Her first “story” for RT was to complain that Western governments have a “habit of lashing out at other countries for not listening to their people, while blithely ignoring public opinion on their own doorsteps.”
Russia Today has been described by Konstantin Preobrazhensky, himself a former Soviet KGB officer who defected to the West, as “a part of the Russian industry of misinformation and manipulation” designed to mislead foreign audiences about Russian intentions. He says Russia Today television utilizes methods of propaganda that are managed by Directorate “A” of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. He explains, “The specialty of Directorate ‘A’ is deceiving world public opinion and manipulating it. It has got a lot of experience over decades of the Cold War.”
In trying to attract and confuse an American audience, RT regularly features Marxist and radical commentators in the U.S. such as Noam Chomsky, Gloria La Riva of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and 9/11 “inside job” advocate and radio host Alex Jones.
Jones, who describes himself as “a loyal American who loves my country,” has appeared regularly on RT to denounce U.S. foreign policy and even to defend Russia’s invasion of Georgia.
All of this plays into Moscow’s hands. As we noted in a previous column, “It is preferable, for Russian propaganda purposes, to use foreigners, especially Americans, to make your propaganda points.”
The American Marine Veteran, Adam Kokesh, seems to fit the bill, having emerged as an anti-war activist who ran as a Republican for Congress and supported Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) for president. He has described himself as part of the “G.I. Resistance movement” and opposes paying federal income taxes for “unconstitutional government.” He is also part of a movement known as “slave uprising” that works to “fight fascism” in the U.S.
A member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, he calls the U.S. troop presence in Iraq an “occupation” and says “the greatest enemies of the constitution are not to be found in the sands of some far-off land but right here at home.”
On March 19, 2008, in front of the White House, he called for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Appearing on RT after Obama’s election, Kokesh said that the Democratic President is pursuing “the same destructive policy” as Bush.
Nena Bartlett has herself been featured on RT as an “academic expert” and independent blogger. Additional affiliations include being a representative of the Republican Liberty Caucus in Washington, D.C. and the local Tea Party.
The channel, which wants to be known simply as “RT” in order to mask the Russian connection, has run controversial advertisements that have featured images of Soviet dictator and mass murderer Joseph Stalin. The creator of the ads—and the channel itself—was Mikhail Lesin, the former press minister and media advisor to Vladimir Putin when he was president of Russia. Putin now serves as Prime Minister.
The London Sunday Times reported in 2009 that Lesin has been “credited with the idea of establishing” Russia Today and that “He said at the launch of the service four years ago that Russia had to polish its international image or ‘we’ll always look like bears.’”
In the U.S., RT is broadcast by MHz networks, a division of Commonwealth Public Broadcasting, and available through 30 public TV stations and Comcast cable in the Washington, D.C. and other big city metro areas. Commonwealth Public Broadcasting receives over $2 million a year in federal and state subsidies
Bartlett defended the program, saying that while Kokesh is being paid by Moscow, he has “editorial control,” a one-year contract, and is free to criticize the Russian government. Previous TV appearances by Kokesh have included the Fox News “Freedom Watch” show hosted by Andrew Napolitano.
A news release about the new program that includes Bartlett as the press contact describes RT as the “International Emmy-nominated news channel” but makes no mention of its funding by the Moscow regime.
Margarita Simonyan, RT editor-in-chief, is quoted as saying that, “RT has become a major player in the battle for information in recent years.”