Questioning More: RT joins UN in-house broadcast network
High-ranked officials, ambassadors and guests of honor from around the world were invited to celebrate the news in the Big Apple. The ceremony kicked off as representatives from RT and the UN exchanged signed copies of the bilateral agreement.
During the ceremony, we interviewed some of the assembled guests for their views on what the news means for RT and the world of media in general.
Patrick Henningsen, writer, investigative journalist
RT: Do you think the attitude toward RT is changing in the US and around the world?
Patrick Henningsen: I think the context speaks for itself. If you watch what people choose to watch, depends on how good the content is. If you do something the same as the next network, there is no difference. RT stands out, because they are producing different types of news segments, different type of documentaries, and that is what attracts the audience and media. So it is a very fundamental, basic principal of media, and I think this is one of the things that the western critics don’t understand. They have been in their own little bubble for so long, and it is so self-referential. RT is just basically independent, doing things differently, and that is going to attract a bigger audience. And the numbers don’t lie – they are getting the numbers, because people go to what they are interested in.
Steven Rambam, Director of Pallorium, Inc.
RT: Can you tell us what today means for RT and for the UN?
Steven Rambam: I have to say first of all that RT is a very unique network. This is a network that apparently doesn’t enforce a political point of view. You have Fox TV, which has a very obvious political point of view. You have CNN, which has, if you excuse me for saying it, occasionally a destructive point of view. RT TV is a network that belongs in the UN. It is trying to not enforce any sort of a politically strong ideology. It is just looking, in my opinion, for the straight truth.
I have to tell you, it was shock for me to discover that. I came to work with RT TV, to be honest, there was a large question mark. I was concerned about it being a propaganda tool of Russia. I was concerned about it, being frankly, a tool of the intelligence organs of Russia. And I have been very pleasantly surprised.
RT: Do feel that today shows that the attitudes toward RT are changing?
SR: Obviously. The UN has welcomed RT in. I was very, very impressed that my fellow attendees at the event – you’ve got the entire political spectrum here. I am fairly a right-wing person, I admit it. Many people here are not. You’ve got a real balance here.
Daniel Shaw, City University of New York
RT: What is the significance today both for the UN and RT?
Daniel Shaw: Very significant because RT represents an independent perspective on US foreign policy. We’re always hearing the same thing from CNN and MSNBC. So to have RT is to have an independent, fresh and critical perspective. So RT’s presence at the UN is very welcome and very significant.
RT: Do you feel like today’s event shows that the attitudes might be changing in the US; that there is more of acceptance of the alternative perspective?
DS: I think in some circles, but certainly the good old boys’ club doesn’t want to see RT, doesn’t want to see an independent media, and will do everything to vilify RT as they have been now since RT was founded 11 years ago.
RT: RT is frequently being accused of being a ‘propaganda bullhorn’ for Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin. Do you buy that?
DS: I don’t buy that for a second. Of course all news represents some level of propaganda or somebody’s perspective. But I think that the mainstream media of the US, which is often called the international media, which is synonymous with the US media, is just afraid that there is some type of competition, or another perspective is out there that is encouraging people to question more.
RT: Do you think the UN considered those accusations when making this decision and chose to ignore them?
DS: Well the UN has functioned as a virtual plaything in the hands of the US government for years in terms of foreign policy and world affairs. But it seems like they have had some level of independence on this question in allowing RT to come on in on the inside.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.