Educator teaches South Burlington students about Ukraine, media bias

A social studies teacher at South Burlington High School is helping ninth-grade students learn about the Russia-Ukraine war, drawing upon her two years of living and teaching in northeastern Ukraine.

In an interview with Vermont Public that aired Friday, Christie Nold shared her experiences of living in the now war-torn country and discussed how she uses that experience to help frame the issues in her classroom for students.

Christie Nold Twitter

Christie Nold is a social studies teacher at South Burlington High School.

“I was finishing up a master’s program at the University of Vermont focused on Holocaust and genocide studies, really looking at post-Soviet countries and how they were grappling with their memory of that time,” Nold told Vermont Public’s Mitch Wertlieb. “And I had spent all of this time deeply engaged in a thesis that I was really excited about. And my professors did a wonderful job feigning excitement about it and ultimately, it felt like a fairly selfish intellectual pursuit.”

Nold said the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine requires a discussion with students that analyzes bias and emphasizes media literacy.

Wertlieb raised the issue of “state-sponsored news out of Russia that purposefully obfuscates their responsibility for the invasion of Ukraine,” and asked Nold if that perspective of the war comes “uncomfortably close to the misinformation coming from American news outlets, like Fox for example, concerning the reporting on the 2020 presidential election here in the U.S.”

Nold replied that all reporting has bias, and so audiences need to learn how to consume media with that in mind.

“A big part of what we talk about is the way in which a story is constructed. And there is no reporting that is free from bias,” Nold said. “We’re bringing our perspectives all the time — however, it’s on us to determine just how much bias a story might be holding.”

The South Burlington High School teacher added that even images of the national leaders have to be analyzed to see what messages are intended, both by the staging of the images and the context in which they are shared with audiences.

“One of the next pieces we looked at were two images, the image of [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky in the streets, with folks around him, and then an image of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin at this very, very large table with his advisers all the way at the end. And what I shared with the students was that neither of these images were taken in a vacuum, it was not related by accident.”

Media narratives in the United States largely frame Russia as the antagonist in a struggle that has involved the two countries for more than a century. However, an example of the nuances in understanding the current conflict can be seen in a recent interview with John McIntyre, an American Army veteran who fought for a year in Ukraine’s Foreign Legion before defecting to Russia.

According to McIntyre, speaking in a March 1 interview with National File, he initially fought with Ukraine to stand up to Russian “Nazis” and “fascists,” but switched sides after concluding those labels better applied to the Ukrainians.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/JBouchez and Christie Nold Twitter

9 thoughts on “Educator teaches South Burlington students about Ukraine, media bias

  1. History is a good read, as long as we understand that the victors in any tribal conflict write the history. When Rome conquered Carthage in the Punic Wars, the Romans killed every Carthaginian they could find, destroyed Carthaginian infrastructure, homes, and libraries, and salted the Carthaginian agricultural fields, in an attempt to erase the Carthaginians from history. They almost succeeded.

    Today’s historians are no different.

    Ukrainian history includes Roman history. And Greek history before Rome. And Persian history when Alexander the Great conquered the western steppes. Ukraine has been a Slavic Baltic Sea frontier sandwiched between great empires for millennium, later on between the Ottoman Turks and the Mongols. Its agricultural prowess became evident in the 1500s and its people were typically enslaved by the ruling elites of various times. By 1900 the local ‘Ukrainian’ nomads had virtually disappeared, a la the Roman method of societal purging. Russia and Poland partitioned the area in the 1700s. Soon after Russia annexed the entire region. And when Germany and Russia started fighting, yes, Ukraine was a toss-up yet again. And if anyone wants to know which tribe, the Germans or the Russians, was the most ruthless, they should read the documentary novel, Babi Yar.

    Of course, Mitch Wertlieb and Vermont Public, for example, wouldn’t be interested in the fact that slavery was prevalent in Ukraine for thousands of years before the 1619 Jamestown colony. Clearly, he was looking to support the usual NPR narrative, that “Fox for example, concerning the reporting on the 2020 presidential election”, was similarly biased. Even when its clear that NPR and Vermont Public, supported with taxpayer funding from the government, is one of the most egregious propaganda machines to ever cover the planet.

    Ukraine only became an independent State through happenstance. As part of the Russian empire, it had oodles of nuclear weaponry placed in its territory. And when the U.S.S.R. collapsed, NATO and the western powers gave Ukraine its first inkling of being an independent State in order to control those weapons. And, today, the give and take continues.

    Again, if you want to learn about the sensibilities of the modern people in the western steppes, read Babi Yar. It seems that Ukraine is no closer to being an independent State than it has ever been. Draw your own conclusions as to whether or not today’s U.S. involvement will change that.

  2. This story is thin, lacking in depth and detail. I studied communication and media bias and expected more. More egregious is the fact that the article reflects her personal bias.

  3. That’s rich, she was in Ukraine to study the holocaust caused by the NAZI’s and now she’s supporting the nazi’s and bad mouthing Russia who is trying to garner the people in Ukraine who don’t want to live under another nazi regime. If she wants her students to know the truth she’d tell them Ukraine is being used by the WEF Schwab Soros Gates and the rest of the One worlders as a bio lab state (15 known) and a kid slave/porn and money laundering location. The US is again interfering in another country they have no right being in and promoting a war after we had just had world peace. Apparently we have learned nothing from Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and many more we stuck our nose in that were wasted money and life for nothing.other then money for the military complex ,

    • She wants to be employable, so she says all is great with Ukraine and Russia is rotten to the core.

