February 20, 2014 Last Updated 6:54 am

Media’s attention torn between Winter Olympics and Kiev

The world’s media today will be torn between the ongoing Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the escalating violence in Ukraine, and it usual light offerings.

The Guardian and many other newspapers are running live blogs on the situation in Kiev where police snipers are now firing live rounds at protestors.

On the web pages of media outlets, an active battle between commenters is also playing out. Websites like Iran’s English news website PressTV, and Russia’s RT are home to commenters who are claiming that the blame goes solely to the protestors.

“The Ukrainian government should be praised for not buying into the provocations by the NAZIS aka opposition,” writes one commenter posting under the name Ed Camilo. “Now that the opposition has the blood of innocents in its hands and is proven to have killed law enforcers, the government is justified in stopping it.”

Another writes “The trick now is the CIA snipers that are deployed in Ukraine already firing at protesters.”

The NYT, which slowly moderates its comments, has only 9 comments on its website story, but elsewhere stories are gathering an increasingly divisive collection of comments from readers – from full support of the protestors to claims that the protestors are stand-ins for the west and the CIA.

The flood of comments tends to make the situation all the more confusing: who are the protesters, those seeking more democracy, or those undermining it? Is the government reacting to “terrorists” or acting in the interest of the Russian government?

Unfortunately, the media world’s attention is split and little clear analysis is being conveyed to readers. But the events on the ground are leading to a shift: Ukraine is more and more the lead story, with Olympic hockey and skiing seen as of secondary importance when people are dying in the streets.

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