Today Russia Today (RT), part of the official Russian propaganda service, accused the US Department of State of putting out propaganda.
In a piece entitled “‘State Dept aspires to be news agency packaging propaganda messages’“, RT has the audacity to accuse the US Department of State of wanting to be a news agency.
“Media critic Danny Schechter” responded to a series of questions from RT. Who, we never find out but someone at RT. During the interview, Mr. Schechter does not seem to understand the mission of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, but he still talks about a subject that he seems to know nothing about. He does not understand Public Diplomacy or the missions that State inherited from the US Information Agency (USIA) when it was dissolved in 1999.
For you, gentle reader, When the USIA was dissolved, it was split into basically two pieces. Part of USIA formed what is now called the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the BBG, who oversee VOA, RFE/RL, RFA, MEBN, Radio Marti and other international broadcasting bureaus – their mission is to broadcast “fair and objective” reporting to what I called ‘denied areas’, such as Russia – where the media is state controlled – not free. The other parts of USIA went to the US Department of State, including personnel slots, money and missions, to the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, nicknamed R. What they do is clearly outlined on their home page.
Here is a video that the US Department of State recently produced:
The video is professionally produced. It is cool, calm, not accusatory and focused. If I was responsible for that video, I’d be proud to lay claim.
About the video, RT actually says “blaming Russia for the whole crisis.” Every fiber in my being is fighting the urge to say “Well, duh.”
In order to calm down I must remember how Russian propaganda works. There is the official Russian news agency, Rossiya Segodnya, which is Ria Novosti combined with Voice of Russia.
Then we have RT. Here is what Wikipedia says.
Western media perception of the network ranges from having a clear pro-Russian perspective, to having a strong pro-Russian bias, to being a propaganda outlet for the Russian government.
Schechter continues taking an obviouisly extremely skewed perspective and accuses State of omission, he throws in the CIA, fascism, he even uses the propaganda word.
Please don’t forget, RT is the place where two news anchors recently and very publicly quit. They could no longer distort the stories and broadcast lies. I haven’t seen that anyplace in the US, have you? RFE/RL? Nope. Voice of America? Nope. I haven’t seen any protests in the US about lies, controlling the media or manipulating the truth. Nope.
We do not see a lot of truth-telling from RT. The State Department, however, released a fact sheet, here, and a second fact sheet here. Facts, Mr. Schechter, not lies like we consistently see on RT. If you don’t believe me, go to my blog and scroll down. There are plenty of examples there.
At the very end of the piece there is a disclaimer: “The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.” Problem is, no author is named. Another mistake or did you leave out his or her name on purpose? Journalism 101, RT. You need to consider firing another group of editors and try being professional. For a change.