Demonizing Russian Media

The West is escalating its demonization of Russian media as weapons of “information warfare” that need neutralizing, but Gilbert Doctorow finds that accusation just another part of the West’s own propaganda war.

By Gilbert Doctorow

One of the West’s top points in condemning Vladimir Putin’s “regime” since 2007 has been his alleged suppression of democratic institutions, including an assault on media freedom and imposition of government-directed propaganda. This week, the accusation was repeated in a resolution of the European Parliament calling for stronger counter-measures in defense of European values against “information warfare” from Moscow.

The charges — that Russian media are only an instrument of state propaganda directed at the domestic population to keep Russian citizens in line and at foreign audiences to sow dissent among Russia’s neighbors and within the European Union — are taken as a matter of faith with almost no proofs adduced. Anyone who questions this “group think” is immediately labeled a “tool of Putin” or worse.

Russian President Vladimir Putin answering questions from Russian citizens at his annual Q&A event on April 14, 2016. (Russian government photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin answering questions from Russian citizens at his annual Q&A event on April 14, 2016. (Russian government photo)

I experienced this firsthand in March 2015 when, as one of three debaters on “The Network,” a Euronews public affairs program, I objected to remarks by a fellow panelist, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee Elmar Brok, who maintained that Putin crushed all liberties and his country has no free press.

Based on my familiarity with the many different political lines of the Russian print media and of the patently unintimidated Kremlin-critics behind the national radio station Ekho Moskvy and television station Dozhd’, I countered that, for example, Russian coverage of events in the Donbass was more multi-sided and free than coverage in the U.S.

Brok lashed out with the slanderous question: “And how much did the Kremlin pay you to say that?” The broadcaster then allowed this video-taped exchange to air freely.

I have ruminated on this exchange ever since and sought incontrovertible proof of the relative freedom of expression on Russian broadcast media. My close examination of the wildly popular political talk shows on Russian television first as a spectator and then as a participant has provided just that.

I have written previously about my initial experience going back six months to when I first took part in a program on the Rossiya 1/Vesti 24 state channel, Yevgeni Popov’s “Special Correspondent.” I mentioned at the time the nearly permanent presence on these programs of domestic opposition figures as well as of foreigners from the U.S., Ukraine, Poland and Israel, in particular, who could be counted on to present views on the political topic of the day’s discussion at sharp variance with the Kremlin line.

Assessing the Talk Shows

In early autumn I appeared on the same presenter’s new show “Sixty Minutes,” as well on what is probably the most respected show of this genre, “Sunday Evening with Vladimir Soloviev,” another Rossiya 1 production. Soloviev has done feature-length television interviews with Vladimir Putin and may be considered to be as close to power as people in this medium get. His personal views are probably more nationalist than the ruling United Russia party, but on his shows he, too, gives time on air to very diverse Russian and foreign views.

Some of the estimated 12 million Russians who took part in Immortal Regiment parades across the country over three days. (RT photo)

Some of the estimated 12 million Russians who took part in Immortal Regiment parades across the country over three days in May 2016. (RT photo)

In the past month, I broadened my experience with the Russian talk show format by participating in shows on the other major state channel, Pervy Kanal (“Time Will Tell”) and on the country’s largest commercial television channel, NTV (“The Meeting Place”). This accelerated learning was facilitated by the U.S. presidential elections, which made Russian-speaking talking heads from America like myself a rather hot commodity on Russian television at least briefly.

In speaking to fellow panelists during break time, in interviews with presenters, I gathered some inside information about the production side of the talk shows, including their target audiences, their technical aspects and their substantive positioning.

Anyone looking over Russian television programming in general quickly finds that talk shows as a format take up a very large part of broadcast time. Of course, the focus of talk shows may be highly diverse, and political talk shows were traditionally an evening phenomenon, as is the case with the Rossiya 1 shows cited above, while daytime programming more typically focuses on housewives’ concerns, daydreams of romance or tips for cooking, and the like.

