Load of bullhorn: RT pulls wool over Washington
What a difference a year makes. In 2014, US Secretary of State John Kerry slammed RT as a “propaganda bullhorn.” Earlier, Hillary Clinton warned RT was “winning the information war.” How did we fool them for so long?
Imagine. In these hyper-connected times, when every keyboard function is meticulously cached away for all eternity, the Western world somehow miscalculated the full global impact of RT, which, allegedly, was less than dazzling.
Yes, according to just-released information, the specter of RT being anything more than a comedic interlude on a media stage dominated by six huge, spotlight-hogging actors was sheer folly. Suddenly we had gone from being a major media contender to playing pimp on behalf of “metrosexuals, bums and earthquakes.”
That’s right, thanks to the crack hack work of one Katie Zavadski (the author of a number of journalistic gems, including “‘Terrorist’ Troll Pretended to Be ISIS, White Supremacist and Jewish Lawyer,” followed up by “Mosque Banned Her For Being Trans,” and who could ever forget “ISIS Recruit Sent to Quack Rehab”) over at The Daily Beast, there is really nothing left to do but throw up our Kremlin-controlled hands in collective defeat and confess it was all a sophisticated scam.
Dammit, Katie Zavadski, it was all going so splendidly!
The Moscow-based channel that humbly professed to “Question More” while the West’s media monsters were quietly colluding more, somehow managed to hoodwink even the highest echelons of the US government. Imagine our excitement when no less an honorable statesperson than Hillary Rodham Clinton fell right into our tangled web of deception.
In March 2011, the former US Secretary of State, in the no-nonsense manner of a headmistress at a reform school, broke the news to a congressional committee on foreign affairs that the US was losing “an information war” against an apparent axis of baddies.
“We are in an information war* and we are losing that war. Al Jazeera is winning, the Chinese have opened a global multi-language television network, the Russians have opened up an English-language network,” she told the hushed chamber of morose faces.
Clinton then proceeded to give RT perhaps its best Anglo-Saxon review - not to mention publicity - ever.
“I’ve seen it in a few countries, and it is quite instructive.”
Clearly, we were on the way to seizing the misty media mountaintops. Indeed, it was just a matter of time before every person on Planet Murdoch would be able to receive not just one canned media narrative on global issues, but two, three, even (gasp!) four. Dear reader! Who could blame us for having bright, colorful, three-dimensional daydreams in a world of monochromatic nightmares?!
But there were monsters under the bed that had no intention of loosening their iron grip on the hearts and minds of their captured audiences. That was because the United States, increasingly gung-ho on wanton military adventures, desperately wanted – nay, needed - a unilateral media voice to complement its unilateral military presence in hotspots around the world.
For example, when Victoria ‘F*ck the EU’ Nuland was caught in Kiev with her hand in the proverbial cookie jar, happily passing out political appointments like so many homemade pastries, that’s when things really started to get hot in the kitchen and the attacks on RT ratcheted all the way up to the highest levels.
“The propaganda bullhorn that is the state-sponsored RT program has been deployed to promote – actually, RT network – has been deployed to promote… what is playing out on the ground,” Secretary of State John Kerry declared in April 2014. He accused RT of “propagandizing and distorting what is happening, or not happening, in Ukraine.”
Now just imagine if the Ukraine uprising had occurred without the existence of an alternative media voice. Millions of people would have been forced to hear a homogenized version of the spiraling events – everything from the so-called “Russian invasion of Crimea” to the tragic downing of Malaysian flight MH17. But that's exactly the point. That’s the reason RT, with every breaking international news event, is coming under harsh attack.
With a veritable magazine rack of diverse views and opinions now available on the world's most pressing issues (many of which were directly instigated by US military interventions), there is the chance that the restless natives back home – who in the past were placated and sedated with upbeat news reports from compliant media franchises - will begin to question what the hell their government is really up to overseas. That's the last question that anybody in Washington - aside from maybe Ron Paul and Donald Trump - wants to face.
In fact, the absence of any alternative media voice actually allowed the US corporate media to exist as the world’s biggest purveyor of conspiracy theories – a charge that is now hurled at RT on a regular basis.
Consider the brazen 2003 attack on Iraq. Despite a global outpouring of opposition to the insanity, a cocktail of bad intelligence shaken with outright fear-mongering (who will ever forget the now pathetic image of Colin Powell rattling a vial of ‘anthrax’ at the UN General Assembly) and served chilled by collusive US journalists, the Bush administration was able to pull off the crime of the century.
“In the period before the war, US journalists were far too reliant on sources sympathetic to the administration,” Michael Massing wrote in a damning article in the New York Review of Books. “Those with dissenting views—and there were more than a few—were shut out.”
Although it remains doubtful that an American blitzkrieg could have been avoided had RT been in operation in 2003 (the channel went online in December 2005), there certainly would have been an outlet for presenting dissenting views on the issue. This could have taken the protests to the next level, thereby slamming the brakes on the Iraq War (much in the same way the Obama administration's hopes for a Syrian war were cruelly thwarted at the 11th hour thanks to fierce public opposition, much of which was expressed right here on RT).
So if the Daily Beast article is redeemable in any way, it has at least provided RT with an opportunity to remind the world exactly how crucial it is to have a multitude of voices on the global stage. Just as Washington’s unilateral strategy in foreign affairs is proving disastrous with every military misadventure it pursues, its desire for obtaining a unilateral voice on the media stage would be no less disastrous.
• According to Wikipedia, the term Information Warfare (IW) is “primarily a United States Military concept involving the use and management of information and communication technology in pursuit of a competitive advantage over an opponent.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.