The last few weeks have seen media attention like never before around a single word that historically refers to an emission of wind from the anus.
The Trump storm that has engulfed the media has actually been good news for the incoming president, playing in to the hands of his “shock and awe” campaign to destabilise Congress while reassuring his base that he would follow through on his campaign commitments.
But it has also provided a similar boon to his allies across the Atlantic (or Pacific, depending on which coast he is closer to).
In the week President Trump was inaugurated and carried out on several of his most controversial election promises, Russian conservative lawmakers have followed through on Vladimir Putin’s assertion that domestic violence laws “harm families.” A bill to soften the punishment for domestic violence is set get the stamp of approval by the parliament’s upper house before being signed into law.
Indeed, so great is the appetite for a softening of the laws governing domestic abuse that the Russian parliament voted 380-3 to decriminalise domestic violence. The bill will apply to cases where confrontations do not cause “substantial bodily harm” and do not occur more than once a year. A violation of these new relaxed laws results in a measly fine of roughly $500, or a 15-day community service, provided there is no repeat within 12 months.
It is a not uncommon tactic for such moves to be made in a time when the media is otherwise occupied. Back in November when the US election dominated the national press Richard Branson bought up the biggest chunk of our NHS to date, putting three statutory services – adult social care, continuing healthcare, and children’s community health – in the hands of a profit-seeking company.
It’s cover-ups like this that is why we will continue to put up a fight in the age of misinformation.