Electoral contest on television. Trends of March 2019
Читайте українською тут.
The results of the first two months of the election campaign (January-February 2019) and the research methodology can be found here. For a more detailed weekly review of election topics see the Election Detector project.
Main trends of March
The main battle on television goes between Petro Poroshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko. Although Volodymyr Zelenskyi leads the ratings, he is absent or almost absent from the news and from the political discussion programs of major Ukrainian TV channels (with the exception of "1+1"). This is compensated by the interest to him in social networks and in online media, as well as by a large amount of entertainment content with his participation on the TV channel "1+1." The media circle of candidates narrowed. In February, there were over a dozen candidates regularly shown on TV, but this number decreased in March. Every day in the news, you can see Petro Poroshenko, Yulia Tymoshenko (all channels), Volodymyr Zelenskyi ("1+1", ICTV, STB), Yuriy Boyko (Inter), Oleksandr Vilkul ("Ukraine", STB, ICTV) and Oleh Lyashko (Ukraine, Inter); more rarely, you can see Anatoliy Hrytsenko (ICTV, STB); Serhiy Kaplin (Inter) and Valentyn Nalyvaichenko (Inter, Ukraine) are shown only occasionally. In the talk shows, Oleksandr Shevchenko, Ihor Smeshko ("1+1"), Ruslan Koshulynskyi (ICTV) and Illia Kyva (112 and NewsOne) appear also. At the same time, Lyashko, Vilkul and Shevchenko are, apparently, looking for recognition having the parliamentary election campaign in mind. TV channels with the largest number of political PR include Inter, Ukraine, ICTV, STB and "1+1".
Television offers candidates - in addition to legal campaigning - four main formats of hidden PR, disguised as news, socio-political programs or talk shows:
1. A monologue performance in a talk show studio without opponents or with a support group ("Svoboda Slova" [Freedom of speech] on ICTV, "Holovna Tema. Vybir" [Main topic. Choice] on the channel "Ukraine","Podrobytsi Vyboru" [Details of the Election] on Inter, and "Pravo na vladu" [Right to power] on "1+1").
2. Live or recorded Interview in the studio (news and summarizing newscast on "Ukraine" channel, summarizing newscasts on "1+1", Inter and ICTV, special projects and guest studios of informational channels).
3. Short PR messages in the digest of the newscast or summarizing newscast (ICTV, "Ukraine", STB and Inter).
4. Unbalanced comments in thematic or reviewing materials (most often on Inter, "Ukraine", inter-programs on information channels).
"Ukraine" and Inter are the TV-channels that are the most concentrated on the promotion of "their" candidates. For channel "Ukraine" they are Oleh Lyashko and Oleksandr Vilkul, and for Inter it is Yuriy Boyko. These politicians, in addition to the daily mentioning in the news, are guests in the studio every week with interviews on any topic. "1+1" promotes Volodymyr Zelenskyi, but the amount of PR and positive mentioning in news and talk shows is relatively smaller; instead, he is constantly appearing in entertainment formats. In particular, on the eve of the election, on the "pre-election day of silence" on March 30, the channel plans to show a number of programs with his participation "as an actor, not as a candidate," as well as a film about Ronald Reagan, in which the protagonist was voiced by Zelenskyi. Formally, this is not agitation, and therefore it is not prohibited by the law.
Among the informational channels, Priamyi is standing out with aggressive promotion of Petro Poroshenko and with unbalanced criticism and black PR against his rivals. Viktor Pinchuk's TV channels offer PR-opportunities to different candidates (with the exception of Yuriy Boyko, who, however, took advantage of the opportunity to be interviewed by ICTV as part of the election campaigning). A separate interesting case is Ihor Smeshko, who is not mentioned in the television news and is occasionally invited to talk shows, but he has his own powerful support team - the newspaper "Den" [The Day] and TV presenter Dmytro Hordon, who directly called to vote for Smeshko in political talk shows several times.
Television did not actually offer voters the real discussion formats. It was used by politicians and owners as a PR platform despite the unprecedented number of talk shows. All alleged discussions on commercial television channels took place either in the format of "warm baths" for candidates, or in the format of promotion of the necessary political messages, or to foment artificial conflicts. Against this backdrop, only the Public Broadcaster stands out favorably. In particular, this relates to the talk show "Zvorotniy Vidlik" [Countdown] - a real discussion with rigorous moderation and fact-checking, which is broadcast on the TV channels "UA:First", "UA:Culture", on regional channels of NPBC and Ukrainian radio: as of today, 9 presidential candidates took part in the four programs of the "Zvorotniy Vidlik" [Countdown]; six programs of this political talk show are expected in total. Also, a series of programs is being broadcast on all three channels of the Ukrainian Radio; this helps the audience to better understand candidates and election rules: fact-checking project "A Seryozno" [And Seriously] and a number of thematic programs on the First Channel, the youth radio series "Politrol" on Radio Promin, "Kultura ne na chasi?" [Culture is not on time?] on Radio "Culture", a series of programs on how people with disabilities can vote, etc.
Manipulation and concealing ratings. The results of surveys by reputable sociological companies - KIIS and "Rating" - are often concealed by TV channels or used selectively to emphasize their favorable tendencies. For example, by concealing the level of support for candidates, in news on "Ukraine", they tell about regions with the largest numbers of people who are uncertain who to vote for. Meanwhile, Inter regularly manipulates "regional ratings" (with the help of information on the level of support for candidates in certain regions, where Yuriy Boyko is in the first place). Inter and "1+1", and more rarely "Ukraine", periodically publish the results of polls of dubious sociological companies that are strikingly different from other surveys. The subject of manipulation is "a chance to get to the second round" for Yuriy Boyko, Oleh Lyashko or Oleksandr Vilkul, and the second place given to Yulia Tymoshenko in the rating.
