Thursday, March 06, 2014

RT and the Media War

I seem to have picked up the flu, so even reading is difficult, and writing doubly so. But I did want to weigh in on the whole RT non-issue.

As you may have heard, RT American anchor Liz Wahl quit, live on air, on Tuesday. A day prior, her colleague Abby Martin - anchor of the popular investigative show "Breaking the Set" - had some harsh words for the Russian government. The Western legacy media immediately swarmed like sharks smelling blood. Proof that RT is just vile Putinist propaganda! they all exclaimed in unison. Having reached that conclusion independently and impartially, of course.

But RT's editor in chief, Margarita Simonyan, pointed out the other part of the story:
See for yourselves what they did to poor Abby. First, she openly voiced disagreement with Russia’s stance on air – and was virtually made an American hero. But then Abby reminded everyone how much she disagrees with America’s stance as well, adding she takes pride in working at RT, where she is free to express her views. Less than an hour passed before Abby had her name dragged through something I have difficulty finding a decent name for this late at night.
It is no secret that I've been a frequent guest on RT, in particular over the course of the Ukraine crisis, but also many times before. All my engagements with RT are pro bono. They are not paying me for being a guest. Neither is the Russian government. And nothing I say on the air is in any way different than what I've written here, or at, or at the Reiss Institute, in English or in Serbian. I don't need to lie to bolster my case; truth is not only more powerful, but requires far less effort.

Back in March 2008, when a group of Serbs gathered in front of the White House to protest the shameful "independence" of occupied Kosovo-Metohija, several crews showed up to cover the event. Being the designated media contact for the group, I spoke with all of them. CNN used one sentence of mine, plucked out of context to support their Serbophobic story. A local network didn't even use the clip. But the RT crew heard me out.

Now, I know a thing or two about the media, though journalism is not my profession. Back in Bosnia, in 1995, I'd worked with damn near every news house that had a correspondent in Sarajevo. None of them thought a thing about spiking the truth if it didn't correspond with the narrative they were tasked with manufacturing. On the other hand, RT has never censored me, never asked me to walk back a statement, never spiked an interview.

And what of the integrity of their journalists? When I read Alexei Yaroshevsky's report from a place he was emotionally tied to, I couldn't help but relate to my own experience - one no American (save, perhaps, those from Detroit) can imagine: watching your entire world torn to shreds before your very eyes. If fate is particularly cruel, you'll live through the torment, maimed and broken, and be condemned to living in the ruins. Oh yeah. I can relate.

But I'm not asking you to trust my feelings. I am not even asking you to trust my logic. Those who have made up their minds about Russia being evil, and RT being propaganda - an opinion helpfully prepackaged for them by the mainstream media octopus, natch - won't be swayed by proof. However, my conscience demands that I declare my belief - based on nearly two decades of observing the media - that RT is a hell of a lot more independent and objective than any supposedly "independent and objective" outfit that answers to the State Department, Langley, Whitehall, or corporate boardrooms somewhere.

Make of that what you will.


Unknown said...

Amen to your words bro. Tough times are coming.
After west empire wins this war, there might be many years before free minds are allowed to speak again.

So, good luck to all BRAVE SLAVS.

Vidimo se na drugoj strani.

Unknown said...

Happy recovery ,

BTW i found this from 1996 :

At first the Yankee Gringo begins with the classic narrative :

"In Cold War rhetoric more appropriate to a second-rate spy novel than a political treatise, the head of the Duma's Security Committee on Thursday accused the West in general and United States in particular of plotting to destroy Slavic civilization."

Then he writes :

According to a scenario worked out in the United States and Germany, Yugoslavia has been torn apart. There are attempts to break up Serbia and Chernogoriya. There is political intrigue surrounding the 'Hungarian question' in Slovakia. Western Ukrainian separatism is being encouraged," wrote Viktor Ilyukhin in a press release distributed at the Duma.

But it seems that Ilyukhin was right on the money, and the retrospectively the westerner has been proved a deceptive tool and nothing more.

CubuCoko said...

"Moscow Times" is an Imperial propaganda outfit, so it makes perfect sense for them to mock the truth. How often have they been right? Almost never. And was Ilyukhin right? Absolutely. There's the only test one needs to gauge credibility.

Also, not sure why you think the "West" will win this one. Everything I see points otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Blackwater, US mercenaries, in eastern Ukraine? (video 3rd march)

They are definitely not an (unarmed) OSCE mission which started 5th march:

Blackwater sniper in action (Iraq):

Blackwater 3rd party at the Maidan?

Unknown said...

i have prepared myself for both scenarios.

Regardless the result, the hatred and aggression by the west is still there, and enough of a reason to be pessimistic and sad.

Hatred creates sadness regardless the originator or the recipient.

Meezer said...

This is 1 of the things that West overlooks:

“Today, March 7, is the deadline for making a payment for the February gas supplies to Ukraine,” Miller told journalists on Friday, adding that Gazprom has not received payment on account.

“Given the discount for the first quarter the outstanding debt has increased to $1.89 billion,” Miller added.

“Factually it means that Ukraine has stopped paying for gas. This contravenes the contract terms and international trade practice. But we can’t deliver gas for free”.

If Ukraine doesn’t pay its bills it risks plunging into a crisis similar to the one in 2009, Miller warned.

I would turn the spigot of the fascists in Kiev first, then give ole Merkel a little taste of it as well. They all fold like a cheap tent. :)

Meezer said...

I guess Putin is on it:

Meezer said...

This is getting more interesting.

India sides with Russia over Ukraine crisis:

Anonymous said...

Those Banderists (including Tymoshenko and Klichko) want NATO to get involved in the upcoming war, perhaps after staging a false flag attack on NATO?!

The Ukrainian military is mobilizing for an attack on Crimea, perhaps on march 16th the day of the referendum?!

March 16th, referendum in Crimea and elections in Serbia! Coincidence?

Aleks said...


You've received attention from Florian Bieber, one of the official propagandists over at that scion of foreign funded Balkan Insight, formerly BIRN Balkan Investigative Report Network;

It always amuses me the absolute righteousness of self-proclaimed 'experts' possess when they themselves exist in such a narrow minded world that exactly mirrors the West's narrative on everything.

CubuCoko said...

Florian who?

Aleks said...

He's the new breed of empire warrior (Prof. for Centre for Southeast European Studies, Uni. of Graz) who makes a career for himself as an 'expert' who did Balkan Studies and other such 'qualifications', a perfect parrot for the empire's received narrative that must not be questioned or changed.

He pops up all over the place and is slowly being picked up as some kind of neutral and unbiased balkan academic, not tainted from actually being from the balkans, just an austrian. Looking at his limited blogroll (Greater Surbiton - they guys who tried to slander you before if I recall correctly - for example) tells you all you need to know about which side of the bread he likes his butter.

CubuCoko said...

Ah, one of the "look at my academic credentials! now let met tell you why Serbs are just evil" crew. If so, then I'll take his mention of me as a point of honor.

I also suppose the hysterical reaction of such ankle-biters to the book means it hit a nerve. Good.