A world without RT? That’s just what the Western war lobby wants

Neil Clark
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66
© Evgeny Biyatov
What would a world without RT look like? Well, just consider what the media landscape looked like before RT first appeared in 2005. I remember clearly the ease with which neocons and even the ‘decent’ left were able to push the case for war in Iraq in 2003.

Pro-war commentators got deferential treatment on BBC news/current affairs programs (as they still do) with nobody asking the one question that millions of us watching at home were pondering: If our leaders really did believe that Saddam had WMDs that could be launched within 45 minutes, then why were they so keen to do the one thing that would force the ‘monstrous dictator’ to use them – namely, invade his country?

A five-year-old could have seen through the great Iraq WMDs charade pushed by Blair and Bush, but with stony, serious faces the western broadcast media presented a neocon conspiracy theory as fact, and up to 1m people died.

Since RT arrived on the scene, the western elites and their media stenographers have found it much harder to peddle their lies. At last we have a news channel that can properly challenge the propaganda of the war hawks - not by pumping out counter propaganda but simply by reporting things as they are. A modern, slick channel with highly professional presenters and reporters who know their territory very well, one which also gives a voice to experts and pundits marginalized by the New McCarthyites at home who try and enforce a mind-numbing uniformity on foreign policy issues.

While western channels were hailing NATO’s bombing of Libya and the toppling of Gaddafi as a ‘great success’, it was pundits on RT who warned that the country which had the highest living standards in Africa would become a failed state and magnet for extremists- which is exactly what happened.

On Syria, RT was the first to report on how radical jihadist terror groups were playing the leading role in the war against the Syrian government - but of course this was all dismissed as ‘Russian propaganda’. All the ‘rebels’ were nice, cuddly pro- democracy activists was the ‘official’ western line. Only when IS started to get a bit too big for its boots, did the official narrative change.

RT pundits - myself included - also said that Assad government was not about to fall in 2011/12 (as neocon politicians and ‘experts’ were telling us), but in fact had sizable public support. Again, who was telling the truth and who was peddling propaganda?

The fact that RT has made it harder for the western war lobby to hoodwink the public has inevitably put the station in the line of fire. In Britain the attacks on RT have intensified since the successful launch of RTUK in October 2014.

As I’ve noted before, if you look at who is at the forefront of the attacks on RT you will see a very strong overlap between those who want RT ‘sanctioned’ and those who supported and propagandized for the Iraq war and other western ‘military interventions’ of recent years. It’s far too much of an overlap to be a coincidence.

These Iraq-war supporting RT-bashers, tell us on the one hand that the channel is a disgrace, it’s a ‘fake’ news station whose pundits/guests are extremists/ neoNazis/ communists/Stalinists/far-left/far-right/ genocide deniers/conspiracy theorists (they choose whichever smear they think works best on the particular occasion), and on the other hand they ridicule RT as a channel which nobody watches!

You don’t have to be an Einstein to see the contradiction here - if no one is watching RT, why do these people spend so much time and energy attacking it and calling for the regulators to take ‘strong action’ against it?

Genuinely independent experts and pundits who struggle to get a proper hearing in their own countries because their views differ from the prevailing elite neocon orthodoxy, would find it harder to get their message out to a large, global audience if RT did not exist.

In fact a world without RT would be worse that the media landscape we had before 2003 because McCarthyism is stronger now in the west than it was back then. The Iraq war and the blatant lies told in its lead-up should have led to the propagandists for that war being showing the red card- but as Peter Oborne described the opposite has happened - it is those who were right on Iraq and who told the truth who have become marginalized and subject to relentless attacks and smears by those who cheer-leaded on behalf of the illegal war.

John Pilger, for instance, the greatest investigate journalist and reporter of his generation, used to be a regular on British television screens from the 1970s until the Noughties. He wrote for the mainstream media and had a regular column in the New Statesman. But today Pilger is an outcast in the British media - and if you want to see this award-winning legendary journalist on the TV you have to tune in to RT and catch him on programs like Going Underground.

What a terrible indictment it is of the current media landscape in the West that a truth-telling journalist like Pilger, who’s been uncannily accurate about every big conflict of the last twenty/thirty years, has effectively been blacklisted.

The Western elite are upset because they know the growing popularity of RT makes it harder for them to control the narrative. The hawks don’t mind Al Jazeera because although that channel's coverage of Israel/Palestine differs from western news channels, it does take the ’right’ line on Syria, and other foreign policy issues, reflecting that the interests of Qatar and western elites do coincide. But by broadcasting the truth behind western military interventions, and revealing the ‘hidden agenda’ to television viewers, RT is viewed as meddlesome.

In the next few years, one thing’s for sure - we’re going to need RT more than ever. Indeed, the West is hoping to attract Russian-speakers in Europe in an effort to get audiences to toe the Western line in global hotspots like Syria, where the US is being accused by Russia of being suspiciously indifferent to the rise of Islamic State, for example.

"Nordic countries are offering broadcast rights to television shows to be dubbed into Russian. Germany is providing Russian-language news and documentaries. U.S. diplomats are trying to broker content deals with American movie studios," The Wall Street Journal reported.

A world without RT, and one in which only neocon/’Decent Left’ officially approved ‘experts and pundits' could appear on our television screens, would make this truly fascistic, imperialist agenda easier to achieve.

We must make sure that never happens and that the people who want us to ‘question less' and deferentially accept an elite narrative based on lies never succeed.

Follow Neil Clark on Twitter @NeilClark66

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.