Putin Makes it Official: RT is the New Pravda

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


vladimir-putin-russia-today

RT has proven to be successful enough that it’s about to become the official public face of the Russian regime. If you’ve seen the green RT logo on videos, you probably already know why.

Unlike the old Pravda, RT is less able to rely on a friendly lefty base, but has compensated for that by targeting people who are generally skeptical or suspicious about their governments with viral news items… much like Al Jazeera has. And it has paid off big time.

President Vladimir V. Putin dissolved one of Russia’s official news agencies, RIA Novosti, along with its international radio broadcaster on Monday.

The two agencies will be absorbed into a new state organization known as Rossiya Sevodnya, or Russia Today, to be led by a television executive and host, Dmitry K. Kiselyov.

RT has occasionally tried to pretend that it’s independent. It’s not. And now it becomes the official propaganda apparatus of the Putin regime.

Some foreign media materials about Julian Assange’s show to be broadcast by the RT (formerly Russia Today) television network, contain false claims about the network being controlled by the RIA Novosti news agency.

RIA Novosti is the co-founder of the Autonomous Non-Profit Organization (ANO) TV Novosti, launched in December 2005 as Russia Today (RT). Under Russian law, as an autonomous non-profit organization, RT is fully independent of its founders.

That was last year. This year RT is the RIA Novosti. And anyone still embedding RT videos should at least realize that they’re spreading propaganda from an enemy state.

“Russia has its own independent politics and strongly defends its national interests,” Mr. Ivanov, a close ally of Mr. Putin, said in remarks to reporters, according to RIA Novosti. “It’s difficult to explain this to the world, but we can do this and we must do this.”

  • jack

    Russia Today and RT are not the same organisation although it was rather confusing for Russia to call the new media conglomerate Russia Today.

    http://darussophile.com/2013/12/09/from-ria-to-russia-today/#more-10486

    • Daniel Greenfield

      The distinction is debatable at best.

  • DogmaelJones1

    Like Al Jazeera, RT news benefits from hiring Western-style anchors and talking heads, or at least hiring Russians who look and sound like Western-style talking heads. But if we don’t trust genuine Western anchors and talking heads, why should we trust Putin’s brand?

  • Gee

    The Soviet Empire has morphed into the Russian Empire again

  • A Z

    I consider RT a credible news source.

    Yes I may have to read between the lines.

    Yes, I may have to pick and choose news stories to believe.

    But it is how far the the NYT and other American organisations have fallen.

    So many of us resort to blogs over Western media anyway.

    Let’s put it this way. I expect RT to tell me of the truth about Syria than the NYT.

    • wmp

      I listen to prime time in which they pick up reporting from their news feed but in an informal way. I too take it for what they present and no more. It is young people commenting on daily life in Moscow. Being Russian why would they not support Putin over the Ukraine.

  • Texas Patriot

    The days of Walter Cronkite and Eric Sevareid are over. Objective and independent truth-seeking journalism no longer exists anywhere, indeed if it ever did. Today it is guaranteed that every news source has an editorial bias, and all sources must be viewed separately to have any hope of appreciating the entirety of any story. The good news is that we no longer have to rely on one source, but there are hundreds of them available to us. Not to worry. There is no substitute for sorting out the truth for ourselves.

  • Hugh Janus

    In fairness, NPR and PBS are US State funded agencies. As is the BBC in the UK. Governments want to control information. In the case of the US, Government news organizations are implicitly illegal, whereas in Russia and the UK it isn’t. So who sucks more?

  • imnokuffar

    I watch RT every day. Whilst being sceptical about some of its output and knowing its motives I do find some of their claims worthy of consideration. The “Breaking the Set” programme is highly suspicious as it is presented by an anti-Semite and their coverage of the Jewish state generally is highly charged.

    However it does offer an alternative view of the world and on some occasions hits the nail right on the head. It is interesting to point out that this was the only channel not to constantly brainwash the viewers with Nelson Mandela coverage.

    Its coverage of the Syria conflict is well thought through and as I support Assad as the lesser of two evils I like their reporting.

  • Aenglisc Yeoman

    Calling Russia an enemy state is completely stupid. Take RT with a
    grain of salt, but Russia is doing FAR more to tackle radical Islam than
    the US is. For the past several decades, the US has been little more
    than a Jacobinistic-revolutionary state overturning the established
    order, much akin to Revolutionary France.