In this sense, it was a bold move when two years ago Pervy Kanal decided to launch a daily two-hour political talk show (“Time Will Tell”) in mid-afternoon. As expected, the target audience proved to be stay-at-home women and viewers aged 50 and above, although it appears there are also a fair number of viewers watching the program in the work place.

Going Daytime

The ratings captured by this show typically are in the 20s, meaning that 20 or so percent of all television viewers in Russia at the given time are tuned to the given program, yielding an audience numbering in the millions. On Nov. 9, when I appeared on the show dedicated to analysis of the U.S. election results, the numbers spiked to 30 percent, as one might well understand given the very great interest among ordinary Russians in the outcome of the race for the U.S. presidency and the outlook for war or peace.

A Russian orchestra performing at Palmyra's Roman theater on May 5, 2016, after Syrian troops, backed by Russian air power, reclaimed the ancient city from the Islamic State. (Image from RT's live-streaming of the event.)

A Russian orchestra performing at Palmyra’s Roman theater on May 5, 2016, after Syrian troops, backed by Russian air power, reclaimed the ancient city from the Islamic State. (Image from RT’s live-streaming of the event.)

As “Time Will Tell” presenter Artyom Sheinin explained to me, the decision to appear on daytime television called for certain production decisions differentiating the programs from the evening talk shows. Firstly, the expectation of a less sophisticated audience meant that the language of panelists should be free of political science jargon and allusion to little known names or philosophies.

Said Artyom, panelists are asked to pitch their arguments as they would “talking to their kids, their mom or their lover.’’ On the other hand, overly calm discussion is not seen as a benefit. The presenter explains that his audience sitting at home at mid-day is in need of “an adrenaline shot,” and the normal penchant of Russian panelists to shout down one another in a free-for-all is not discouraged in the way it is on evening programming. The evening viewer is assumed to have come home from work and is seated in his armchair before the television, wants his nerves soothed more than excited.

All Russian political talk shows on the main channels are produced in the afternoon, Moscow time, and all feature on screen the caption “Live On Air.” However, where and when these shows are broadcast live versus rebroadcast from video tapes is another matter.

For example, the Rossiya 1/Vesti programs are broadcast live to the Russian Far East, where they appear at the end of prime-time evening broadcasts. Then they are re-broadcast at local evening prime time in each of the eight other time zones of the Russian Federation lying to the west, showing last in Moscow.

In this regard, two years ago when it launched “Time Will Tell,” Pervy Kanal took a second unparalleled risk by broadcasting live to Moscow in the afternoon. From a political standpoint, this was like a high-flying trapeze act without the benefit of a safety net.

In fact all of these programs are also video-taped, and all the major channels make the tapes available for internet viewing on their websites in full or shortened versions.

Similar Formats

Just as Russian television has often copied studio design and presentation formats from American television (I think in particular of the way the “Tonight Show” has been replicated on major Russian channels), so they copy from one another. In fact, if you turn on any of the political talk shows I cited above, you will find rather similar studios with live audiences.

A military parade on Red Square. May 9, 2016 Moscow. (Photo from: http://en.kremlin.ru)

A military parade on Red Square. May 9, 2016 Moscow. (Photo from: http://en.kremlin.ru)

Indeed, at Pervy Kanal, the producers remark jokingly that when NTV decided to launch its own afternoon talk show, “The Meeting Place,” that network picked up not only the production format and studio design but also some of the production staff. The format of having male-female pairs of talk show hosts also has spread widely in the industry.

But there appears to be a significant difference between these shows on the degree to which they are “scripted” by management upstairs, the degree to which they are free discussion. Perhaps the most scripted is this season’s new entry at Rossiya 1, “Sixty Minutes,” in which presenters Yevgeni Popov and Olga Skabeyeva are reading off teleprompters and the audience applause is aggressively prompted. On the other hand, the lead presenter on Pervy Kanal’s “Time Will Tell,” Artyom Sheinin proudly says that he has no script handed to him, that what he says on air is what he himself prepared or is thinking at the time.

