Nearly one month has passed since Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down over the skies of eastern Ukraine, taking the lives of 298 people.
An international investigation is now underway, led by the Netherlands, with members from Ukraine, Malaysia, the United States, Russia and others.
Though the team of investigators examining the crash site have yet to publish their findings and assign culpability to the responsible party, prominent media outlets have obediently toed the line of several Western capitals with reports that all but categorically blame Russia for the aircraft’s demise.
Journalistic and analytical speculation cannot be avoided in such a tragic and geopolitically-charged situation. Media outlets have a responsibility to provide both critical commentary and impartial reporting to their readers, but in the case of MH17, the lack of balance is breathtaking.
Those parties who unreservedly pointed fingers at Moscow in the hours immediately following the disaster have yet to make public any forensic evidence that definitively implicates Russia with providing anti-Kiev militias with the training or hardware needed to take down a commercial airliner.
On the other hand, Russia’s Defense Ministry has made available compelling satellite images and military data that calls the Ukrainian government’s official narrative of events into question. Moscow’s findings have either been laxly underreported or dismissed as propaganda by the West.
US officials, such as Secretary of State John Kerry, made numerous media appearances that were used to argue the Obama administration’s position on MH17, that Moscow had directly trained and equipped rebels in eastern Ukraine who carried out the attack.