Top 10 Russophobes of 2018: See who made RT’s prestigious list this year
It's that special time of year when RT names the top 10 Russophobes of the last 12 months. The prestigious list is made up of those who RT believes have contributed to and benefited the most from the thriving world of Russophobia.
First a note on a few of those who have fallen off the list since 2017. RIP to last year’s inaugural winner, John McCain, who passed away earlier this year due to natural causes. The list won’t be the same without him.
Also failing to make the cut this year are the likes of Louise Mensch and Molly McKew. Last year, their overblown hysterics really stood out from the crowd. However, 12 months on, the rest of the world’s Russophobes have caught up. They’ve had their time.
So here are 2018’s Top 10 Russophobes:
1. The Atlantic Council – the Russophobe think tank
The Atlantic Council describes itself as a non-partisan think tank, but anyone else with eyes and the ability to read describes it as NATO. Yep, this NATO-funded group of 'thinkers' spends its time fighting what it calls Russian propaganda, by spewing out propaganda of its own.
A prime example of the expertise it offers comes in the form of Ben Nimmo, a 'Digital Forensic Research Analyst,' which is a fancy way of saying he gets paid to read Twitter. His specialism includes incorrectly identifying 'Kremlin trolls' and refusing to admit he's wrong when they turn out to be retired British pensioners with a non-mainstream view of the world.
Basically, if you spot an anti-Russia “analyst” in the media, there's a very good chance you'll find them on the Atlantic Council's payroll as well.
2. Conservative Party – elected Russophobes
In the wake of the Skripal poisonings in Salisbury, tension between governments is perhaps inevitable but Britain's Conservative Party has really embraced it. Boris, Tugendhat, May – they've all reveled in some anti-Russia rhetoric, but Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson has really gone for it. Highlights from potty mouthed Williamson include diplomatically telling Russia to "go away and shut up," and accusing Moscow of planning "thousands and thousands and thousands" of murders in Britain.
Of course, the Tory party can control its Russophobia when it comes to Russians giving them financial donations!
3. Rachel Maddow – Russophobia gone Madd
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is making Russophobia work for her. An "all roads lead to Moscow" style of presenting, heavily concentrating on fake news and conspiracy about Russia has seen her ratings soar. A real highlight is when she claimed that Russia is the main beneficiary of good relations between nuclear powers the US and North Korea simply because it shares a border with the North. Her paranoia-led '2 +2=5' method of analysis is something to behold. “Every day I leave my show and I think I'm going to be talking about something else,” Maddow has said, lamenting her obsession with Russia. Breaking news: You choose the stories Rach! Yep, she's totally Mad-dow.
4. The Skripal Pundits – Russophobes for hire
The Skripal poisonings were bad for Salisbury, but good for the handful of rent-a-quote analysts who have cornered the UK media, thanks to a general ignorance about Russia. They're available to condemn Russia with the usual cliches and conspiracies at any given moment, 24 hours a day. Ed Lucas, Anne Applebaum (congrats guys, you made it again), Nimmo, Andrew Foxall etc. – just remember the old adage: if you don't have anything nice to say…
5. UK Fake News Inquiry – Russophobia by committee
The UK parliamentary inquiry into fake news was absolutely hell-bent on proving its predetermined conclusion that Russian interference was to blame for Brexit, call it "Hillary syndrome" if you like. When Facebook and Twitter told the head of the inquiry, Damian Collins MP, that they could find no evidence of any kind of systematic Russian interference through social media, he just kept asking them, and they just kept not finding anything.
In the end, the committee of British MPs simply published their report using information gathered by a little-known organization which refused to release its data or its methods. Great work all round.
6. Michael McFaul – diplomatic Russophobe
Former US ambassador to Russia, Michael 'I love the Russian people' McFaul, has been extremely visible this year, especially when he was busy playing the drama queen and pretending Donald Trump may be planning to have him packed off to Moscow to face "questioning." For someone who claims to be a Russophile, he hasn't got much positive to say. "The United States does not NEED Russia for anything," he tweeted back in July. However, Mike McFaul NEEDS Russia, because he's spent recent months trying to sell a book on the subject. That happens a lot with Russophobes, you'll find.
7. Daily Beast – Russophobia as journalism
The Daily Beast takes over from last year's entry, Buzzfeed, thanks to its dedication to over-the-top rabid Russophobia posing as journalism – but then it is the home of Michael Weiss, who if you're interested you'll find on the Atlantic Council website too. Some scaremongering highlights from the Daily Beast in recent weeks include ‘How Russia keeps exploiting American white supremacy,’ ‘Russia's cyberattacks aren't meddling, they're acts of war,’ ‘Russia is running an actual contest to troll the world,’ and 'Researchers: No evidence that Russia is messing with campaign 2018 – yet' etc. etc.… you get the point.
8. Hillary Clinton – bad loser Russophobe
Hillary moves down the list from last year, but she's still hanging in there because her dedication to blaming everything bad that has happened to her on Russia can't be ignored. During a speech at Yale, she trolled Trump by wearing a Russian hat (so is she a Russian troll?), and she still believes Russia is largely responsible for her not becoming president. Then again, I suppose the alternative reason (the voters didn't like you) is tough to accept for a Washington ego that size!
9. Bill Browder – not for profit Russophobe
William Browder, Bill to his friends, has used the fallout over the Salisbury poisoning to its full advantage in his global push for a Magnitsky Act that seeks sanctions against various Russians. But then again, he's no stranger to taking advantage of a crisis, and he gleefully made millions during Russia's chaotic and devastating 'shock therapy' in the 1990s. Back when he was making cash, Browder was extremely friendly to anyone who spoke Russian and had a ruble to invest. Since being accused of tax fraud in Russia, he has rebranded himself as “Putin's number-one enemy.” Oh yeah, he's got a book to sell too. He deserves to be on this list, and boy isn't it going to make him happy.
10. Justin Trudeau – bandwagon Russophobe
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be a surprise entry to many. Sure, he's jumped on the bandwagon and made the usual allegations of meddling and election interference against Russia, saying it faces "real consequences," but then again, who hasn't this year? The thing is though, Trudeau literally pretends to like everyone and everything, so from him, that kind of criticism really hurts.
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