Amount of black PR increased. The heart of manipulative, unbalanced negative materials is the TV channel "1+1", which tries hard to discredit Petro Poroshenko. Black PR occurs here in the news and in the "investigation" programs “Hroshi" [Money] and "Ukrayinski Sensatsiyi" [Ukrainian Sensations], where the compromising information is usually not supported by evidence and is not balanced by the other party. A relatively small amount of black PR is exchanged between the former two wings of the Opposition Bloc: in the Akhmetov's media, they argue that the real opposition is Oleksandr Vilkul, and Yuriy Boyko cooperates with the authorities, and in the media of Firtash-Liovochkin they say it vice versa. On the Priamyi TV channel, black PR is concentrated in authorial talk shows, the hosts of which provide opponents of Petro Poroshenko with critical assessments.
Problems with Zelenskyi's publicity. With the approaching election it becomes clear that leader of ratings Volodymyr Zelenskyi avoids open discussions and live broadcast. Video recordings of his incoherent unprepared speeches become a subject for criticism; the candidate does not respond to "calls" to the debate, nor does he come to the scheduled broadcasts on "1+1" and ICTV. Dmytro Razumkov, the main public political technologist of Zelenskyi, explicitly says that the candidate is not interested in "the debate in order just to talk." At the same time Zelenskyi refers to busyness related to "Quarter 95" (tour, shooting, etc.), and also selects formats of prepared PR-interviews which are pre-recorded and which are convenient for him.
Attempts to circumvent the law as a trend of the election campaign. The "1+1" TV channel fills the broadcast with entertaining programs with the participation of Volodymyr Zelenskyi, and the candidate himself concerts with "Quarter 95", making jokes about the opponents from the stage. Formally, this is not agitation: "1+1" explains that Zelenskyi speaks in these shows "as an actor, not as a candidate." And he appeals to Petro Poroshenko, who is shown on television "as the president, and not as a candidate". However, other candidates also often behave in the same way: Yuriy Tymoshenko says that he is Tymoshenko from his birth, and the leader of the Fatherland faction steals his voters. The supporters of Poroshenko and Tymoshenko mention only accusations of falsification and bribing voters against their opponents, while concealing their own violations.
What topics politicians use to promote themselves in television news. Poroshenko uses the revival and success of the army, the achievements of decentralization, growth of the economy, he promises to overcome poverty and to provide additional payments. Tymoshenko uses the promises to lower gas prices, "New Course" (without clarifying the content) and support of young people. Hrytsenko uses the image of an "honest politician" in various aspects, appeals to other candidates to be honest and to enter the debate, as well as the people who he promises to appoint if he is elected. Boyko uses high tariffs, lowering gas prices, the need to end the war at a cost of compromises, promises to support budget workers and restore the economy. Volodymyr Zelenskyi avoids pre-election promises, mostly appearing in scandalous news stories, such as about him being watched and listened, or about the sabotaged concerts of Quarter 95.
Events that have changed the information picture of the last weeks of the campaign: investigation of corruption in "Ukroboronprom", protest rallies of "National brigades", disclosure of "bribery networks" in the organization of which the campaign teams of Petro Poroshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko are accused, the decision of the Constitutional Court to cancel the article of the Criminal Code against illegal enrichment and parliamentary battles because of the law on language. Candidates used these topics for self-promotion, criticizing opponents and consolidating their voters. Some topics look quite virtually, including the language law, which has been discussed for the whole month in the talk shows of TV channels "112" and NewsOne with emphasis on alleged violation of the rights of Russian-speaking Ukrainians.
The "cumulative effect" of withdrawing from election does not work for the media. The refusals of Andriy Sadovyi, Dmytro Dobrodomov, Yevheniy Murayev, Dmytro Hnap and Serhiy Kryvonos to participate in the election, as well as the decision of Serhiy Taruta to support Yulia Tymoshenko, became one-time coverage opportunities that most television channels reported briefly, without expert analysis, often within the framework of PR-digests or PR interviews in the studio (channel "Ukraine"). Anatoliy Hrytsenko failed to position himself in the television space as "the only candidate from democratic forces," and the attention of the central television channels to him has even diminished in recent weeks. Serhiy Kryvonos articulated his motives not very clearly, and not all TV channels reported about his decision to withdraw from the elections as an act of support of Poroshenko. The television news did not pay enough attention to the analysis of the conditions under which the politicians united and the intentions of politicians in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
The results of the first two months of the election campaign and the research methodology (January-February 2019) are available here.
A more detailed weekly review of electoral topics can be found under the Election Detector project.
Candidates in television news
Detector Media summed up the interim results of TV news monitoring by the method of qualitative analysis for the period from February 1 to March 15, 2019. The main newscasts of the following TV channels were surveyed: "Ukraine", Inter, "1+1", ICTV, STB, Channel 5, UA:Pershyi and "112"
By the number of mentions in the news, Petro Poroshenko is the absolute leader among the candidates. In total, there were 295 mentions, 166 of them were positive. The most positive mentions of the current president (61) were on the channel "Ukraine". Twice less (29 and 28) he was mentioned on Inter and ICTV TV channels, and 23 times on STB. Channel 5 positively mentioned its owner Petro Poroshenko 15 times. During this period, there were 15 materials in which Poroshenko was mentioned negatively; 14 of them were on "1+1" and one on ICTV.
Yulia Tymoshenko was mentioned in the analyzed newscasts 182 times, 109 of which were positive and only one was negative (on Channel 5). The champion in the amount of positive mentions of Tymoshenko was also the channel "Ukraine" (35 mentions), a little behind was ICTV (30); she had fewer positive mentions on "Inter" and STB - 21 and 20. Meanwhile, there were only three positive mentions of Tymoshenko on "1+1" for a month and a half, and none on Channel 5, "UA:First" and "112". The reason for this imbalance, first of all, is in the fact that on the first four channels, Tymoshenko appeared mainly in PR-digests - blocks of hidden political advertising and PR in news. In addition, "Ukraine" and ICTV channels occasionally mentioned Tymoshenko in a positive way (5 and 4 times respectively), while on Inter, the number of neutral and positive mentions was the same.
