The Russian government has found a pretext to cancel FLEX, an exchange program that let Russian teenagers spend several months with American host families and go to a local school. Masha Gessen comments on the deceptive framing of the story by Russian media:
But such is the insidious power of framing: whoever tells the story first controls it. Russian propaganda outlets have this down to a science. They shape the stories, and Western journalists, even those who make a good-faith effort to unpack them, can fall into traps of narrative and terminology.
Journalists have to do something counterintuitive: follow the lead, but insist on disbelieving almost everything about it until it has been proved.
Preach it: “whoever tells the story first controls it… journalists… can fall into traps of narrative and terminology.” It applies to many more cases apart from FLEX.