One ubiquitous fact is that the panelists are not scripted and if anyone is cut off in mid-sentence it is by other panelists vying for the microphone, not by the presenter keeping the political line of discourse in check. Except in the case of senior politicians, who are given the respect their rank demands, no panelist is safe from interruptions and the audience encourages a culture of gladiators in the arena, with applause punctuating the debates.

On NTV there is the additional expression of audience disapproval, but that is rare. The benefits of these ground rules go to the quick-witted as well as to the loudest voices, whatever their political complexion.

The culture of these talk shows is permeated by a newsroom mentality. Some of the presenters, especially on Rossiya 1/Vesti 24, come from television journalism and have gotten their appointments as a reward for successful work in the field, especially in hazardous areas. Such was the background of talk show host Yevgeni Popov, who for years reported from Ukraine, initially during the Orange Revolution days and later during the Maidan protests.

The content of each program on all channels is subject to change at the last minute as are the list of invited panelists in case of breaking news. This favors inviting panelists who are living in the Moscow area. They can be invited and disinvited at short notice. In fact, all the major political shows on the three channels I observed from inside use many of the same Russian and foreign panelists chosen from among political scientists at universities or think tanks, journalists and Duma or Federation Council members.

Western Voices

To be sure, not all panelists come down to the studio. A very few lucky experts are given air time from remote locations, their close-up image projected onto a wall-sized screen.

One such “regular” on the Rossiya 1/Vesti 24 channel is Dimitri Simes, president of The Center for the National Interest in Washington, D.C. These vignette appearances get special treatment, without any interruption from other panelists and only respectful questioning from the host.

Panelists in greatest demand can be seen leaving one show early so as to be able to get over to another studio on a different channel when there is the rotation of panelists between advertising breaks. None is in greater demand than the American Michael Bohm, who in the dark days of worsening relations with the West provided all channels with highly fluent statements in Russian of the latest policy position of the Washington Consensus, often accompanied by Russian folk expressions.

This has been especially appreciated by television producers representing the more hardline supporters of the Kremlin for whom Bohm is the kind of American the audience loves to hate, his every remark justifying demands for greater military expenditures by the Kremlin. Nonetheless, it remains true that through Bohm and a few other Westerners on these shows, the full blast of Western critiques of Kremlin policy gets prime broadcasting time in Russia.

The senior politicians brought in as panelists come from all the Duma parties, not just the ruling United Russia. In the past half year, I noted in particular the frequent presence of the leader of the nationalist LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, while Gennady Zyuganov of the Communists or Sergey Mironov, leader of Just Russia, have been rare birds.

On the other hand, there have been frequent appearances by the Liberals of the Yabloko party, which never made it past 1 percent of votes cast in the latest parliamentary elections, not to mention the minimum 5 percent threshold for Duma representation.

The talk show programs are prepared with great professionalism. Behind each there is extensive research to find appropriate archival and/or latest visuals. The administrative chores involved in arranging logistics for the panelists chosen are also considerable. The team members I have encountered were uniformly dedicated, working crazy hours to get their job done.

Encouraging Strong Opinions

I also noted a peculiar complicity between the staff “handlers” and us panelists. Clearly, production staff is rewarded for finding “fresh blood” panelists who play out well, and they make sure that their dogs in the race are well tended with coffee, tea, and, if needed, a shot of brandy during breaks to keep their spirits high.

On the Rossiya 1/Vesti 24 talk shows presenters and the panelists all are wired with headset microphones. However, on both Pervy Kanal and NTV, only the presenters are wired, while panelists are seated next to production assistants holding microphones, which they make available upon request. Indeed, the assistants act as coaches to newcomers like myself, whom they urge to speak louder, speak faster, etc. to get the greatest debate effect out of us.

In conclusion, my firsthand experience with the Russian political talk show phenomenon left me with no doubt that this is bona fide journalism serving the public interest, exposing the broad Russian television audience, from everyone’s parents and grandparents to business leaders and university dons, to a great many different competing and well-presented views on the major issues of the day, both domestic and international.