Even more striking is the difference between positive and neutral mentions of Oleksandr Vilkul, who ranked third with 113 appearances in news, 93 of which were positive. The neutral ones were mainly related to Yevheniy Murayev's refusal from further participation in the elections in favor of Vilkul. Most often, Vilkul - who previously worked as a manager of Rinat Akhmetov's enterprise - was receiving publicity from channel "Ukraine": 46 positive mentions and three neutral. Unexpected second place was taken by STB channel: 27 positive mentions and 2 neutral. ICTV had 19 positive and one neutral mention. Other channels did not mention Vilkul positively, and "Inter" had two cases of black PR - materials telling that Vilkul is not real opposition, does not have voters' support, works for the government and should withdraw his candidacy in favor of Yuriy Boyko.
64 out of 86 mentions of Oleh Lyashko were positive. The majority (49) of them was also on channel "Ukraine"; the remaining 15 were on Inter. Other channels did not show Lyashko positively.
Anatoliy Hrytsenko appeared in news 67 times, 37 of which were toned positively. Almost all positive materials about the candidate were published on the channels ICTV and STB (18 and 14). Hrytsenko was shown five times in a positive light on "Ukraine". Other channels did not promote Hrytsenko in the news, although relatively many neutral mentions can be seen on "1+1" (11).
Yuriy Boyko's situation is unique; he is a candidate of one TV channel. Out of the 61 mentions of him, 44 were positive, and all of them were on Inter channel, which belongs to Dmytro Firtash and Serhiy Lyovochkin, fellow party member of Boyko. At the same time, Boyko took second place (5 cases) by the number of negative materials. All of them were on Channel "Ukraine" and tried to persuade the audience that Boyko was not real opposition, that he has lost voters' support and works for the government. ICTV, STB and Channel 5 have not mentioned Boyko even once in the main newscasts for a month and a half.
28 of 49 mentions of Volodymyr Zelenskyi were positive. Expectedly, most of them (21) were on the "1+1" TV channel. Three positive materials about the candidate were shown by STB and ICTV, one by channel "Ukraine". There was one negative material about Zelenskyi on Inter, where the candidate and showman was criticized by Viktor Medvedchuk. Most TV channels avoid not only the mentions of Zelenskyi, but also the publication of the results of sociological surveys, where he ranked first in the candidate support rating. The exception was made by "Inter", where 12 mentions of Zelenskyi were mainly materials about sociological surveys. STB, Channel 5, "112" and "UA:First" did not mention Zelenskyi in their main newscasts for a month and a half.
Andriy Sadovyi was mentioned in the news 26 times before he withdrew his candidacy. 5 of these mentions were positive - once on channel "Ukraine", twice on ICTV and "1+1". Much of the neutral references concerned, in fact, Sadovyi's decision to withdraw his candidacy in favor of Hrytsenko.
In the third tier of candidates, there was a number of examples of how some TV channels deliberately promote politicians who are ignored by all others. Candidate Serhiy Kaplin is in a unique situation: 19 of 20 mentions of him were positive. 18 of them were in the news of "Inter", one on channel "Ukraine". Another neutral mention was on STB; the rest of the channels did not mention him even once. Valentyn Nalyvaichenko was mentioned only positively - 17 mentions, 15 of them were on channel "Ukraine" and two on "Inter". 11 of 13 mentions of Serhiy Taruta, were positive: 5 of them on channel "Ukraine" and 6 on ICTV.
Four out of 15 mentions of Yevheniy Murayev were positive, they all relate to his decision to withdraw from the election in favor of Oleksandr Vilkul; three of them were on channel "Ukraine" and one on ICTV. Instead, Inter devoted two negative materials to Murayev.
11 neutral mentions of Dmytro Hnap were devoted to his decision to withdraw from the election in favor of Anatoliy Hrytsenko and mentions of Yuriy Tymoshenko were devoted to the attempt to bribe him and to the investigation into the sources of financing his campaign.
The candidates who have been mentioned less than 10 times during the one and a half months period include Oleksandr Shevchenko (six mentions, including three positive on "1+1" which belongs to Ihor Kolomoisky, the former employer of Shevchenko) and Olha Bohomolets (mentioned 5 times, two positive were on "Inter").
By the number of materials with signs of advertorial, Petro Poroshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko have practically the same result (109 and 108). Together they account for more than half of the questionable materials found. The most of the materials in favor of Poroshenko were on channel "Ukraine" (48), Inter (20) and ICTV (19), less were on STB (14) and Channel 5 (7), one was on Channel 112. Four materials with signs of advertorial against Poroshenko were recorded on "1+1". The most materials in favor of Tymoshenko were also shown on "Ukraine" (35), followed by ICTV (30), STB (20) and "Inter" (19); the least of them were shown on "1+1" (4).
89 questionable materials in favor of Oleksandr Vilkul came out on three TV channels: "Ukraine" (45), STB (26) and ICTV (18).
The fourth place was taken by Oleh Lyashko with 61 materials that came out on two television channels: "Ukraine" (47) and Inter (14). All forty materials with signs of advertorial in favor of Yuriy Boyko were broadcast on Inter.
Anatoliy Hrytsenko appeared in 35 materials with signs of advertorial, 17 of them were on ICTV, 13 on STB and 5 on channel "Ukraine". Hrytsenko himself claimed in early February that central TV channels "began to open access to him."
