Today's Story Line

The tragic unfolding story about Russia's crew members aboard the sunken nuclear submarine brings many back to cold-war days, when officials routinely released misleading information. But Russians have been led to believe their system is changing, and they're now lashing out at the new leadership for its old ways.

Faye Bowers Deputy world editor


*BEWARE THE MAN ON THE STREET: The Monitor's Howard LaFranchi, on assignment in Chiapas, Mexico, says that while reporting today's story on the governor's race, he had trouble finding a "man in the street" supporting the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party's candidate. "Finally I saw a guy wearing a T-shirt with the name and slogan of the PRI candidate," Howard says, "so I asked him for his opinion, and he said, 'The truth is, I bought this T-shirt from someone who didn't want it. If the candidate had given it to me, I might be for him!' "

*DECODING SPIN: Weeding fact from fiction is often half of a journalist's job, and Moscow bureau chief Scott Peterson has found it all-consuming while covering the submarine crisis in Russia. He has seen his share of "official" spin: He remembers one day in 1993, when American forces in Somalia changed their story three times in two hours about why US helicopters had killed Somali women and children in one operation. And as Mideast correspondent for four years, he had to tread carefully through the fables spun endlessly from Baghdad and Beirut to Israel and the Pentagon. "At least in the Mideast, most of the 'spin' has a recognizable purpose," Scott says, comparing posts. "But in Russia, the propaganda does not seem that way at all - asking why one 'official' contradicts another 'official' source doesn't get you very far. It's just part of the political landscape."

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