This reality is sharply at variance with what U.S. and Western European mainstream media would have us believe about Putin’s Russia.

Gilbert Doctorow is the European Coordinator of The American Committee for East West Accord Ltd. His most recent book, Does Russia Have a Future? was published in August 2015.

image_pdfimage_print

20 comments for “Demonizing Russian Media

  1. Joe L.
    November 23, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    I believe that all of the bellyaching by politicians against foreign media such as RT means that our countries “propaganda” (the Iraq War a great example of that) is losing sway over the people. I think before the internet age it must have been very easy for governments to try to control their own people through their own propaganda but now it is much harder. For me, it is not Russian propaganda that I fear but rather propaganda by my own government, or that of our allies, which continues to sell these stupid wars of imperialism or at least they try…

  2. November 23, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    I believe this constant “demonizing” of Russia is an attempt by the maniacs in positions of power to start a war.
    The end result (no pun intended) of all this planned evil could be nuclear war. The gangsters of war are already encircling Russia, and claiming that Russia is an “aggressor,” when in fact it is they—the war criminals that invaded a number of countries and turned them into hell holes. Now these insane villains are taking us to the brink of nuclear apocalypse….
    read more info at link below
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/09/blog-post.html

  3. Chris Chuba
    November 23, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    The network that is most demonized is RT. If someone could explain their funding, ownership, and degree of independence, I’d appreciate it. I don’t trust any ‘Wikipedia’ entry on them because I have seen wikipedia go to the dark side on issues pertaining to Russia. Their coverage of Euromaidan and the Odessa massacre is a parody of propaganda.

    Oh, here’s two articles from Alina Polyakova that goes into full demonization mode accusing the Kremlin of funding political groups in Europe to destroy NATO. I haven’t waded through the allegations yet. The only concrete example is of a bank loan going to Le Pen.
    http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2016/11/21/the_russian_plot_against_europe_110368.html
    http://imrussia.org/en/analysis/world/2500-putinism-and-the-european-far-right

    If a Russian bank operates in France, isn’t it kind of okay for them to issue a loan, if this proves that they are a tool for Putin then what does the approximate $100M of foreign donations say about Hillary? If this is the best example, Polyakova has a weak argument.

    • Roger Kamben
      November 24, 2016 at 11:08 am

      Coverage on RT is refreshing as a counter to typical Western mainstream media. Sure they have pro-Russian bias but most of the time they are much more even handed and consistent than BBC, CNN, etc. But the bias is on the other side of neutral compared to our MSM and that’s why it feels “far out there” for some people.

      Sometimes they obviously get a memo from Kremlin and go into full propaganda mode. But the coverage, like you said, is almost like a parody and is easily spotted. It’s almost like the journalists at RT sabotage the effort by going completely overboard while following the letters of the order from upstairs.

      With all the channels pumping out the Western establishment views you’d think the Russia Today and a handful of other pro-russian outlets wouldn’t be a threat to them. However the huge effort against RT reveal what kind of propaganda bubble we actually live in since they are so desperate to kill any and all opposing forces.

      However by shutting down RT’s bank accounts in the UK, blocking them from cable packages and all kinds of obstacles and demonizations our establishment just reveal how little our so called western values and principles like freedom of speech is actually worth to them.

      And now NYT and others want face-book to sensor so called “fake news”. They want have the power to decide what “truth” you are allowed to read just like the good old days before the Internet. So they can have another “Tonkin incident”, or “WMD’s in Iraq” killing millions.. Perhaps they have understood that just some tiny cracks in the wall of propaganda is enough to shatter the illusion over time. When enough people wake up, their “fun time” is over.

      • A Bankrupt Greek
        November 25, 2016 at 5:14 pm

        What Roger Kamben said.

        I still remember how the western media portrayed Euromaidan as a “Fight for Freedom” using all kinds of buzzwords while it was mostly a clusterfuck of anarchists having their good time destroying public property.Even BBC had a very peculiar article (which was later removed iirc) where it researched the “other side” of the Euromaidan massacre aka the Legitimate Ukrainian Government one.

