Saturday, June 18, 2011

Is Russia Today a mouthpiece of the Kremlin?

I come upon this news service, Russia Today (RT), thinking it showed views other news didn't show. However, I was reading an article and from its conclusions I decided to look into the bias of the news channel. The description of their channel already shows their perspective: "RT is the first Russian 24/7 English-language news channel which brings the Russian view on global news" (from their official site.). Some argue what is said on this news channel is in line with the Russian government and the Kremlin.

Its hard to find articles that articulate RT's bias, but there is a few, such as Rightside News. In a long, almost angry rant against the owner of RT (Adam Kohesh), Rightside News says Russia Today serves interests of the Kremlin. They stated, “A closer look at the Moscow-funded Russia Today television channel...reveals some interesting and disturbing corporate and foreign intelligence connections...Russia Today....regularly features Marxist groups on the air...western intelligence services have been wary about Russia Today’s correspondents.” I looked into the claims made against RT by doing a thorough investigation.Link
I started with article titles. Some were very critical of America, while others weren’t. The ones that critiqued the U.S. were made everything seem like a crisis or that everything was lost:
- Headline-grabbing gossip replaces news in US
- Panetta may be just like Gates
- US must make cuts or risk economic failureLink
The title I found the most strange and peculiar was: Bush, Cheney listed alongside Hitler, Bin Laden. That seems a bit extreme. I know Bush and Cheney expediated the decline of the American federal republic, but I wouldn’t say they compare equally to Hitler or Bin Laden. In some ways they are comparable but in other ways they are not. But, every news source has a unfairness to it, so that’s not that extreme. However, more of their headlines showed that everything was crisis:
- Former colonel convicted of killing girl in Chechnya, shot dead in Moscow
- Bilderberg meets amid growing global strife
- Fukushima disaster drives into Ukraine