      Minsk Accords Not Implemented, NATO Expansion, and Donbas Genocide Provoked Russian Invasion
      For 8 years prior to the intervention, Russia had been trying to get the Minsk Accords implemented to give a measure of cultural/political/social/religious autonomy for the ethnic Russians in the Donbas area, with the area remaining an integral part of Ukraine, per the Minsk Accords.

      But the US/UK, Ukraine, France and Germany, etc., stone-walled and obstructed the implementation, because they were using the Minsk Accords as a tool to deceive and delay, while financing/arming/training/advising Ukraine armed forces to NATO standards, for about 8 years

      There were public admissions by the following persons, they were not going to comply with the Minsk agreements, and the purpose of signing the Minsk agreements was to buy time to pump Ukraine with weapons and prepare Ukraine to be a proxy to strategically weaken Russia:

      Ms. (former German Chancellor) Angela Merkel,
      Mr. (former French President Francois) Hollande,
      Mr. (former Ukrainian President Pyotr) Poroshenko,
      Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky, 

      Germany and France are co-signers of the Minsk Agreements.
      Merkel and Hollande knew they had no choice but to support the US agenda to protect their lucrative, trillion dollar commercial interests in the US/Canada/Mexico.

      It is important to note, the Russian intervention came after Ukraine did the following:

      1) Amassed at least 100,000 troops on the western side of defense line of the Donbas area
      2) Significantly increased bombardments of the eastern Donbas area in January/February, 2022

      Russia, after 8 years of trying to get the Minsk accords implemented, needed to protect the ethnic Russians from the on-going genocide.
      Russia invaded Ukraine in February 24, 2022, to put an end to the genocide, and liberate two additional ethnic Russian provinces.
      All four provinces voted by more than 90% to be part of Russia, which was voted into law by the Russian Duma.
      Nuland: “The US seeks no war with Russia. It just wants Russia to leave Ukraine”.
      That statement is the epitome of deception, because Ukraine likely would restart its genocide of ethnic Russians in the four provinces and in Crimea.

      Peace Talks Nixed by US/UK

      Naftali Bennett, the former Prime Minister of Israel, said:
      1) Just after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the West “blocked” a ceasefire he was helping to broker early in the war, and
      2) Russia and Ukraine had made significant compromises to settle their differences during peace talks in Turkey.
      Bennett said, “there was a good chance of reaching a ceasefire” but the Western powers “curbed” negotiations, in a wide-ranging interview uploaded to YouTube.

      US/UK/EU Long-Term Strategy

      The US/UK forced Zelensky’s government to toe the line, i.e., no peace talks, or else be cut off from NATO funding and arms.
      The US/UK thought it had finally cornered Russia into a war of attrition, i.e., bleed/weaken Russia “for as long as it takes”, which would:

      1) Collapse the Russian ruble and Russian economy with pre-planned sanctions
      2) Create social and political unrest all over Russia, by having US/EU media affiliates in Russia “to report the truth”; using the Russian branch of Radio Free Europe to “spread freedom in Russia”; financing NGOs and pro-West opposition groups, all aiming to oust Putin and install a malleable pro-West person, like Navalny, as was done in Ukraine in 2014.
      3) Break up Russia into separate parts, similar to Yugoslavia; each part absorbed into the “Rules-Based, Family of Civilized Nations” after meeting “US/EU/NATO conditions”
      4) Get control of and exploit “former-Russia’s” vast energy and other resources
      5) Get control of the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, and the new sea lanes north of Siberia from Norway, to Alaska, to the Pacific Ocean, and deny China access to these areas.
      6) Create a Belt-Road Initiative, BRI, to connect the EU to the “former-Russia” parts and surrounding countries, and put the entire area under US/EU/NATO control, and deny China access to these areas.

    • DB

      Ukraine was “augmented” as a proxy fighter, with 46 US DoD bio labs, which the Pentagon finally owned up to, and Nuland testified to, under oath, in Congress, after months of denial.

      Why would impoverished, corrupt Ukraine need so many bio labs, unless evil doing would be needed?

      • Holy crap 46!!! I thought 15 was too many but that may have only been US ones like hunter biden *the smartest biden according to the potato head* had his fingers in. Most I think are entities of NATO countries probably set up by cia, miltary or state. Would we allow 46 labs on the Mex border that belonged to China, Russia, Iran? I think not which is exactly why this is a US provoked war. Also the huge chunk of population favoring Russia control. Thanks for the link

  4. This is a great story. This teacher deserves high credit for showing media bias to her students.

    As far as the whole conflict goes, my moral compass will not budge: Russia’s aggression is wonton and destructive to civilization. Witness Ukrainian disarmament from all nuclear weapons under Clinton and Obama. They sacrificed their means of self-defense based on assurances from the United States and European leaders that we would have their backs if they got rid of their arsenal. They did, giving all of their WMDs to Russia under close observation from USA and allies. \The End\

    • It would appear you have gotten all your info from the MSM. If you got on line and watched the Duran report, Brian Berletic, and Scott Ritter you might just have a somewhat different view of the conflict. Berletic always uses official documents to back up what he says and Ritter was a US Marine officer that was a weapons inspector who gave up his commission because he saw all the lies that were being told to the American people mostly due to the neocons in Washington. Learn or don’t no skin off my nose.

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