        In that article, BBC questioned the notion that Western agencies meddled in the affair and hired thugs to do their dirty jobs. That was quite brave from a BBC journalist. Several of the allegations of the CIA-US implications are now public knowledge, like the “Victoria Nuland phone call”.

        Out of all the media, i hate to say it but RT had the most “down to earth and reality viewpoint” in that particular situation. Western journalism is living a dark time,thats for sure….

  4. Chris Chuba
    November 23, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    The network that is most demonized is RT. If someone could explain their funding, ownership, and degree of independence, I’d appreciate it

    • aquadraht
      November 23, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      Well, RT is, to the best of my knowledge, funded by the Russian government, as is BBC, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America, RFE, CRI. and lots of other state financed outlets. Those stations are meant to project “soft power” for their host country. I do not expect anti-US views from VoA, or anti-german ones from Deutsche Welle.

      RT is very much entertaining, and projecting “Russian” views bit subliminarily. They provide some (in my eyes, especially for the german outlet, too few though improving) insight into Russia proper, but try to counter the violent anti-russian propaganda in the West by presenting somewhat different views. They very much feast on onesideness and monotony of our recent media world.

      That is, in my observation, the root of the outrage and hystery towards RT. They are not controllable by the group think of our modern ministry of truth.

  5. Jean Ranc
    November 23, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Ah yes, the “demonizing of Russia” was all too evident just this morning (11/23 if anyone wants to listen) in the BBC Radio interview with General David Petraeus, who, as you may remember was fired for providing classified docs to his mistress who was writing his biography…but now sounds eager to get back to war as usual if Trump will only beckon. It was full of the script of war propaganda against Russia which has been beamed at us by our own media for months…years but one would have thought that after all of the damage wrought on the UK from Tony Blair’s serving as “Bush’s poodle” & Iraq war supporter-in-chief…that the British Establishment’s media, especially post-Brexit, would have learned its lesson…rather than continuing to serve as the me-too-media for American hegemony & its misbegotten wars.

  6. Stand with Russia
    November 23, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    The Western elite wants things how they were before the Internet. They could tell any lie they wanted and even the people who knew the truth had little way of informing other people.

    Now with the Internet and alternative media the Western elites narratives of lies just don’t hold up. All the illegal wars, warmongering, GMOs, fracking, funding and arming terrorists, and the list goes on and on that theres no viable defense for. Media like RT that is not controlled by the Western elite can just pick and pick and pick away at these things. The only hand the Western elite can play is oh thats propaganda.

    The election cycle further displayed just how corrupt and deceitful the MSM is. The MSM is now basically dead. Nobody believes it really. So what they are now doing is trying to get back audiance and authority with full blown censorship. Whether its a labeling as fake news, propaganda, hate speech, whatever.

    They are just cutting the branch they sit on though. The future and present really of media is independent and citizen journalism. Instead of embracing the writing on the wall the Western elite is trying to crush these things. This is just going to make more people embrace non Western elite media. Then the more people embrace non Western elite media the more the Western elite tries to crush them. Its a really vicious cycle the elite is doing but they can’t win.

    RT is the most fair and balanced large media company around. They cover stories the MSM won’t cover such as the Democracy Spring protests. Their Ruptly video service for example is amazing. They were labeled by the Western elite as doing anything to help Trump win. Did these idiots even watch RT’s election night coverage. Larry King and Ed Schultz are very anti Trump as were most of the people they had on.

    In my opinion RT is actually too fair and balanced. Recently I was watching one of the talk shows on there and a guest was some ghoul from a Soros group that was spewing one blatant lie out about Russia after another. Why even have guys like that on? But they do, I guess to be fair and to give people like that the rope to hang themself.