It’s those key words that clued me in that something could be very prejudice in their articles. It’s also possible they are like the U.S. news media that show their biases with flying colors. I kept digging deeper to see if it really was related to the Kremlin or if they are outwardly bias. Looking into what guests come on their TV network could show the opinion of this news organization.
Guests on Russia Today’s program in the past week, according to their youtube page. I added quotes next to each person on the list [Radical= Name bolded]:
- Saifedean Ammous (Quote from his personal blog: “Israel already has destroyed Palestine. Israel is the aggressor and occupier here. Israel is the result of a Zionist project whose stated aim is to destroy the livelihood of Palestinians who do not belong to the Jewish religion. Israel has ethnically cleansed more than a million Palestinians from their homes over the years, murdered tens of thousands, and made freedom and self-determination impossible for all Palestinians everywhere.”)
- Nigel Farage (Zero "The Euro Game Is Up... Just Who The Hell Do You Think You Are? You Are Very Dangerous People”)
- Ali Ashgar Soltanieh (National Post: [“The IAEA chief] is not doing his job. Instead, with his reports, he is paving the way for more confrontation between member states.”)
- Cynthia McKinney (twice) (Boycott "We know there were numerous warnings of the events to come on September 11th. What did this administration know and when did it know it, about the events of September 11th? Who else knew, and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered? What do they have to hide?")
- Michael O'Brien ( "Until recently, he has mainly written about the intellectual culture of the American South, both in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: its literature, political philosophy, historical imagination, and sense of self, as it has been formed by local social experience and interactions with other cultures.”)
- Gennady Litvin (from Litivin Law firm video: “We’re being told the economy is starting to rebuild itself? We’re being told the market’s turning around, people are getting jobs again, people are making jobs again but it’s being reported by the news agencies that this year [2011] is going to be the biggest year for foreclosure sales ever. Why is that? Basically cause the banks are behind on their work.”)
- Richard Wolf (From his official website: “The unstable alliance of the Tea Party and corporate America will unravel. Then the left must provide an alternative to austerity.”)
- Tony Gosling (on his page on his site about the Bilderberg Group: “World Government is moving closer all the time - and what's the chance that it will serve the people? Zero! And hardly anybody tells the public or dares to talk about how totalitarian the European Union is. We could be in for some serious skullduggery in coming years/months. A political/financial crisis, combined with spiritual disinformation could push us into a Fourth Reich, New World Order, with an official world religion that claims to represent ALL religions. This is what Prince Charles is advocating NOW. Powerful people will certainly be preparing their version of a spiritual 'panacea' to fill the spiritual gap THEY have created.”)
- Rick Falkvinge (From a recent article: “The United States is utterly bankrupt and has been living off of borrowed money since 1971, when it defaulted on its loans — though of course, it wasn’t worded like that. Not even an income tax of 100% is enough to cover the expenses, and the US is about to go the way of the Soviet Union… The world has been buying IOUs without coverage to maintain the value of the previous IOUs, with no other creditworthiness than an assumption that the US will pay back some day. That day is not going to come, and we’re all going to be poor for a while.”)
- Alexander Cockburn (from an interview in 2005: “Yeah, globalism is great. It's been going on for hundreds of years. Oh yeah, I'm against globalism of the bad sort: some company in America going and screwing people in the Third World and not paying them properly.”)
- Patrick Henningsen (from article about Bin Laden: “If you have been paying attention to this story over the last 8 years, then it’s not very difficult to predict this. If you apply basic common sense, the evidence weighs in favour of Osama bin Laden having died years ago. Or you can choose to believe the Hollywood version of events that we have been fed over the years, one which requires no effort.”)
- Mikhail Margelov (from Global Zero: “For more than half of a century, nuclear weapons have coexisted with us and remained the most powerful means of destruction. The “Club of Nuclear Powers” has been steadily joined by new members of whom not all can boast of internal stability or absence of conflict with neighbor-countries. Moreover, the weapons can fall into the hands of terrorists.”)
- Jean Bricmont (from MRZINE: “The first observation is that military interventions are not due to human rights rhetoric but to the decision, by the leaders of the countries that have the power and the means to intervene, to do so. Given the way the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been going, I do not expect the US to launch new wars in the near future, except possibly with Iran. But the human rights rhetoric will continue as a way to demonize countries whose governments are too independent from the West, like Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, China etc. It will not necessarily lead to wars, but maintain a climate of hostility and distrust.”)
- Markus Kerber: (EurActiv: “Those who spit on the rules governing European Monetary Union will lose eventually.”)
- Afshin Rattansi (Counterpunch: “For some reason, not one journalist saw fit to attend a gathering of those interested in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – or drones – at the plush Waldorf Hilton in central London. Except me and my cameraman. Perhaps one shouldn’t be surprised. The corporate media doesn’t seem too interested in the so-called surgical strikes carried out by the U.S. Air force as they buzz around the skies of Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”)
- Klaus Peter Koltermann (ozconspiracyhouse: “The [nuclear power plants in Japan] will…affect the coastline, where people live, where ports are, where railroads are, where tourism is developing. And here the direct assessment includes how this will happen, how large it will be and how much the damage will be. So we can advise for the governments’ and authorities’ planning how much the protection and preparation should be.”)
- Peter Schiff (from Euro Pacific Capital: “Economic data over the past weeks, punctuated by last week's dismal employment reports, confirm the diminishing impact of the stimulus efforts orchestrated by the Obama Administration and the Federal Reserve. In what must be a huge disappointment to Keynesian enthusiasts, the record doses of both monetary and fiscal narcotics did not produce the desired results. In fact, the size and scope of the "recovery" of the past two years was weaker than would have been expected in a typical business cycle recovery without any stimulus whatsoever. Indeed our current recovery is the weakest on record, despite the biggest jolt of government stimulus ever administered.”)
