Recently I’ve had the honor to meet with Alexei Kovalev, now known as the Noodle Remover a veritable one-man Stop Fake. During one of our conversations he brought up a very good point. RT and similar Kremlin outlets like Sputnik often like to bill themselves as a “second opinion.” According to their ads in New York, without their “second opinion” you get things like the Iraq invasion (as though RT could have actually significantly influenced American public opinion in the wake of 9/11 had it existed back then). In the wacky world of pro-Kremlin media, the “mainstream Western media” ignores the wrongdoings of their own government, while pointing fingers at regimes that Washington doesn’t like.
Are you prepared to have your mind blown? Good. RT and other Kremlin media also doesn’t report on the wrongdoings of Western governments. Sounds crazy right? Well allow me to explain. Think really hard and try to come up with an example of a real crime connected with the American government. Now ask yourself who broke this story, and who provided the most in depth investigation. I’m guessing that whatever it is, if it really happened, it wasn’t broken or deeply investigated by RT or any other Kremlin-media outlet. Where do they get their information from? Why the lying “Western mainstream media,” of course!
Think about it- Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse, Haditha massacre, bad intelligence about WMDs, the drone program, Snowden’s revelations. None of these things were broken or discovered by the Russian media. Granted, RT didn’t exist back then, but there was other Russian English-language media and Russian-language media which could have investigated these things and broken the story. After all, the most scandalous bits of the 2000 Florida election debacle came from Greg Palast with the BBC. Yet when we read about these things in that “Western mainstream media,” we never see Russian sources cited.
When the Russian media has a “breaking” story, it’s usually something they made up, and their source is some random blogger in the West who they then label a “political analyst.” If they’re talking about anything real, you’re most likely to find that the story was actually broken by the Western media, often an outlet based in the country whose government was responsible, and even if RT or other Russian media reports on it after the fact the most in-depth coverage is also to be found in the non-Russian press.
This is what happens when you pretend to be a journalistic outfit and simultaneously tell yourself that you’re fighting an information war and giving the “Russian POV.” This is why I can find dozens of articles from the “Western media” raking the American government over the coals for any number of atrocities within minutes on Google, whereas on RT you’ll never find any investigating or examination of the Russian government’s misdeeds. What’s more likely? That the Russian government is somehow morally pure and more just than any government on Earth? If so shouldn’t we expect the country’s living standards to be just a bit higher for that fact? Or…Is it more likely that the reason for this obvious black and white bias is that the outlet is not a journalistic enterprise but rather as they say, a “bullhorn of Kremlin propaganda?”
I know this never ceases to piss off folks who work for RT or who support them, but I’m sorry guys, you have nobody to blame but yourselves. If you’re not subject to censorship, why don’t you go out and do what people from Vice or other Western outlets have done, and actually challenge the Kremlin’s claims on something- anything. Acknowledge that Putin lied about troops in the Crimea. Question the logic of his claim that Russia isn’t involved in the Donbas. Question the Ministry of Defense when it says it doesn’t use cluster bombs in Syria, seeing as how your network has the proof that they do.
The simple fact is that as it stands, nobody needs RT or any other Russian media to find out about the misdeeds of Western governments. We’ve got Al Jazeera, we’ve got Salon, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Buzzfeed (yes, that’s right), and dozens of other outlets which do a far better job of reporting on these topics because they actually care about the concept of credibility and don’t tell themselves that they’re fighting an information war, thus justifying the practice of lying and using dubious sources.
Sure, RT loves pointing out the mistakes and flaws of the “mainstream media,” which of course means any media outlet that contradicts the Kremlin’s line on something, no matter how small, but do we really need them to do that? There are plenty of independent outlets which dedicate themselves to media criticism. There are entire documentaries on this topic alone. Here the problem is that RT “uncovers” the mistakes and failings of the rest of the media, and yet their solution is deliberate bias and propaganda. In other words: “Hey don’t trust the mainstream media because sometimes they get things wrong- trust us because we’ll deliberately get things wrong and tell you we’re just giving the Russian POV and fighting an information war.”
What kind of alternative is that? If you’re constantly eating at McDonald’s, sure, that’s unhealthy, but you have a lot of alternatives. You can eat fresh foods prepared at home, or you could go to other fast food places with healthier menus. You can even change your eating habits at McDonald’s and actually lose weight. There’s yet another “alternative”, which is eating out of a dumpster out back. That’s basically what listening to the Kremlin media is. You’re replacing natural biases with a deliberate bias, mistakes with calculated misinformation.
Just to wrap this up, if any reader has an example of RT or the Russian press actually investigating and breaking a story of malfeasance by the US government or one of its allies, by all means post it. I’m genuinely curious. My last call for Russian media pieces that contradict Russian foreign policy netted one article, on Russia Insider, which was heavily qualified with a disclaimer and a link to an article opposing it. But hey, just like the “Western mainstream media” right?