With the never-ending investigation into possible Russian collusion during the U.S. presidential elections, it may appear a poor time to be a Russian media organization. Lambasted for propaganda left and right, accused of covering up for the Skripal Novichok poisonings, and generally being labeled a Putin mouthpiece, Russia Today (RT) has taken its share of hits. So why is it that more and more non-Russian people are turning to RT as one of their sources for international and domestic news?
A shocking spate of fake news exposés by the Russian broadcaster has achieved that which our domestic Western news groups have failed to do: honest journalism.
Yellow Vest Hoax
With the growing discontent across Europe, exemplified by the yellow vest movement, one would think this a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that the media is unbiased and devoted to telling the truth. Sadly not. On France 3, one of the largest and most “establishment” of French television news broadcasters, a report displayed pictures of the gilet jaunes protesting with signs. Yet for reasons not adequately explained, it photoshopped the placards.
The image on the left shows a protester holding a sign that reads “Macron Dégage,” which means “Macron Out.” Yet in the picture on the right, the one shown by France 3, the “out” portion has been deleted rather crudely.
RT exposed this glaring act of censorship. When the Russian broadcaster reached out to France 3, it responded that the whole thing was merely a “mistake.”
Perhaps RT’s greatest claim to fame is exposing fake news and poor journalistic practices in other media organizations. Its own content is biased heavily in favor of Russia, with what appears to be a firm editorial policy of “Vladimir Putin Can Do No Wrong”; despite this inherent flaw, RT is rather adept at spotting the foibles of others.
…the darker impulses of tabloid reporting.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), supported by the British taxpayer, once had a reputation for excellence second to none. It is written into the company’s charter that it be impartial at all times. But this formerly prized institution has succumbed to the darker impulses of tabloid reporting. How do we know? Once again, thanks to RT.
According to RT, a series of screenshots between BBC Russia journalist Olga Ivshina and a stringer based in France shows that the BBC had decided its story was “Russians Behind Yellow Vests,” lack of evidence notwithstanding. Ivshina’s messages show that she was pestering for a Russian angle where none appeared to exist:
“And maybe some Russian business is making big bucks on it?”
“Maybe they are eating cutlets out there en masse, for example?”
“Or maybe the far-right are the main troublemakers?”
“Yes, I’m searching for the angles))) The editorial board wants blood, yo)))”
When RT contacted the BBC for a comment, it replied that “it was perfectly reasonable for our correspondent to raise the subject.” Yet such statements as the “editorial board wants blood” suggest it had decided on the story without any facts and was then trying to back it up.
A Sorry Day
It is a sad day for us all in the West when one of the most reliable (despite their own bias) broadcasters is sponsored directly by the Kremlin. But perhaps this is a punishment wrought by our own failings. By continuing patronage of our elitist, biased news services, they have grown into uncontrollable creatures that fear no one and publish what they please. Had we demanded that they put their shops in order, we would not be in this situation.
It is time for broadcasters and newsmen and women of all stripes to get back on track.