Flip The Bird at Barack Obama, and You May Get Fired. Even in Russia…

This clip has become so popular among Obama haters here in the U.S. that I had to find one that was thoroughly untainted by their huzzahs and hallelujahs.

Journalist Tatyana Limanova, one of Russia’s most popular and respected broadcasters, has learned the hard way about free-expressing her dislike of President Obama while doing her job.  From Politic365:

Tatyana Limanova, an award winning journalist on Russia’s REN TV, was fired last week for flipping her middle finger at Barack Obama. Yes: literally.

While reading about the Asian economic conference she flipped her finger right as she read Barack Obama’s name. This occurred while she was reading through information for a voiceover so it was clear that Limanova didn’t expect to be caught on camera.

But, somehow the video got out. And in this digital world she was being introduced to the world audience in a way that she probably never intended. Initially, REN TV spokespersons tried to say that she was actually flipping off the producers of the segment because she was mad they were screwing with her timing. But, when the collective laughter died down from that excuse they finally fired her.

Funny thing is this president just can’t attract enough vulgar gestures and epithets from talking heads, reporters and elected officials caught on tape keeping it real.  From Rep. Joe Wilson’s (R-SC) “You Lie!” moment to MSNBC’s Mark Halperin calling him a Dick … Cheney, it seems like it’s gone global now.

The moral of the story? Tatyana should apply for a job at FOX News. You can get away with saying or doing just about anything negative about Obama and you’ll probably get your own show out of it.

I think it’s hilarious that this broad tried to recover by saying that she was (1) actually signaling to her control booth to raise the autocue; and then when that excuse didn’t take, said that (2) she was only doing a voice-over and she thought she was not going to be recorded. Lastly, she said that (3) people couldn’t take a joke.  Yeah, right.   Always that one.  Dr. Jason Johnson, a political pundit who’s been invited to certain TV and cable news programs and panels, wrote that he’s learned how to act accordingly (and thus gets invited back) no matter what, guided by the following:

1.) That the moment you enter the studio everything you do is possibly recorded; and

2.) Be on your best behavior because of rule #1.

Ms. Limanova may be trusted and popular, and she may have a lot of sympathy from her countrypeople because of this debacle.  But perhaps, she may not have been perceived as popular among her co-workers or even higher-ups.  This is just such a thing that is put on social media to embarrass the boss for her overstepping on other previous occasions.

Thing is, though, this didn’t stay among a disgruntled group of employees, but went all over the flipping world, and the world is definitely smaller these days since the advent of You Tube and Twitter.  Add to this that Russia has its own problems around African Russians and other minorities of color in its midst.  It also has an ugly, xenophobic, right-wing racist movement that suggests that these people aren’t really Russians and are taking jobs and services away from “real,” white Russians in a difficult economic environment where the oligarchs hold the power and the money.  Black Russians fight to have fully recognized rights as Russians in their adopted country, and even to hold elective office as I have reported before on this blog.

Here is where the insult to President Obama gets personal for these minorities, and has drawbacks for Russia’s internal and foreign relations elsewhere.  By comparison, it may be like Mississippi circa 1965 over there for all we know.  And it makes Russia look bad–and racist.

There are other issues involved as well.  This story was written days before Limanova was fired:

REN TV has traditionally been perceived as a more liberal channel in a country where TV content is tightly controlled by the state. But it is now controlled by structures owned by a close ally of Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, and has been criticised for allegedly becoming more slavish to the Kremlin.

The scandal comes at a time when US-Russia relations appear to be getting worse after President Obama’s much-heralded attempt to “reset” them.

The United States has announced it is to stop supplying the Kremlin with regular details about its military presence in Europe in retaliation for a similar Russian move four years ago. Moscow is also frustrated it is not being given a say in NATO’s nascent European missile defence system.

Limanova’s firing could be seen as a way of dialing down a volatile political situation as well, but only by so much.

On November 27, after she was fired, Limanova was interviewed by a U.K. paper.

“The world is unfair,” she told The Daily Telegraph. “I did not consider it necessary to justify myself (at the time) because it was so absurd. You can either take it seriously or view it as a curious incident. Most people in Russia reacted to it with humour.

“I really did not enjoy the celebrity. I am quite a private person and I was happy to remain famous in only narrow professional circles. It was unpleasant.”


Miss Limanova insisted she had no cause to insult Mr Obama. “I have a completely neutral view of him,” she said. She also utterly rejected the idea that her gesture was a sign of anti-Americanism. “Russians do not hate Americans and the Kremlin did not phone me and tell me to do it,” she added, clearly exasperated.

Yeah, “the world is unfair,” Tatyana.  Next?

~ by blksista on December 2, 2011.

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