

Author: Đorđe Terek