Concerning the total number of materials with signs of advertorial, first place belongs to channel "Ukraine" (197 out of 592 recorded materials), but only 110 of them were in favor of presidential candidates. The rest were dedicated to Rinat Akhmetov, Rinat Akhmetov's business, Rinat Akhmetov's colleague Borys Kolesnikov and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, leader of the People's Front. In the second place came "Inter" (169 materials, 121 of them with candidates, making "Inter" the leader of the number of pre-election PR). Then came ICTV (114, 95 of which were with candidates), STB (69 and 67), "1+1" (32 and 29). The least of such materials and messages were recorded in the news on Channel 5 (7 materials in the interests of candidates) and Channel 112 (5, one of them was in the interests of a candidate), no suspicious materials were recorded on "UA:First."
10 most vivid fakes and manipulations
Channel 5 consistently dissolves the investigation of "Nashi Hroshi" [Our Money] regarding the theft from the defense budget. The main theses coincide with the "line of defense" of Petro Poroshenko's supporters: smuggling during the war is normal and practiced around the world, spare parts must be imported at any price, the sources of the investigators are questionable, and the investigation appeared specifically for the election. Eventually, presenter Vitaliy Haidukevych accused Denys Bihus and his team of the fact that the FSB [Russian Federal Security Service] allegedly blocked the ways for the smuggling of spare parts.
Fratricide gore: The channel "1+1" showed the program "Ukrayinski Sensatsiyi" [Ukrainian sensations], in which Petro Poroshenko was accused of a number of mortal sins. In particular, he was accused of theft of billions of hryvnias in written off notes and the fact that he ordered the murder of his own brother. "1+1" claims that every fact was confirmed by evidence and witnesses." Meanwhile, Poroshenko announced his intention to sue "1+1", "1+1" claims that every fact was confirmed by evidence and witnesses.
The second death of Tigrulia: Priamyi channel reported that the white tigress that was a symbol of the election campaign of Yulia Tymoshenko ten years ago died in Yalta from old age. The information was not verified, it was disseminated by bloggers and some online media outlets, stressing that Tymoshenko "did not take care of the animal." At the "Kazka" zoo, Detector Media was informed that Tigrulia is alive and healthy.
Privat-Challenge: the channel "Ukraine" has filmed a series of materials in which presidential candidates promise to investigate the withdrawal of money from Privatbank before its nationalization. Ihor Kolomoiskyi has been accused of "steeling from every Ukrainian". The position of Kolomoiskyi is not presented in the materials.
The faked greeting by Volodymyr Zelensky with the February 23 was spread in social networks, although the fact-checkers immediately proved that it was a fake. Many opinion leaders spread the fake with the motivation "though not true, but it looks like truth." ZIK television channel asked President Petro Poroshenko to comment on these greetings and received general phrases about the need to forget Soviet holidays.
Magicians, numerologists and bookmakers. "1+1" television channel found psychics who called the energy of Petro Poroshenko "devastating" and stated that Yulia Tymoshenko has "a potential for victory". Other channels, including Inter and Channel 24, at the time of the campaign, used odds of bookmakers as one of the ways to measure the chances of candidates to win.
Channels "112", NewsOne and "Inter" spoke during a whole week in the defense of March 8 from the "government." Journalists, politicians and political commentators vigorously discussed the intention to "ban" or to "cancel" the holiday, and the candidates promised to protect it. In fact, the state leadership did not even announce such intentions.
The photo on which Poroshenko "flees from voters" was shared in social networks. The fake was picked up by the Russian media. And even after the falsification was revealed, "1+1" mentioned that Poroshenko "fled from people at rallies".
Channel 112, NewsOne and Inter positioned the meeting between Yuriy Boyko and Viktor Medvedchuk with Russian officials in Moscow as "economic talks in the interests of Ukraine", and they called Boyko and Medvedchuk "Ukrainian side." The channels voiced promises to lower gas prices, when (after Boyko's victory in the presidential election) it will be bought directly from Russia. At the same time, the position of the Ukrainian government, which makes decisions to purchase gas, has been neglected.
The Budapest Memorandum is a "magic wand" that at least three candidates promise to use for achieving the peace and resolving the military conflict in the Donbas. They are Yulia Tymoshenko, Volodymyr Zelenskyi and Ruslan Koshulynskyi. At the same time, journalists - by reporting such their statements - do not raise questions and do not add the necessary background, which would indicate that Ukraine has already tried to use the Budapest Memorandum and that it has not been working.
Informational TV channels
On February 18, Detector Media began monitoring of the primetime of six informational channels: "112 Ukraine", NewsOne, Priamyi channel, Channel 24, Espresso and ZIK. Talk shows, guest studios and authorial programs in the time slots between 19:00 and 23:00 have been analyzed. The main topics of the day/week were chosen for analysis, and therefore the trends are not comprehensive.
The most manipulations during the period between February 18 - March 10 were recorded on the channel "112 Ukraine" (guest studios, mainly "Vechirniy Praim" [Evening prime]), NewsOne (talk show "Epicenter Ukrainskoyi polityky" [Epicenter of Ukrainian politics], "Protystoyannia" [Confrontation] and guest studios) and Priamyi channel (talk show "Priamyi Efir" [Live Stream]). Several manipulations were on Channel 24 (ProNovyny) and ZIK (programs "Jokery" [Jokers], "Vox Populi"). The least manipulations were recorded on "Espresso".
Among the leading manipulators are Vyacheslav Pikhovshek and Vasyl Holovanov (NewsOne), Volodymyr Poluyev ("112 Ukraine"), Mykola Veresen and Svitlana Orlovska (Priamyi channel), Artem Ovdiyenko (Channel 24) and Vasyl Zyma ("Espresso"). On ZIK channel, the role of "journalist" was played by politician Dmytro Spivak. On the background of others, the programs by Yevhen Kyselyov on Priamyi, Serhiy Rakhmanin on ZIK and Vitaly Portnikov on "Espresso" looked much better.