- Vladmir Katalov (Question asked on website—What do you see as the biggest security threats today? Mr. Katalov’s response: “It is definitely a human factor. There are a lot of technical measures today: you can install the words' best firewall, antivirus, anti-spyware; implement an extremely good security policy; provide a few complex levels of authentication to protect your critical data -- and still do not get the appropriate security level simply because the human nature remains the same, most of today's attacks are still based just on that.”)
- Dmitry Maslennikov ( “We can forget about the idea of privacy altogether. Whenever you go on the internet, you are already revealing everything about yourself. And it is becoming that way with using your phone.”)
- Vitaly Churkin (Charlie Rose’s interview: “We need to think about the peaceful transformation [and]…reforms in Syria…and be mindful of the instability…we know there is some destructive elements of the [Syrian] opposition…[Assad’s regime has enacted reforms for his people in Syria]…our idea in [Libya] is that there must be a ceasefire as soon as possible because it can produce a situation where civilians will no longer suffer. Then there can be political process…[The United States and Russia] are cooperating on Iran…We are trying to help the Israelis and the Palestinians move toward peace in the region…[The next Russian election] might [see a contest between the President and Prime Minister].”)
- Jean Bricmont (Counterpunch: “All the ideological signposts for attacking Iran are in place. The country has been thoroughly demonized because it is not nice to women, to gays, or to Jews. That in itself is enough to neutralize a large part of the American “left” [that would champion]…the right of intervention on humanitarian grounds anywhere, at any time…Israel and its fanatical American supporters want Iran attacked for its political crimes--supporting the rights of the Palestinians, or questioning the Holocaust. Both U.S. political parties are equally under the control of the Israel lobby, and so are the media.”)
- Max Keiser (from his website: “Gold remains close to record nominal highs in all major currencies but media coverage in the UK, Ireland and Europe remains minimal and skeptical.”)
- Michel Chossudovsky (from globalresearch: “While the US Congress questions the legitimacy of the war on Libya, the Canadian parliament with one dissenting voice, votes in favor of extending Canada's participation in an illegal and criminal military undertaking…The broader implications of this "humanitarian war” and Ottawa's role in the US-NATO military alliance, not to mention the cost of this military operation to Canadian taxpayers has been barely mentioned in Canada's media. The New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Bloc Quebecois, which claim to be "progressive' and “antiwar”, have given a blank cheque to the US-NATO sponsored war in North Africa.”)
- Chris Nineham (from Twitter feed: “New poll: 52% in Britain want troops out of Afghanistan NOW! Independent today… Stop the war coalition have called a national demonstration for troops out of Afghanistan on October 24. Start spreading the word.”)
- Hamid Gul (from one of Pakistan’s top Generals, Mr. Gul: “We are walking into an American trap [because 9/11 is a hoax].”)
- Adam Kohesh (from his twitter feed: “Fox News is owned by an Australian and a Saudi. No wonder they're so anti-American!”)
- Marc Almond (from his blog: “The humanitarian bombers are repeating the propaganda from their Kosovo intervention in 1999. Mass murder, government organised rape camps with mercenaries fired up on Viagra, and so on are the staples of Washington’s increasingly hysterical denunciations of Gaddafi as it turns out that his family has more support than the glib proponents of hellfire missiles as humanity’s preferred way to protect civilians would have had us believe.”)
- Matt Taibbi (from his Rolling Stone blog: “We justices of the Supreme Court of Assholedom had an extraordinarily difficult time adjudicating the case of New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, who in recent weeks has achieved incredible notoriety for … what exactly? Even defining the nature of this scandal is problematic; it is extremely difficult to distinguish here between what he actually did wrong, and what’s merely a luridly gripping tabloid crucifixion of a guy exhibiting run-of-the-mill mongo-horniness.”)
- Pepe Escobar (from Asia Times: “The House of Saud is showering billions of dollars on a "new Egypt", an imploding Yemen and a suddenly more useful Muslim Brotherhood as the great Arab revolt is smothered under a mountain of oil wealth. Washington has meanwhile granted its own loaded gifts to Cairo, while quietly working with Bahrain's crown prince on the Persian Gulf American satrapy.”)
- Seyed Mohammad Marandi (from Guernica Magazine: “When the U.S. is constantly trying to terrorize the nation with threats of war, students obviously take notice. When my nine-year-old-son, after watching the U.S. vice president talk on TV, sadly, asks me if the Americans are going to kill all of us, then one can expect students also to show an interest in current affairs.”)
- Conn Hallinan (From Foreign Policy in Focus: “On the surface, the recent turmoil in Teheran looks like a case of the clerical elite, led by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, slapping down an independent-minded President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, though the battle is couched in vocabulary that does more to obscure than to reveal… So far, the Revolutionary Guard has come down on the side of Khamenei and even issued a veiled warning to the president that it might consider releasing records from the disputed 2009 election that saw Ahmadinejad re-elected. For now, the Guard is only intervening discretely, concentrating instead on gathering greater economic power.”)
- Tariq Ali (From The Guardian: “Bin Laden had apparently been in a safe house near the Pakistan military academy for six years. Nobody believes this could have happened without the knowledge of senior intelligence officials. A meeting with one such person in 2006, which I recounted in my last book on Pakistan, confirmed that Bin Laden was in the country and being kept safe. The person concerned told me the Americans only wanted Bin Laden dead, but that it was in Pakistan's interest to keep him alive.”)
- James Corbett (From the Corbett Report: “The bin Laden family has had an intimate relationship with the upper reaches of global power politics for the past half a century…In the weeks after the attack, the Taliban offered to hand Bin Laden over if the US provided proof that he was connected to 9/11. Bush turned the offer down…The only thing we can say for certain is that the Osama Bin Laden character has now been disposed of in a far-fetched burial story only fitting of his cartoonish myth… But after finally waking from the 10 year nightmare of the Osama Bin Laden fable, are the public willing to go straight back to sleep? Or are they going to start questioning the official narratives that are cemented into place in the wake of every large-scale event…?”)

