Recently, I came across Russian state media’s English language service, Russia Today (RT). I got a pop up window advertising “RT News”. I’d never heard of it before, so I subscribed to it, just to check it out.
After that, I got pop ups about every 20 minutes with a new story from RT. After a while, this got irritating. I don’t know of any other news site that has notifications like these.
My curiosity about the quality of the news source was then piqued, so I started to look at the design and content of their webpages. I found several indicators of a shoddily managed page.
So here, I’ll present an analysis of one page that came to my attention. I will not comment about whether their articles are fundamentally true or not, because the investigation is still underway (and I am no expert on politics – I find it disgusting, actually), but based on the quality of presentation, I suspect something is off. The article covered here is this one.
RT News: Moscow has ‘irrefutable’ evidence chem attack in Syria’s Douma was staged – Russia’s envoy to OPCW (April 16, 2018)
I happened to open up this page as soon as I got the notification pop up, because this is a story I am intensely interested in. I really want to know the truth behind the U.S.’s justification for bombing Damascus. Is President Al-Assad really using chemical attacks on his own people? If so, then what are the motives behind that? Is it to suppress an uprising? Or… is this a staged political event to further advance the schemes and motives of western powers?
(BTW, ever since the lie about the purported “weapons of mass destruction” that was offered as an excuse to ‘preemptively’ invade Iraq in 2003, weapons that were never found, even after the conclusion of active conflict, I have been suspicious of the real purposes of the American Military Industrial Complex, and the Deep State’s motives behind it.)
Anyway, after the page loaded, I saw that the story and video had not yet been uploaded on their server. There was just a blank, maroon video screen with white letters that said, “BREAKING NEWS”. The screen looked like this for about 40 minutes. (Sorry about the poor image quality.)
As I was waiting for the video to appear, I perused the rest of the page. The first thing I noticed is that the author or news correspondent of the article is not listed.
Then I noticed the time stamps. There were two – one on the header, and one on the post. Under the article’s title is the posting timestamp, which says (in the photo),
Published time: 16 Apr, 2018 14:20
This is a European date format.
At the upper right hand corner of the window, the header shows the current time.
14:22 GMT, Apr 16, 2018
This is an American date format. (I took this screen shot two minutes after the article was posted.)
Furthermore, neither of these times corresponds to the correct time. After adjusting for the time zone difference, I found it’s behind about 15 minutes. (The clock in my office is set 5 minutes ahead of time.)
Further down the page (as shown in the earlier photo), after only two minutes, under an article that has a blank video screen, and no written text other than the title, there are already 89 comments! All of these commenters have cryptic or comical names, and none of them have a profile photo. All the comments were like, “Great, let’s see it!” or “Now the American’s will know the truth!”
There was no real substance in any of the comments. To me, all these comments collectively appeared like a prime example of a staged public endorsement of the propaganda set forth.
Lastly, I did some research to find out the origin of this news site, and I found that it is organized and heavily funded by the Russian government. However, their website does not show a page that states their political stance, the locations of their correspondencies, or their sources of support. I think this belies a lack of transparency, or at least a very low professional quality of webhosting.
Even so, I tend to trust RT News more than CNN’s squeaky clean, polished appearance that pushes Fourth Wave Feminism, and the left’s political agenda, without any apology or self-acknowledgment. At least RT doesn’t have members of the V@nderbilt family, black guys with British accents, or aging, stoic, female news anchors with a nasally voice or a resting B face. Besides, if NBC hates RT, then it must be pretty good! At least the competition will force western media to step up their game, hopefully for the better.
I am not necessarily favoring the Russians, I’m just saying, ‘Unbiased News’ is an oxymoron! The only way to get the full scoop is by reading several news sources of widely varied political stances, and then reading between the lines. This is exactly what many news blogs attempt to do, and that is why I read those more than any syndicated news sources.
My conclusion is that the Russian government has wisely recognized that public opinion is of greater import than truth (in politics), and has put down a lot of money on this news platform. There are a lot of paid employees (I presume) creating posts and comments, but overall, they are not very careful or smart about the presentation. Instead, they are offering the official Russian narrative, and concentrating on presenting a strong appeal to the Millennial generation, which is a very smart move on their part.
Bottom Line: Although RT News has it’s foibles, Russia is putting a very impressive effort into the media wars, and this changes the whole information game. Although it may be heavily biased and of questionable accuracy, it still offers an overall perspective that deserves consideration.
- The Sun (feat. Natasha Clark): RUSSIA TV RAP Russia’s state propaganda station RT faces SEVEN new probes for breaching TV code after Salisbury poisoning (April 18, 2018)
- Unian: Russian propaganda getting smarter, evading flagging, targeting youth (April 20, 2018)