"Television blogs" is one of the main platforms of manipulation. On NewsOne it is "Subyektyvni Pidsumky" [Subjective Results] with politicians (Dmytro Spivak, Yevhen Chervonenko and others) as hosts, on the channel 24 it is "Shcho tse bulo" [What was this] by Serhiy Leshchenko, "Pravo na Hidnist" [The Right to Dignity] by Vitaliy Shabunin, etc. Giving the TV-time to politicians, public figures and political commentators, TV channels do not oblige them to adhere to standards and ethical norms of journalism. The result is a lack of balance of views, non-compliance with the standards of accuracy and completeness, inaccurate quoting of other people, dominance of their own conclusions, assessments, assumptions and generalizations that are presented as facts.
The main topic of the three weeks was theft in "Ukroboronprom". By the number of discussions on the air, it dominated the following other top topics: pre-election "pyramids" of the campaigning teams of both Poroshenko and Tymoshenko; "war" of defense and law enforcement agencies on the side of various top candidates; cancellation by the Constitutional Court of the Criminal Code article on unlawful enrichment; changes to the Constitution regarding the course to the EU and NATO; consideration of the language bill int the Verkhovna Rada; the attempt to bribe Yuriy Tymoshenko and the politicized selection for the Eurovision Song Contest.
The main manipulative techniques used on informational TV channels
Biased choice of guests. Channels choose "comfortable" guests to participate in the talk shows in order to let them voice the propaganda theses needed by the channel or the propaganda/counter-agitation desired by the channel. For example, Yuriy Hrymchak, the Deputy Minister for Occupied Territories, who advocates President Poroshenko on the air of Priamyi and "Espresso", or political commentator Vadym Karasyov who acts as an opponent of the current president and government on the air of the 112 Ukraine Channel or Vasyl Nimchenko, Medvedchuk's deputy in the "Ukrainian Choice", on the air of NewsOne channel.
Unbalanced groups of guests on talk shows. Usually on big talk shows, most of the guests (and sometimes all of them) represent positions of one party to the conflict. Those who represent the other party, firstly, are in an obvious minority, and secondly, are often represented by non-key, secondary representatives of this party.
Depriving opponents of a full opportunity to express their views on the talk show. To simulate the balance on the talk show, guests who are trying to oppose the "main line" drawn by the hosts with the help of most of the other guests are invited, but the host and other guests do not give them the opportunity to speak fully. They are shouted down and deprived of the right to speak (the same way it is done on Russian propaganda TV shows). For example, on March 7, in "Priamyi Efir" [Live Stream] on the Priamyi Channel, Mykola Veresen - with the help of other guests - did not allow the ex-deputy from the Fatherland faction Andriy Pavlovskyi (who advocated Yulia Tymoshenko and Fatherland party) to speak. Or on March 8, in the talk show "Protystoyannia" [Confrontation] on the NewsOne channel, Vasyl Holovanov and other guests did not allow the political scientist Volodymyr Tsybulko (who advocated candidate Yuriy Tymoshenko and the current government) to speak.
Substitution of the competence of the programs' participants. On the channels, politicians act as experts (for example, Taras Chornovil on Priayi) or hosts (Yevhen Chervonenko on NewsOne), or journalists (Dmytro Spivak on the ZIK channel), or political technologists acting as political analysts (for example, Oleksandr Paliy or Ruslan Bortnyk), or journalists acting as newsmakers (for example, Dmytro Hordon on "112 Ukraine") or experts (for example, Andriy Palchevskyi on NewsOne).
Lack of attempts to balance accusations. In the studio interviews and in the talk shows of various TV channels, the guests voice not only criticism of their political opponents, but also sometimes quite specific accusations of crimes, while the accused are not represented in the show. Usually, the host does not resort to any of the available ways of maintaining the balance of opinion. For example, on March 4, journalist Volodymyr Boyko accused the head of NABU Artem Sytnyk in "Epicenter Ukrainskoyi polityky" [Epicenter of Ukrainian politics] (Channel NewsOne) of arresting Deputy Minister of Defense Pavlovskyi for a 200,000 USD bribe from his rivals. Or on March 2, in the talk-show "Vybory-2019" [Elections-2019] (Priamyi), Volodymyr Kurennoy, People's Deputy from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, accused Denys Bigus of having close relatives working in Russian special services and being close to Putin.
Absence of quality backgrounds of the guests. For example, in the broadcasts of the "112 Ukraine" Channel, Oleksandr Lavrynovych criticized the current government from the point of view of morality, while the hosts did not mention that Mr. Lavrynovych was Justice Minister and chairman of the High Council of Justice under President Yanukovych, it means that he legally secured numerous economic and criminal offence of that government.
"Convenient" question to the "right" guests. The hosts ask the guests (sometimes as if on behalf of the viewers) a "comfortable" question. As, for example, on February 19, Diana Panchenko asked her guest Volodymyr Lytvyn in the "Velykyi Vechir" [Great Evening] (NewsOne channel). Or on March 6, Natalia Vlaschenko in the "Hard" program (ZIK) asked her guest Igor Smeshko. The most prominent in this context was the participation of Hladkovsky Senior in the program Vox Populi on ZIK channel.
Manipulative questions, in which the hosts "hide" the "correct" assessment or a direct hint for the guest. As, for example, on March 4, Pikhovshek did in the question to the guest - a war veteran: "We have a question about Ukraine's course to NATO membership. <...> How popular is this idea among the officers you represent, officers you previously served with? Do you understand that they want to make out of us a change coin instead of a banknote in this geopolitical game?"
