Putin & Russia ‘hysteria’ help to sell copies of Western media – Spectator editor to RT
The Spectator ran two articles on Russia in its latest issue, with the first piece by Paul Wood speculating if Moscow was trying to trick the world into thinking it is planning an invasion of the Baltic States.
In the second entry, Rod Liddle urged the West to stop saber rattling against Russia, and suggested that Putin is on top in the propaganda war.
“Our readers are very interested in Putin,” Gray told RT. “We have two articles in this issue that look at the matter of Putin, the matter of the Baltic States and also Syria, and, generally, the Western hysteria towards Russia, which we, in the office, all feel is very unhelpful to the West. It’s obviously a good selling subject for us, but it doesn’t mean that we’re covering it in a biased way.”
According to him, The Spectator finds itself in a unique position of “not being Russophobic, but also not being Russophilic.”
The British journalist said the Western “hysteria” about Russia can be explained by “some deep psychic need for an enemy, which Putin is filling very neatly for us at the moment.”
“A lot of it might be to do with the American election. Hillary Clinton is going to come in very soon, it looks like,” he said.
Gray added that “American and British hawks are getting hysterical” due to Clinton being one of the people who are whipping up aggression against Putin.
As for the leaks of the DNC and Podesta emails, the Clinton team “are very, very keen to pin the blame on Russia as the [releases by] WikiLeaks are embarrassing to the Democrats. So, if they can say that: ‘Nobody should be talking about this. We shouldn’t give the enemy an advantage,’ obviously that’s advantageous to them,” he said.
He stressed that when it comes to cyber security “there does seem to be quite a lot of activity coming from Russia,” but added that the West has no concrete proof against Moscow.
Claims that the Russian government is somehow meddling with the outcome of the US presidential election are a manifestation of the same hysteria, Gray said.
The journalist predicted that after all of Clinton’s rhetoric about Russia “there’s going to be some kind of showdown over the no-fly zone in Syria. And that’s’ a very frightening prospect.”
He said it’s “silly on our part to provoke Putin,” adding that the Russian leader is “going to advance Russia’s national interest and that may mean some sort of confrontation in eastern Europe.”
Gray expressed the belief that “the more people that can say how hysterical we’re being in the West [about Russia] – the better. And that we were trying to do this week in The Spectator.’”
He also commented on the recent attempt to close RT’s bank accounts in UK, saying that such developments pose a “great danger.”
“We’re so afraid of these threats to our free society from the East that we’re actually in danger of not being a free society ourselves… I think you do spread propaganda on your channel. I think you do. But we’re a free society and we should allow you to do it,” he said.
According to The Spectator deputy editor, Russia and Putin are “winning the information war. It seems his propaganda is rather superior to ours. And we seem to be losing on many fronts.”
When asked about the different tone in which the Western media covers similar operations in Mosul by the US-led coalition in Iraq and in Aleppo by Russia in Syria, he said that “there are huge double standards in Western media. There are huge double standards in Eastern media, I’m sure. And even on such an honest channel as RT.”
“There’s double standards in Yemen too. The [UK] government doesn’t speak up as much about what’s happening in Yemen because Saudi Arabia… is, of course, an ally,” Gray said.
However, the problem with the situation in the West is that “we aren’t that aware of our double standards” and something should be done about that, he said.