Analysis of the News “Volodin: America turned into Sodom by legalizing same-sex marriage”

December 2022

As part of the Regional Initiative in Combating Disinformation “Western Balkans Anti-Disinformation Hub: Exposing Malign Influences through Watchdog Journalism”, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

 Volodin: America turned into Sodom by legalizing same-sex marriage

The news reports the statement of Vyacheslav Volodin, the President of the State Duma of Russia, in which he comments on the decision to legalize same-sex marriages at the federal level in the United States of America, where he characterizes this decision and calls it “Sodom” and adds that such a decision will lead to major problems and degeneration of the nation.

Let us remind you that on December 13, the President of the USA, Joe Biden, signed the Respect for Marriage Act, which recognizes the validity of same-sex civil marriages in America.

The subtitle of the news reads “The President of the State Duma said that the path chosen by Washington will lead to the degeneration of the nation as well as to major problems in American society” although it does not say how such a decision leads to degeneration or to what serious problems in society such a decision can lead. He further writes on his Telegram channel about the United States of America as the empire of Sodom. News in which the West is presented as morally corrupt, decadent, hypocritical and as someone who violates family values are frequent in the tabloid media, and often harsh and offensive words are used.

“Biden has signed a law legalizing same-sex marriage at the federal level.” Now in the United States, the concept of marriage as a union between a man and a woman no longer exists. It will not be easy for ordinary families in the empire of Sodom, which the USA has turned into,” Volodin wrote on his Telegram channel.

Although this text does not constitute fake news per se, considering the fact that it conveys the statement of a state official that he shared on his social networks, nevertheless, this kind of news is problematic because it uncritically provides an insight into only one side of the discourse and narrative that comes from Russia or pro-Russian actors. At the same time, the readers of these media are deprived of comments and posts that would offer the other side’s point of view and thus help the readers get a more complete and objective picture of the events. Also, the claims, accusations, and criticisms that come from these news are usually not supported by evidence, nor do they point to the sources of information on the basis of which the conclusions were drawn.

He goes on to say that “all of their (US) propaganda, as well as the creation of additional conditions, is aimed at supporting same-sex marriage” and adds statistical data without referring to the source from which the data was taken. “During the past seven years, their number in the US has increased by almost 2.5 times. Gender affirming surgeries have increased 50 times in the past 10 years. The path chosen by Washington will unequivocally lead to major problems in American society as well as to the degeneration of the nation.”

The problem with this kind of news is that it conveys only one side of the story, as we mentioned earlier. This reporting of the news is not accompanied by an objective analysis of the author, nor is there any explanation of the statements made, or the opportunity to hear the other side. There is no reciprocity, there is the possibility of hearing only the pro-Russian narrative without giving any insight into what the West is saying.

Author: Jovana Bogosavljević