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‘They seem so like us’: In depicting Ukraine’s plight, some in media use offensive comparisons

By Sarah Ellison and Travis M. Andrews

27 Feb 2022 · 4 min read

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shocked the world as the largest cross-border European conflict in decades. But some observers see a troubling tone creeping into how some media outlets have attempted to contextualize it, describing Ukraine as more “civilized” than other countries, such as Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria.

In one notable CBS News segment, senior foreign correspondent Charlie D’Agata, reporting from Kyiv, said Friday that Ukraine “isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilized, relatively European — I have to choose those words carefully, too — city, where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen.”

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