Agitation/counter-agitation on air. On the air of three TV channels ("112 Ukraine", NewsOne, Priamyi), guests of the programs often directly or indirectly agitate for certain candidates or against certain candidates. The hosts often allow them to do this, do not interrupt and not warn about the illegality of such agitation/counter-agitation.
Substitution of the main thesis with a minor one. An illustrative example made the actualization of a secondary circumstance in the topic of the theft in "Ukroboronprom" on channels and in programs that try to advocate President Poroshenko. The hosts and the guests of Priamyi and, for example, of "Velykyi Efir" [Big Air] on "Espresso" tried to pay their main attention to justification of the need for the smuggling of spare parts from Russia, pushing the theft from the budget to the back. The hosts and the guests of Priamyi channel and, for example, of "Velykyi Efir" [Big Air] on "Espresso" tried to pay their main attention to justification of the need for the smuggling of spare parts from Russia, thereby pushing to the back the main accusation by "Nashi Hroshi" [Our Money] that multi-million amounts have been stolen from the defense sector thanks to corruption schemes of Hladkovskyi-senior, the person being very close to the president. Or, on the "NewsOne" channel in the topic of "political repressions" against Viktor Medvedchuk and journalists Volodymyr Skachko and Ruslan Kotsaba, the thesis of "persecution for criticism of the present government" was obvious, and it replaced the essence of true accusations, which is statements related to encroachment on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state, or on its defense capability (for example, the calls by Kotsaba to boycott mobilization to the Armed Forces in 2015).
Unauthorized subjective conclusions and assessments of the hosts and authors. This is a very common way of manipulating the opinion of the audience. Hosts and journalists express their opinions in materials, not denoting them as their own and as opinions (i.e. without using such simple markers as "I believe", "in my opinion", "it seems to me", etc.). Therefore, the subjective opinions of journalists sound either as a fact or as a universal truth. A striking example: "If the Hladkovskyis are the nits that drank blood from the defense budget of Ukraine, then all our law-enforcement officers are even smaller, even more disgusting nits who drank blood from the nits which are the Hladkovskyis". (Artem Ovdiyenko, ProNovyny, Channel 24, March 12). The most illustrative is that the hosts of "112 Ukraine" channel, when starting the "Vechirniy Praim" [Evening Prime], say that they "will not draw conclusions, as you must do them by yourself," and then make a large number of these unauthorized conclusions.
Emotional arguments instead of logical ones. Like, for example, Pikhovshek (NewsOne) on March 4:
"Unfortunately, there is such a situation in which society, to a certain extent, even loses the sense of pain, you know. Sensitivity is lost. Every day we are told of scandals, scandals, scandals, theft, theft, theft. And imagine that this is just an ordinary person that it is constantly listening to this, that in the top are only the corrupt people, and all the media say synchronously that the country is in war. And at the same time they steal, steal, steal. And it does not end there".
Or Artem Ovdiyenko, ProNovyny, (Channel 24) on March 4:
"And this scheme is no different from the sale of rotten meat to the army at a triple price. Absolutely everything is the same. And that this rotten meat is brought in smuggling from Russia - how can it become a mitigating factor? By no means!"
Or Orlovska (Pryiamyi channel) on February 20:
"I also want that we all wear Louis Vuitton figuratively. Everyone wants to eat black and red caviar, but about the comfort in the country where we have a war in the east. Is it true that in all other regions - Vinnytsia, Kyiv, Kharkiv and so on - they hear the shots; they do not go to the cinema; they do not go to restaurants; they have empty refrigerators? Is this not also provided by the authorities? International Arena. Given that we actually are with a bare ass, such achievements in the international arena which our MPs achieve at PACE and everywhere, they deserve an applause and everyone always applauds them. That is what I think about the positive and about what is happening, and you all want to simply bad mouth and destroy this electoral process. "
Or Mykola Veresen, "Priamyi Efir [Live Stream], Priamyi channel, March 12:
"These all NABU, presidents, prime ministers, the Verkhovna Rada, they do not fall from the sky, they do not come by any special buses, airplanes. They are Ukrainians, and they come to their offices from the Ukrainian environment. A the Ukrainian environment was spoiled in the 90's, 2000's, 2010's by all the presidents, well, maybe not by all, and by this society that tolerates it."
Manipulative citation. When the hosts provide a clipped opinion of another person, changing the contents of what was said; or when they quote an opinion which was expressed in relation to one context in a different context. For example, on the Priamyi Channel on February 18, the citation of Angela Merkel's speech at the Munich Security Conference was taken from one context and placed in a different one, therefore, it sounded as if Merkel would support Poroshenko as a presidential candidate (in fact, the full statement was that Germany supported Ukraine, but North Stream-2 is also important for Germany). Or, on February 26, the host of "Priamyi Efir [Live Stream], quoted the Article 111 of the Constitution of Ukraine, stating that the only reason for impeachment could be the commission of a state treason by the president, concealing the phrase "or another crime". Or on February 28, on "112 Ukraine" channel, telling about the beginning of the consideration of the language bill in the Verkhovna Rada, the host quoted the words of Hungarian Foreign Ministry Szijjártó which he said a day before and which were related to a different Ukrainian law - on education. And in the talk show "Priamyi Efir [Live Stream], on the Priamyi channel, Svitlana Orlovska quoted the answer of Bihus concerning the broadcast time of Nashi Hroshi" [Our Money] investigation as follows: "He was asked why exactly now, is it specifically for the election? ... And he said: it depended on the readiness, and did you want it to come out a week before the vote? " In fact, Bihus said in the "Pravo na vladu" [Right to power] program on "1+1" as follows: "In general, I can imagine what would have happened if we would have worked on it for another two weeks and broadcast it 3 weeks before the election. Then it would probably have been much fun. But no. As soon it was ready, it was on air."
