U.S. corporate media frequently evoked the Cold War as a key to understanding the conflict between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia. This was certainly true of the media themselves, which generally placed black hats or white hats on the actors involved depending on whether they were allied with Moscow or Washington.
On August 11, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams referred to "what's being called the Russian blitz of the nation of Georgia, former Soviet republic that split away and is now threatening to split apart from within." NBC reporter Jim Maceda followed up: "The powerful Russian war machine is moving ever deeper into Georgia, and teaching all of us really a lesson about what makes Russia tick." Maceda then gave what has become the standard media template for describing the conflict:
- "It started as a gamble by Georgia, the former Soviet republic and darling of the West: Move quickly into the breakaway pro-Russian enclave called South Ossetia and take back what is legally Georgia's. But the plan failed. Instead, Russian forces invaded Georgia last week and crushed Georgian resistance. According to U.S. military officials, Russia is out to decimate the U.S.-trained Georgian armed forces."