Shamed RT strikes back and makes us famous
In the previous issue, we highlighted the importance of naming and shaming those who regularly appear in Russian media. Because we think it is important to set the agenda for change, we published a report on RT “The Kremlin’s Platform for ‘Useful Idiots’ in the West: An Overview of RT’s Editorial Strategy and Evidence of Impact”, that addresses (among other things) the problem of legitimization by Western voices. The Report is accompanied with an appendix document, the RT Guest List, the purpose of which is not to assess the merit of individual appearances, but rather illustrate the scope of the problem.
With respect to this matter, the essence of our argument is this: appearing on RT is not harmless; it enables and legitimates RT’s subversive agenda. RT is not a neutral platform where one can present a given message on one’s own terms. The opposite is true: RT operates on a mandate that is fundamentally hostile to Western liberal democratic interests, and any content it airs, regardless of the source, is calibrated to advance that agenda. It is therefore impossible to appear on RT without being ultimately complicit in its efforts to undermine Western democracy and pollute the information space.
RT reacted immediately and hysterically, both in an article and feature video. The network recruited the help of a British environmental activist and social justice campaigner, George Barda, who called the report “disappointing” and “a piece of propaganda.” Is George on the list? RT furthermore employed classic deflection tactics, fixating on minor editorial errors in the list to suggest its compilation was sloppy, and hyperbolized the claims of the report itself, refusing to engage with any of the arguments and instead simplifying them to allow for easy, lowbrow rebuttal. We extend our gratitude to RT for perfectly affirming every point made in our report!