Manipulating sociology from dubious companies. On March 4, on the NewsOne channel, Holovanov quoted data of an alleged joint survey by the "Institute for Analysis and Forecasting" together with the analytical group "Socioprognoz" which clearly overestimated the indicators of Yulia Tymoshenko and the "Opposition Platform - For Life". Or, for example, on Channel 24, on March 1, the data of a sociological survey by the Lviv agency "Fama" which is close to Sadovy was provided. On March 13, in the "Pidsumky" [Final Results] program on the Priamyi Channel, the host Yevhen Kyseliov (with all due respect), manipulatively presented data of the survey by Socis group:
“The latest data of the respected Socis group were published; this is one of those Ukrainian sociological organizations which have the most reliable reputation, which, as said, have repeatedly confirmed this reputation in the past with quite accurate surveys and exit polls conducted directly on the days of voting at the exits from polling stations during presidential, parliamentary, local elections. "
(Socis together with Social Monitoring in 2004 in the second round of the presidential election with a scandal left the consortium of sociologists and published rigged data of exit polls, according to which Yanukovych won allegedly.)
In addition, the program presented not only rating of voting data, but also data on respondents' answers to the following manipulative question by Socis sociologists: "Who do you think, will win the presidential election?". According to this survey, Poroshenko leads, of course.
The Journalistic Ethics Commission announced on March 18 a public condemnation of the Priamyi Channel for reporting on sociological surveys of the Socis group, KIIS and the Razumkov Center on January 31, 2019. The Journalistic Ethics Commission emphasized, in particular, that information about the results of sociological surveys was presented in a biased way and with obvious advantage for the candidate Petro Poroshenko, while candidate Volodymyr Zelenskyi was portrayed only in negative light.
Manipulating backgrounds. This is when a historical event is presented as an example that has to confirm a certain opinion. Thus, in "Priamyi Efir" [Live Stream] program on February 20 and March 13, the host Svitlana Orlovska in order to justify the fact that the investigation of the General Prosecutor's Office lasts so long, provided an example of Lithuania, where in 2016, the investigation transferred to the court materials on the attempt of the Soviet military to overthrow the elected government of Lithuania in 1991. In fact, this example, on the contrary, shows how the investigation may be delayed for decades due to the lack of political will, because such a long investigation of this case deputy chairman of the Sejm Committee of Lithuania, Arvydas Anušauskas, explained in an interview to Radio Liberty on March 4, 2016, as follows: "We did not think that effectuation of justice would last so long that those who committed the crimes would find refuge in Russia. Russia in no way wants to cooperate in the effectuation of this justice. <...> Part of the judges, prosecutors have now left the rails of inertia, and previously the case was actually put into free flow: a request was formally written to Russia for provision of an opportunity to interrogate the accused, a reply was received that there was no such opportunity, a year later, the same request was repeated. Now this inertia was overcome, our bodies began to act more actively. Some of the heads have changed, those wo let this case flow freely."
Summarizing separate facts to the level of trends. On February 23, Pikhovshek told the story of a household fight when Dmytro Yarosh's guard shot at a taxi driver in Kamianske in 2017 as an example to generalize that in Ukraine, people are persecuted up to use of force for speaking Russian.
Opinions repeated multiple times. For example, Priamyi repeatedly called the investigation of "Nashi Hroshi" [Our Money] an election technology, or told about Yuriy Tymoshenko's constitutional right to run for president.
Intonations, gestures and facial expressions. It is clear that this is shows by the picture only, but nevertheless. Hosts very often express their attitude to the words with disrespectful or mocking intonation, facial expressions or gestures.
Perception of information space by audience of TV channels
In February 2019, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, commissioned by Detective Media, carried out an all-Ukrainian sociological survey on the views and opinions of adult Ukrainians (aged 18 and over) that studied the use of mass media, media literacy of the population and Russian propaganda. 2,042 interviews were conducted with respondents who live in 110 settlements in Ukraine. The statistical error (with a probability of 0.95 and with a design effect of 1.5) did not exceed: 3.3% for indicators close to 50%; 2.8% for indicators close to 25 or 75%, 2.0% for indicators close to 12 or 88%, 1.4% for indicators close to 5 or 95%, 0.7% for indicators close to 1 or 99%.
As the study showed, there is a general lack of understanding among the population as to which politicians are being promoted by which channels - most respondents cannot relate the politicians with certain channels. Relatively to the most "pronounced" is the understanding that "1+1" promotes Volodymyr Zelenskyi - this opinion is expressed by 24% of respondents. Further 21% of respondents believe that Channel 5 promotes Petro Poroshenko, 11% believe that Inter promotes Yuriy Boyko. In other cases, the percentages are lower.
In the table below, the figures provided relate not to the general population but for those who are watching the channel. Even among viewers of the channel, most cannot say who the channel is promoting (although the certainty on this issue is still slightly higher than that of the general population).
Which politicians, in your opinion, are promoted by TV channels?
(% of respondents who rank the corresponding channel to the top 5 they watch most)
Russian talk shows
During the period between January 14 and March 17, Russian talk shows monitored by Detector Media ("Time Will Show", "Evening with Vladimir Solovyov", "Vesti Nedeli with Dmitriy Kiselev") devoted large-scale broadcast units to Ukrainian topics in more than half of the broadcasts - 109/183 programs (60%)
In programs devoted to Ukraine, three messages are most often imposed:
Ukraine is under the external control of the West (74/109, 68%),
Nazism flourishes in Ukraine (70/109, 64%),
Ukrainian election will be rigged (60/109, 55%).
In the context of the latter, there are regular calls not to recognize the election. Other popular theses are the civil war, the constitutional coup during the Revolution of Dignity, the stories of the repressive regime and the restriction of freedom of speech in Ukraine.