  7. Joe Tedesky
    November 23, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    One of the worst attacks by America against the Russian people, is how the Russian people are terribly homophobes. Read the link I have left, which was written by an American gay rights activist.

    http://static.prisonplanet.com/p/images/february2014/white_paper.pdf

    • Joe L.
      November 24, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      I still remember all of the attacks against Russia during the Sochi Olympics, even before anything was happening in Ukraine. I do disagree with the anti-gay law in Russia but it was also interesting to read people like Perez Hilton report at the time that the US itself has 10 states with almost identical anti-gay laws to Russia – http://perezhilton.com/2014-02-10-ten-united-states-that-have-laws-similar-to-russian-gay-proganda-ban#.WDcN1XeZMU4. Looking back, that was the beginning of the demonization of Russia and Putin, all our reporters did at the beginning of the Sochi Olympics was completely pick it apart. Anyway, I do disagree with Russia’s anti-gay law but I did point out on a number of websites the article from Perez Hilton, one site I believe, was the Young Turks.

    • Just Russian
      November 25, 2016 at 2:50 am

      If western media was crying about ridiculously small wages of Russian teachers or officials who robs budget money or one of the other oh so many problems I doubt there was fervent respond from people. Of course there pushing on the matter that Americans and Europeans understand, where they can see the real difference. Nobody wants to think about Russian realities or culture or mentality. It’s useless trying to explain that generations should change for acceptance such a big idea.
      The best plan for starting a war – to convince citizens that the enemy is a very bad guy. If not being hysterical about gay’s rights are an evidence of the russian inhumanity… well…
      It’s sad but homophobia in Russia really increased. Right after West began crusade for gay rights in Russia.

  8. b.grand
    November 23, 2016 at 7:55 pm
  9. Jensno
    November 23, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    Ofc! The US and Russia BOTH demonize each other through their media! They’ve been doing it since WW2! It’s like watching two exes fight, except the US doesn’t give half a crap about Russia.
    It’s sad really, seeing the Russian government care so much about being validated as a world power by the US… acting out to get attention… too bad your “ex” has moved on to worry about more than a failing regional power…

  10. chan
    November 24, 2016 at 1:49 am

    Another Putin bashing statement in this week’s Time magazine: “…; others (other Trump ideas), like his coddling of Vladimir Putin, are dangerously weird.”

    But then this is from Joe Klein. So that’s kind of expected….

  11. Stan
    November 24, 2016 at 5:58 am

    As a 15 year US expat living in Russia, I find that Russian media is more open and free ranging in views. For example before elections all political parties are represented in debates and are frequently interviewed by serious journalist. But overall, TV is not as important to Russian life as it is in the US. I see them socialize more often than Americans who tend to hide out in their houses after work, and spending 6-7 hours passively watching TV. On of the reasons Americans are so badly informed of world or national events is the blatant propaganda that passes as news or commentary. It is strange how every program or presenter has the same overview and anything but the official line it dismissed as fringe or propaganda.
    I watch very little TV in Russia because there is always something more interesting to do, with so many options everyday to do real life, instead of sitting absorbing TV’s interpretation of life. They are not the same thing at all.
    The young people are so connected, TV has no relevance to them, other than maybe watching their football team on large screen TVs at the thousands of English style pubs with friends. Internet is free almost anyplace in cities and high speed connections at home or 4G mobile is cheap. My Fiber connection is about $10/mo for 110mb/s up/down speed, unlimited bandwidth. Even in the subway, 300 feet below ground there is cell and 4g access.
    News shows are important to many there are more variety shows and like in the US 1950s and 60s. Overall, Russians are much more aware of the world than Americans, and the average education attainment is much higher, with 58% of the total population with university degrees and 93% having post high school education.
    They are not subjected to the intense coordinated propaganda that Americans are on radio and TV.

