State Dept disagrees with head of US state media over equation of RT with ISIS
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki does not agree with the newly-appointed chief of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), who put RT on the same challenge list as ISIS and Boko Haram.
“Would the US government put those three in the same category? No, we wouldn’t,” Psaki said at a briefing on Friday answering a questing posed by RT’s Gayane Chichakyan, related to the comments made by BBG head Andrew Lack.
Lack mentioned RT in an interview with The New York Times on Friday.
“We are facing a number of challenges from entities like Russia Today which is out there pushing a point of view, the Islamic State in the Middle East and groups like Boko Haram,” he said. “But I firmly believe that this agency has a role to play in facing those challenges.”
Psaki tried to explain the “concerns” the new chief of BBG was trying to express “which we agree with.”
#newsisnotterror When they start attacking you, you know they are worried. In depth reports & truth are the reason why RT has grown so much.— Brendan Bacon (@gomedia_ie) January 23, 2015
However, she stressed that “that wouldn’t be the way we would state it” referring to Lack’s listing RT as a challenge along with the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) and Boko Haram.
RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan called the association of an international news network with terrorist groups an “outrage.”
“We are extremely outraged that the new head of the BBG mentions RT in the same breath as world’s number one terrorist army,” said Simonyan. “We see this as an international scandal and demand an explanation.”
— Lionel (@LionelMedia) January 23, 2015
It is not the first time that RT has been attacked by US officials. Last year, US Secretary of State John Kerry lashed out at RT calling it a “propaganda bullhorn.”
— Gabriel Infante (@gabinfantemx) January 23, 2015
In turn, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov decried John Kerry’s comments about RT as having been “uncivilized” and “prosecutorial.”
“[The West] has been convinced for some time that it has a full monopoly on mass media,” he said. “Russia Today has won a large audience in the US and Western Europe, not to mention in Latin America and the Arab world,” he said.
“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” ― Mahatma Gandhi #NEWSISNOTTERROR
— Stevan Naylor (@nayls47) January 23, 2015
Meanwhile, back in 2011, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that the US was losing a media war against up-and-coming, alternative outlets like RT saying: “We are in an information war and we are losing that war.”