Interesting is the attitude of Russian television - to humiliate the Ukrainian authorities, but to praise the people. Hosts and guests regularly joke about alcoholism and obesity of Poroshenko, Zelenskyi's dependence on Kolomoisky, a general low intellectual level of politicians, about total lies, corruption, treason and the Nazism of the Ukrainian elites But then the hosts immediately clarify that it is just about the government, but the Ukrainian people are hard-working and good people. The thesis of the "fraternal people" sounded in 28% of the programs. At the same time, the army and activists - vice versa - are dehumanized, by calling them Nazis and "Banderites' offspring".
The TV shows also focus on Russophobia and splits in Ukraine, as if the "Galicians" impose their Bandera in the whole country and suppress "Russian" historical memory and everyone who disagrees.
Various coverage opportunities are also used regularly to emphasize that the occupied part of the Donbas will never return to Ukraine. Ukraine declares its will to be with NATO, Ukraine adopts language legislation - the Donbas will not return to such a country. Ukraine elects the president - he is not elected by the people of the occupied territories. There are often stories about the punishers who went to kill the people in the East in 2014. Talk shows do everything to make the residents of the occupied territories hate Ukraine.
On Russian shows, they regularly call to attack Ukraine, to return the "primordial Russian" lands of the South and East, to "denazify Kyiv". Few quotes: "This is our people, and we must liberate it using all the possible methods.”, “We must, sooner or later, overthrow this regime with the hands of the Ukrainians themselves. If this does not work out, then the south, southeast of Ukraine should move away from the Galicia and join Russia. This is our primordial land”, “We will not give up the Russian land. Up to Poland [...] Up to Odesa!”
The Russian television regularly uses "Ukrainian" experts in three ways. Firstly, as whipping boys. The "expert" promotes hypertrophic pseudo-national statements, and the hosts and other guests publicly win in disputes with him, thus, contradicting the position of Ukraine and exposing its defenders as silly. Secondly, "Ukrainians" may simply plausibly lie about Ukraine: former Ukrainian journalist Yanina Sokolovska said that there are NATO bases in Ukraine, and the West offered Ukraine to get rid of the "ballast of Crimea and the Donbas". Thirdly, there are "former Ukrainians" who left the country after the Maidan and are now telling about the horrors of Nazism, censorship and assassinations of differently-minded people. For example, Yuriy Kot.
Russian television does not support any of the candidates and praises none of them except for Yuriy Boyko. His name is from time to time referred to by "Ukrainian" experts, when telling about the prospective peaceful initiatives of the ex-regional.
About Detector Media NGO monitoring methodology
Non-governmental organization Detector Media surveys TV content using two types of analysis methodologies: qualitative and qualitative-quantitative.
1. Monitoring, based on qualitative analysis, is carried out continuously; the results are published weekly in the form of analytical reviews. In such a way, we analyze:
- main newscasts (prime time) of central TV channels (Ukraine, 1+1, Inter, ICTV, STB, Channel 5, UA: First and Channel "112")
- the summarizing weekly newscasts on the TV channels "Ukraine", "1+1", Inter, ICTV, ZIK and Channel 5;
- Political talk shows "Svoboda Slova" [Freedom of speech] (ІСТV), "Pravo na Vladu" [Right to Power] (1+1), "Puls" [Pulse] (Channel 112), "Ukrayinskyi Format" [Ukrainian Format] (NewsOne), "Narod Proty" [People Are Against] (ZIK), "Echo Ukrainy" [Echo of Ukraine] (Pryiamyi);
- nbsp; violation of standards and manipulation in coverage of the main topics of the week in the prime time (19:00 - 23:00) of information TV channels: "112 Ukraine", NewsOne, Priamyi, ZIK, Channel 24 and "Espresso".
- nbsp; coverage of Ukrainian topics in political talk shows on Russian TV channels.
Once every two months, we also publish analytical reports on:
- coverage of Ukrainian subjects in various Russian mass media, including printed media;
- the penetration of Russian propaganda into Ukrainian media.
The subject of the Ukrainian TV channels content survey is gross violations of standards, materials with signs of advertorials, the so-called materials of official nature, that is, protocol coverage of official events without informational reasons; manipulations, misinformation, and concealing important facts and comments. Concerning news, we also record many other parameters in the database: compliance with all standards, geography of coverage, mentioning of candidates, tone, presence of expert opinion, etc. Following the results of the election campaign, Detector Media NGO will provide a detailed analysis of the news according to various parameters.
Based on the analysis of the informational content of Ukrainian TV channels, every week, we prepare an operational analytical summary – "Election Detector". In it, in addition to the monitoring results, we take into account the observations of our analysts over the media space of Ukraine and Russia in various formats. We accumulate all the main events taking place in the information space in connection with the elections in these summaries.
The expert team of the Monitoring and Analytical Center of Detector Media NGO: Otar Dovzhenko, Zoya Krasovska, Yaroslav Zubchenko, Maryna Dovzhenko and Oleksandr Krumin.
2. Detector Media NGO (formerly Telekrytyka NGO) has been conducting quantitative-qualitative surveys of compliance with standards in TV news since 2003 with different periodicity. Since 2017, the study has been conducted during one week every three months. The author of the research is Ihor Kulias. Detailed results can be found in the "Monitoring/Daily TV news" section on the MediaSapiens website. All reports of this type of monitoring come out under the general title "What the news was silent about...".
Monitoring of TV news - which is based on qualitative-quantitative analysis - is a deep and thorough research that reveals signs of advertorial and censorship, as well as cases of concealing important information for the public.
The two types of methodology used for assessing compliance with the standards in the monitoring of Detector Media NGO are based on six basic standards of journalism: promptness, balance of opinions, separation of facts from comments, reliability (references to sources), accuracy and completeness. The peculiarities of the application of these standards for various television content genres are detailed in the "Monitoring Methodology" by Ihor Kulias and Otar Dovzhenko.