Day: January 26, 2021

Background Briefing: January 26, 2021


Putin’s Dilemma: A Dead Navalny Means More Demonstrations While a Live Navalny Leads the Opposition

We begin on the day that President Biden had his first phone call with Vladimir Putin and go to Moscow to speak with Alexey Kovalev, a Russian journalist who writes about propaganda, fake news and Russian state media. He is the investigative editor at Meduza, an independent Russian news outlet, and he joins us to discuss his article at The New York Times, “Something special just happened in Russia: Crackdown and coercion are no longer enough to stop people protesting“. We look into the dilemma that the opposition leader Alexei Navalny poses for Putin who recently tried to assassinate the dissident with Novichok, a nerve agent used by the Russian security services in an attempt to kill the Skripals in the U.K. Although he is in prison, Navalny continues to outmaneuver Putin and if Putin kills Navalny, demonstrations which happened over the weekend will only multiply, but if Putin lets Navalny live, then Navalny continues to be the leader of the resistance against the Putin kleptocracy. Meanwhile opposition to Putin also comes from within the security services with some factions opposed to the looting of the country while other more sinister factions in league with organized crime, are even worse than Putin.


Today’s 55 to 45 Senate Vote Shows it is Unlikely Republicans Will Convict Trump

Then we speak with Corey Brettschneider, a professor of political science at Brown University where he teaches constitutional law and politics as well as a visiting professor of law at Fordham Law School about Rand Paul’s attempt in the Senate today to stop the impeachment trial of Trump. In a vote of 55 to 45, the annoying senator’s motion was defeated. But with only 5 Republicans joining with the Democrats, the chances of getting 17 Republican senators in a two thirds majority to convict Trump, look slim.


Murdoch Doubles-Down on Right-Wing Ranting as Fox Loses Viewers

Then finally we look into the likelihood that divisive polarization and poisonous partisanship will continue in spite of Republican calls for unity because Rupert Murdoch has decided to double down on right-wing ranting while punishing journalists for getting it right on a network that spreads lies shamelessly. Mark Feldstein, a Professor and Chair of Broadcast Journalism at the University of Maryland who was an award-winning investigative correspondent for CNN, ABC and NBC, joins us to discuss a 15% drop in Fox viewership since late December while CNN’s ratings have improved a remarkable 150% and MSNBC has increased its audience by 89%.