Causal Attribution. Where the Tagliavini report plays in the hands of Russia.
According to Entmann, framing essentially involves selection and salience. To frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text, in such way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation for the item described.[..] Frames, then, define problems – determine what a causal agent is doing with what costs and benefits, usually measured in terms of common cultural values; diagnose causes – identify the forces creating the problem, make moral judgements – evaluate causal agents and their effects, and suggests remedies – offer and justify treatments for the problems and predict their likely effects.
Framing divert attention to certain aspects of the matter too. This brings us to the next level: Causal attribution. Simplified this can be illustrated by Iengard’s study Framing Responsibility for Political Issues:The Case of Poverty. He shows that attitudes for a large portion is created by media framing. The context in which political questions are presented has a significant impact on how people think about them, and how much guilt they attribute to the involved. To be held accountable for a result is largely the same as being the cause of the result.
So when media, in it’s limited formats shouts out with their five words headings that “Georgia started the war”, and leaves out the fact that Russia was creating the pretext of the conflict by numerous provocations, handing out passports to the rebel-republics population on Georgian territory, arming them, sending troops into the republics and so on; the public will attribute responsibility for the war to Georgia, which is, I think most will agree, to stretch the reality a bit far and absolutely wrong, if you read the report and it’s conclusions.
The report therefore should have focused on “what was the reason for the war”, rather than “who started it”. Then the picture would have become more complicated, but still more just. Georgia maybe fired first, and to protect Georgian citizens, but that was in reality a minor part of a largely complex picture. Sooner or later Georgia would be forced to defend itself, and what Russia was after was to replace Saakashvili and to secure an unacceptable sphere of influence in the old soviet territories against NATO expansion. For months they have prepared for this war, analytics like Ilarionov, and the report states clearly.
This is too complexed for the media, which need to simplify their stories and framing. The outfall is: Georgia started the war, Georgia is to blame. Which maybe was the aim for the report, because it is unthinkable that the report would have blamed Russia, as it rightfully should, given the pretext and the political consequences for EU.