‘McCarthyism on steroids’: US war on Russian media won’t stop with branding RT foreign agent

Washington’s ultimatum for RT America to register as a foreign agent is a “significant escalation of the war launched against Russian media” which only demonstrates how desperate the US establishment has become, British media expert Neil Clark believes.

“It’s quite outrageous that they are having to go back to a piece of legislation that was designed to deal with Nazi propaganda, that’s how desperate they got,” journalist and writer Neil Clark told RT. On Thursday, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) issued an ultimatum, giving the company which supplies services to RT America until November 13 to register as a foreign agent. The channel’s head faces arrest if the broadcaster does not comply with the cited 1938 legislation, the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

“What they can't do in America at the moment is literally just take RT off air. They’d love to do that, but that would cause such a scandal,” the expert pointed out, saying the unfolding situation is a test to US democracy. While shutting down the Russian channel would be a violation of the First Amendment to the US Constitution – protecting basic human rights and social freedoms – those behind the DOJ order “are looking for backdoor ways of increasing the pressure” on Moscow, he said.

“RT is not a foreign agent, the head of RT America is not a foreign agent, who is pushing for this? It’s the endless neocon war lobby in America, the Iraq war brigade and they are angry because RT has a growing audience share in America and around the world. RT puts a different narrative out to the war party narrative on issues like the Syrian conflict, for example. So I think these warmongers in the US are very angry that RT has been so successful,” Clark explained. “I think we can really call it McCarthyism on steroids now.”

Arguing that complying with the order would not relieve the pressure on the channel, Clark said, “I think it would be wholly wrong for the head of RT America to actually comply with this… To do so would not be the end of it, it would be humiliating for RT... And that would only escalate the campaign against RT. If the Americans push this and actually arrest the head of RT in America, think what a huge scandal this would be, what would happen to the First Amendment.”

READ MORE: Russia will implement retaliatory measures over US actions against RT next week

“Then anybody will see for themselves what a sham this so-called land of the free really is,” Clark went on. He reckons the best scenario for Moscow would be to have “all American journalists who work for CNN” in Russia registered as foreign agents. 

The West has for months been “consistently” trying “to silence the news channel,” Clark said, adding, that he himself along with other commentators who appear on RT “are accused of all sorts of things.”

“I only wish RT have been around in 2002 and 2003 in the lead up to the Iraq war. Think of the lies we were told then by the so-called mainstream media channels about Iraq having WMDs – and what was the result of war in which one million people died,” he said. With RT around “it’s much harder for these neocons to sell their war to the public and that's why they want to take it off air.”