The Medium Is The Madness

Screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.

What's that sound you hear? If it's a Kinzhal hypersonic aeroballistic missile Russia says it used to destroy a target in Ukraine the other day, it was traveling at a speed of Mach 5 or greater, and you probably wouldn't have heard it until it was too late.

Still its sound has reverberated through the media in the past couple of days, generating megatons of impressions, accelerating Putin's favorite method of military engagement: weaponized media.

"Putin intends to make the world listen to and understand our concerns," the Russian president's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said after CNN's Christiane Amanpour asked him about his threats of potentially using nuclear weapons as part of his military campaign in Ukraine.

"We've been trying to convey our concerns to the world -- to Europe, to the United States -- for a couple of decades, but no one would listen to us," he continued, going to spin how Ukraine has been threatening the security of Russia, and why that might justify nuclear war.

"If it is an existential threat for our country, then it can be used," Peskov said.

The reality is that Putin has become Russia's greatest existential threat, because by escalating the military conflict, and the unthinkable rhetoric, he is moving the world closer to an actual nuclear conflict, which won't end well for anyone, including Russia.

In other words, he's either a mad man or a genius, because he knows that nuclear weapons may be the most powerful medium ever created.

And that medium has literally been MAD -- mutually assured destruction -- keeping the peace for more than 77 years, because nobody would be mad enough to initiate a war that isn't winnable.

At least that was the thinking until a new class of less powerful, "tactical" battlefield nuclear weapons was developed, and Russia changed its military doctrine to factor for their use in situations when it couldn't win without them.

The problem with that doctrine, is nobody understands what it will escalate to, and when that escalation will stop.

So either Putin is playing the ultimate game of chicken and is using conventional media to convey it, or he actually has become an existential threat -- for Russia, and everyone else.

You may ask why I would draw an analogy of nuclear weapons with media.

Aside from my own belief that everything humans make is media, it comes from a conversation I had with David Verklin when he was running Carat.

"You know Joe, we're just in the conveyance business," he told me. "We plan and buy media to convey messages."

If that's true, so are nuclear missiles. It's just that the message they convey -- their payload -- is on a very different scale.

Now everybody -

2 comments about "The Medium Is The Madness".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 24, 2022 at 8:39 a.m.

    Joe, the likely outcome of this disasterous fiasco will be the end of Putin and his currupt mob. Let's hope that the next ones to take over learn a lesson from Putin's failure.

  2. David Scardino from TV & Film Content Development replied, March 24, 2022 at 10:56 a.m.

    Ed, from your lips to God's ear. I pray you're right (though I find it difficult to be optimistic).

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