  12. chupacabra
    November 25, 2016 at 12:19 am

    Demonization went beyond Russian media – check out the story on WaPo – they cite some group called PropOrNot as the true and final judge of what is propaganda and what is not, and guess what – Harvard award recipient consortiumnews.com is propaganda (along with voltaire.net, counterpunch,com, etc. the list is long). The Bellingcat is mentioned as a “friend” of PropOrNot hehe. So basically guilt by association, for “echoing” the “propaganda” of godless russians :)

    • Taras77
      November 25, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      Here is the list:

      http://www.propornot.com/p/the-list.html

      “Shocking” for me, this list contains a large number of my goto sources to get the news-RT, Sputnik, Moon over alabama, zero hedge, antiwar.com,etc, and of course, consortiumnews.com. I find RT to be spot on; of course, I know it is funded by Russia-so what. It is professional, I do not find it laden with propaganda and I would defy the useful idiots in Europe, or in the US to point out propaganda. It seems to me a sign of panic that the establishment press is mounting such a coordinated campaign.

      I read WaPo just for entertainment, to see what the crazies are currently running on about. Most days, I find it difficult to finish reading an article, generally the thrust is obvious from the author’s mindset, e.g. appelbaum, cohen, sargeant, et al

      • Chris Chuba
        November 26, 2016 at 2:11 am

        Thanks for the list, WaPo just gave me a list of new websites to check out :-)

        Wow, they even demonized the ‘DrudgeReport’ which was one of the original heroes of the Conservative Right. It’s funny that it is paired with ‘counter punch’ which is a traditional left wing publication that is skeptical of U.S. foreign policy. So to them, propaganda is based on their editorial policy. If you are not in lock step with their opinion on Russia, you are a propagandist. I read their claim that they allege evidence of a ‘centralized Russian project’ but that claim is laughable for virtually all of those sites.

        You could start to make such a claim for rt, Russia-insider (which I love), or southfront (which I also love) only because they openly have Russian contributors but that in and of itself is not evidence of a ‘centralized Russian project’. Seriously, western Media has become corrupt and unhinged, a frog boiling in its water.

  13. Geoffrey de Galles
    November 25, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Thanks so much, Mr. Doctorow, for this splendidly informative overview. — I have long lived on the Aegean coast, so what I get to see of RT is the version broadcast throughout Southern Europe and in the Middle East (rather than the British or American versions) Thus, but for Ed Schultz’s news show available daily on the internet @ rt.com, I am unfamiliar with a couple or more RT shows broadcast exclusively in the US; but, on the basis of what I do get to see, I can say this much:-

    I find completely vacuous, vulgar, and moronic the characterization of RT as “Kremlin propaganda” nowadays so epidemic in the US and EU. The hosts of almost all of its shows — Peter Lavelle, Max Keiser & Stacy Herbert, Thom Hartmann, Edward N. Harrison & Ameera David, Larry King, Lee Camp, Chris Hedges, and the ‘Watching the Hawks’ trio — are Americans; and almost all of the multiple guests featured (usually via video-link) both in their shows and given cameos during the hourly news-broadcasts from Moscow, i.e. politicians, attorneys, academics, journalists, retired Pentagon & CIA officials, et cetera, are US and EU citizens. Indeed, only Oksana Boyko (of “Worlds Apart”) would seem to be a Russian citizen — nota bene, Anissa Naouai is an American (as were RT shows’ former hosts Abby Martin and Erin Ade); Sophie Shevardnadze is Georgian; Afshin Rattansi is likely a British citizen; and, as we all know, George Galloway is British [Irish/Scottish variety]. (I suspect RT’s excellent Wash DC news-reporter Gayanne Chichikayan is likely an Armenian/American, but would welcome being disabused by anyone who might know better.) —-Thus, how could it possibly figure, except of course among the putinoid, that all of these folks, en masse, are actually Kremlin-agents, seeking to fulfill a putinesque agenda?

    Peter Lavelle’s three-times-weekly international affairs show, “Cross Talk”, is almost unfailingly superb — yes, Mr. Doctorow, I am well familiar with your regular participation over time — and should properly rate as 101 viewing for all employees at the US State Department. My one big fear is that none of them do watch it — and might well have been discouraged from doing so, if not actually forbidden to do so. .

Comments are closed.