‘Report listing RT’s guests is designed to intimidate'
The group, called “European Values Think-Tank,” released a supposedly damning report about RT, criticizing over 2,300 experts who shared their views on the channel.
The institute, which receives funding from the US and other Western governments, called RT’s guests “useful idiots,” to borrow from a famous quote from Communist leader Vladimir Lenin.
Ironically, the list included the names of many figures known as harsh critics of Russia, including Republican Senator John McCain; film director Rob Reiner, a member of the Committee to Investigate Russia; and even former First Lady Michelle Obama.
RT: What do you make of this report? Are our guests “useful idiots,” in your opinion?
Daniel McAdams: I was looking through the list of guests who are "Russian dupes" and I see Dick Cheney, I see Joe Lieberman, I see Lindsey Graham, I see Michael Morell… So, the Russians agents are at very top of the US government. Even the leading anti-Russia figures are in fact Russian agents. I think we must hide under our beds because it is terrifying.
But I would say more seriously, what this is – [it’s] an attempt to stifle any views that go outside the accepted US neocon foreign policy of intervention. It is ironic that it is a Czech think tank doing this. This well may have come out from the old StB – the old Czechoslovakian intelligence service, which did its best to keep Czechs from hearing any kind of foreign policy information that deviated from their own government’s communist line. This sounds a lot like that.
RT: Do you think some guests might be deterred from appearing on RT?
DM: I think that is the intent. Let’s look at this: the reason I made a point of it earlier on the guests they had – this is not designed to inform individuals; this is not designed to inform – it is designed to propagandize, it is designed to intimidate; it is designed to isolate. I am certainly not here to defend RT. I am not here to defend Russia. What I am here to defend, though, is the marketplace of ideas.
RT provides a platform for individuals who do not buy into the neocon US foreign policy line to have a voice. I have never been asked at RT what I am going to say beforehand. Any time I’ve gone on the mainstream media, or attempted to, I have a long, sometimes 20- or 30-minute, interview beforehand, and often I am told my comments are not needed.
So, what we need in a free society is a marketplace of ideas that you maybe disagree with, but you should have the right to hear. How ironic that the United States government is funding an organization that is restricting the Americans’ ability to hear different views outside the US government view.
Annie Machon, former MI5 officer: 'It's a badge of honor'
RT: You're a regular guest on RT. How do you feel about being described in the report as a "useful idiot"?
Annie Machon: I think we should wear it as a badge of honor, because it shows that there is a group of people out there, who are not afraid to challenge the Western consensus – perhaps we should have a club, who knows. I would say, though, more seriously, that I have been appearing on mainstream media news outlets for the last 20 years around the planet, and my perspective, my stance has remained absolutely resolute and absolutely the same. I have the same respective, same opinions on all sorts of different outlets. And it is only when I appear on RT that apparently I am now deemed to be a “useful idiot.”
I would also say, as well, that RT is one of the very few TV channels that, when it invites me on to do an interview, they do not insist on a pre-interview to censor and vet what I might be about to say. Many other TV channels do, because they are scared and they want to make sure that they are in control of what their guests are saying. Yet, I still appear on many other TV channels. Perhaps what I am saying is not being Putin’s “useful idiot,” perhaps it is just an alternative perspective that people need to hear.
RT: The report says our guests "undermine Western democracy" and "pollute the information space." Is that what you're up to when you're on the air with us?
AM: Absolutely not. I am trying to put forward my perspective, my opinions, based on 25 years of expertise within certain fields, and I feel I do that professionally. Obviously other news outlets feel I do it professionally too, because I get re-invited back to all of those, too. So, it is just a case of freedom of expression.
‘Propaganda campaign by European Values’: Paul Vallely, retired US army general
RT: Your name is among those on the list. How do you feel about being described in the report as a “useful idiot”?
Paul Vallely: It seems like a propaganda campaign by “European Values,” whatever European values means today. I was with Fox News for eight years. I probably have done many thousands of shows and interviews on national security, military and so on, but I’ve never been called a “useful idiot.” I am sure they wouldn’t bring me back on if I was an idiot. It’s ridiculous.
The worst of Times: Establishment paper keeps up attack on RT over London tube ads. https://t.co/6YyUcU8uHV— RT UK (@RTUKnews) October 19, 2017
RT: Why is there so much Western governmental pressure on RT right now?
Paul Vallely: I think it goes back to this whole conundrum that’s been developed in the US as the result of our election – trying to blame Russia for everything, when there is nothing, no factual information that has come out at all. It is being reversed now – whether they’re looking at the Clinton Foundation and their collusion with the Iranian report, Uranium One. But I think all of this from the press standpoint – it is a way for them to attack Russia all the time, always for the most case unfounded – the same thing with US politicians attacking Russia. I have researched all of these cases, and I have seen no collusion; I have seen no developmental things by the Russian government or Putin to attack Europe, their leaders, or President Trump. All this is very unfounded and unnecessary.
RT: The think tank that published the report is sponsored by, among others, the US Embassy in the Czech Republic. Does that expose it to the charge of bias?
PV: It probably does. Especially if you put George Soros’s name up there, which is very anti-American, very anti-Trump – certainly not loved by anybody in Europe; but anything they fund seems to be targeted on bringing down governments and attacking even legitimate governments.