Just one more thought about the topic of the previous post to this one. That post was all about the idea of RT and similar media supposedly being no different from dozens of private and publicly-funded “Western” media outlets, and how it is merely providing the “Russian” POV. Of course the fact that those other outlets don’t necessarily say anything about getting the American, Canadian, British, etc. POV across is obvious, but recently I just remembered something that exposes this lie at yet another level.
First, people say RT is Kremlin propaganda because, surprise, surprise, it’s editorial line always happens to be in line with that of the Kremlin, particularly since late 2013, with virtually no opposing views. Now if the defense of this is “We’re just getting the Russian POV across,” then they are implying that the Kremlin POV is the “Russian POV,” something I’ve challenged before. But let’s run with that for a second- if they’re right, and the Kremlin POV is the Russian POV, then we have to ask how well they get that across. And that’s where we have a problem.
Check out this post from January of this year. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Putin and the foreign ministry extended deep condolences to Francois Hollande and the French people. They used this as an occasion to stress the need for cooperation between Russia and the West against terrorism, and in spite of what anyone thinks about Russia’s recent involvement in Syria, real cooperation on this matter is necessary. Putin and Lavrov were not alone, however. Margarita Simonyan, head of RT, also tweeted a message of unity against international terrorism in the wake of the massacre.
And then, within about 48 hours, RT proceeded to publish a totally baseless conspiracy theory penned by one Pepe Escobar on its site, which posited that the massacre was a “false flag” (because when is it not?) carried out by American secret agents. This story was also pushed by some other pro-Kremlin outlets, but the main one was Lifenews, which is technically private and falls outside of Simonyan’s mandate.
So then, even if we accept that the Kremlin’s position is the Russian position RT basically undermined “the Russian POV.” And even though that premise isn’t true, in a way they undermined Russia by publishing this hateful, totally unfounded bullshit on a state-run outlet. I can’t say for sure off the top of my head, but I believe I was made aware of that story the very same day that I went to the French embassy to watch Russians laying flowers and lighting candles in solidarity with the French nation. I’m not French and I have no connection to France, but when I saw that story on RT I was genuinely pissed.
It’s just one small example of how the Russian propaganda machine is basically lies piled upon other lies, and it simply…doesn’t…work. If Putin and company are going to piss away so much money on this, at least they ought to get value for other peoples’ money. Hell, all they had to do was leave things in the foreign language media pretty much the way they were around say, 2012. You had one job. One…job.