On the list above, I bolded the names of those I thought were radical. I combined the definitions of Webster’s New World Dictionary and Roget’s II Thesaurus. A radical is defined as: “Having political views that deviate from traditional beliefs; favoring fundamental or extreme change.” 15 of the guests fulfilled this definition and that’s 44% of the guests on the show! There is nothing wrong with radicals; it could just make the news channel bias toward the radicals. Although its not the majority of those the guests, it seems to influence the content of the news network (why else would they be allowed on the show?). Recently I has a back and forth conversation with someone about Russia Today.

I was searching around Twitter and I sent another user a message asking him about RT’s bias

Even though at a first glance it seems to prove Russia Today’s bias, it really didn’t prove anything and was circumstantial evidence. There wasn’t much else until I delved into their website even more. I went on the side of their homepage and found a poll. At first there seemed nothing wrong until you look at the options presented:

What’s interesting about the poll is that none of the options mentioned a cease-fire in Libya. Three of the four options I identified as “Western” positions on the Libya war (they have orange boxes around them). The first option would be a hawkish (pro-war) position for those who want to fight “terrorism” and want to gain more imperial power for their country and to dominate parts of the world. If the first option is put into place, there would be chaos across Libya and possibly a radical group could become the new leadership class of the country. The third option is a “Western” position of those called liberal constructionists or neoliberals in international politics that support the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine. If it is applied all around the world, it would justify interventions in any country at any time. The forth option would be a passive Westerner who doesn’t care about politics or world happenings at all. If everything stayed the same, it would most likely result in a stalemate and nothing would be accomplished from this unconstitutional -unlawful-costly war in Libya. The second option is only one that I believe would represent the point of view of the Russians. Russians believe the “Western” powers need to leave Libya so more civilians are not killed or injured unnecessarily (respectfully, some Americans also have this point of view). This poll criticizes those who live in “Western” countries (Western Europe, U.S. and Canada), especially American policy.

In conclusion, I have found Russia Today (RT) is not the mouthpiece of the Kremlin, but has anti-American sentiment. The guests on the shows aren’t radical for the most part (56% are not radical, 44% are), but that’s not the reason for the bias. At every chance the hosts of RT and its affiliates can, they paint America in crisis or in distress. Despite it seeming a good alternative to the flawed corporate media, it is really a news machine that wants to make Russia like the global crusader for good. It makes America look like the evil “global policeman” who wants to terrorize the world. Supposedly, according to RT, the United States of America a police state, but it’s never mentioned that the Russian Federation is even more corrupt because of the overarching control of the wealthy in the country. As a concerned citizen, I recommend you do not watch RT unless you want to become anti-American yourself and want a perspective of the news that is not fair and balanced, but is unfair and discriminatory.

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