Ex-Red Newsman Hits ‘Negativism’

Category:  Historical reprints
Source:  The Spokesman-Review, November 8, 1984

Ex-Red Newsman Hits ‘Negativism’

By Tim Hansen, Staff writer

Americans shouldn’t believe newspaper and television stories that offer “intense negativism” about the United States, a former employee of the Soviet news agen­cy Novosti said Wednesday.

“Articles can be constructive or destructive,” said Tomas Schuman.  “Many articles are too pessimistic for the moral fiber of this country.  Some negativism is unhealthy and some is the result of Soviet propa­ganda.”

Schuman, 45, is on a speaking tour arranged by American Opinion Speakers Bureau, a branch of the John Birch Society.  He was in town to speak Wednesday night at Garfield Elementary School.

According to a John Birch Soci­ety press release, Schuman was born near Moscow, graduated from Moscow State University and went to work for Novosti, a Soviet news agency.

Schuman defected to the West in 1970 while working at the Soviet embassy in New Delhi, India, the release says.  He now is a Canadian citizen living in Los Angeles as the guest of a friend, he said.

In addition to handling news, No­vosti was a “huge public relations agency” that did its best to show pleasant aspects of the Soviet Un­ion to foreign visitors, he said.

While in India, Schuman said, it was part of his job to manipulate Indian journalists so that positive information about the Soviet Union or stories designed to promote a So­viet point of view would be published.

In the United States, he said, half of the negativism is encouraged by the Soviets.

“I’m trying to tell people how the process of disinformation affects their day-to-day life and how to recognize false stories and what to do about it,” Schuman said.  “They should not believe the intense nega­tivism about this country.

“This is the best system — may­be not the perfect one — but let’s face it; it’s the best.  And when the normal person reads bad things about this country and good things about Cuba, Nicaragua and the So­viet Union, it’s a lie.”

He said it’s a “question of bal­ance” of news in the media.

“If day after day the average cit­izen is exposed to negative reports about this country, subconsciously he feels bad about this country, Schuman said.

Part of Novosti’s role was to con­coct phrases such as right-wing death squads and national liber­ation movement, he said.

“These are highly trained psy­chologists who coin these phrases.” Schuman said.  “Take national liberation movement.  They are not nationalistic, they don’t liberate anyone and they are not movements … they’re nothing but a bunch of professional murderers trained in my country.”

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