Welcome to part two of our saga on Russia’s whiplash 180 degree turn toward Turkey! Apart from suddenly “discovering” that the Turkish government deals with ISIS or that Turkish chicken imports had listeria, the Russian media also “uncovered” other unsavory facts about Turkey. For example, RT chief Margarita Simonyan started railing on Twitter about Turkey’s denialist position on the Armenian genocide. Apparently she just happened to discover this after Turkey shot down that jet. What is more, Russian “discovered” facts about the Turkish governments oppression of Kurds. This is a new thing, folks!
I’m only bringing this up because RT’s UK channel, dutifully fulfilling its role of constantly regurgitating the foreign policy of its Kremlin masters, managed to get dinged by the UK media regulator Ofcom yet again. Apparently this is the 15th time so far, and once again the complaint is similar to those in the past- a lack of objectivity.
Ordinarily I’d ignore this, particularly because I think RT has done far worse than not give the Turkish government enough time to present its position, but as is typically the case they just had to make a statement about it and it was predictably hilarious.
“A spokeswoman for RT said: “We note Ofcom’s decision and want to make clear that the premise of our programme and the factual accuracy of our content have never been called into question.”
Well, that would probably be a first then, because I know for a fact it has, at least implicitly, in other Ofcom rulings.
“It is Going Underground’s mission to unearth the stories ignored by governments and mainstream media. This programme was raising an exceptionally serious issue related to possible atrocities committed by the Turkish military on the civilian Kurds in the town of Cizre. This shouldn’t be ignored.”
Ah yes, the familiar RT mantra: “Why doesn’t the mainstream media cover X?” The best way to answer this challenge is to take “X” and put it into Google. Typically within seconds you’ll be inundated with stories from “mainstream media” outlets, many of which were published before RT got onto the story. Take the incident in Cizre that the spokeswoman referred to. Last time I checked, the New York Times is rightfully considered “mainstream media.” According to RT, Vice is “mainstream media,” and it looks like they reported on the massacre claims earlier than RT. The Telegraph certainly didn’t ignore the story. And that outlet RT apologists love comparing their network to, namely the BBC, didn’t ignore the story either.
But here’s the real kicker. While one can quibble over how much attention these news outlets devoted to that particular issue in a region torn apart by a war which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and killed nearly half a million, one thing is almost certain- RT wouldn’t have been harping on this issue so much had it not been for the spat with Turkey that started last November. While the Kremlin is by no means the only government to play such petty political games, it has not only refined this behavior into an art form, but it also does so with no subtlety as its entire media machine touts the party line. Just imagine a Bush administration for life, where Fox News has gobbled up all the other major news outlets.
That’s about all I had to say on the topic, but I’ve been saving the spokeswoman’s last line for now.
“We will continue to campaign for international attention and support in preventing further bloodshed.”