Years ago I was having a conversation with a friend who, at the time, worked at ABC news. He told me that they never run anything that negative about Russia because the last time they did, the network was kicked out of the country for like seven years. They learned their lesson and played nice with Putin after that. With a long and stories history of problematic journalists mysteriously dying, Russia is hardly a beacon for the free press. Countries like Russia and China however do not hesitate to exploit the relative openness of the western world for their own purposes.
Having studied our culture and values, Russian intelligence services know that they can take advantage of our freedom of speech and freedom of the press to propagandize the American public. Furthermore, Americans are fairly naive unlike say, the cynical French or others in continental Europe with a history of subterfuge, royal ceremony, and chicanery. Meanwhile, the Russians have long specialized in disinformation, deception, and reflexive control.
This was why I could never understand why hostile foreign media outlets are tolerated within the United States. Russia Today is not an honest broker nor a balanced news source, far from it. RT is actually a state-run pro-Putin mouthpiece that hires whiney young American girls who sound like grown up Lisa Simpsons as anchors and has on guests who spout off insane conspiracy theories. Sure, in America you are pretty much free to say what you want, but foreign powers are not free to house their fake news propaganda networks here, at least not as stipulated by the Foreign Agent Registration Act. The FARA requires that actors working in the United States on behalf of a foreign power register with the US government as such.
This week, the Department of Justice announced that RT would now have to register under the FARA. RT’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan stated, “The war the US establishment wages with our journalists is dedicated to all the starry-eyed idealists who still believe in freedom of speech. Those who invented it, have buried it.” It sounds like Margarita needs some cheese to go with her whine. As the editor-in-chief of SOFREP.com, I can confidently state that freedom of speech and freedom of the press is alive and well. With the net coming down on RT’s bullshit, this is a victory not just for America but also for truth.
RT has attempted to get yours truly on a number of different times (as has InfoWars), but I don’t return those messages. As a journalist, I have been at times quite critical of my government and of our foreign policy. But while my criticisms are aimed at making America a better and stronger country, outlets like RT wish to engage in one-sided debate in order to undermine and diminish America. FU-RT! Not on my watch.
There is also speculation that DOJ is moving on another ridiculous Russian state-run outlet named Sputnik, a purveyor of bat shit crazy fake news. I can only suspect that the reason why DOJ never cracked down before was because there was fear that Russia would retaliate against Voice of America and the Broadcasting Board of Governors but it isn’t as if any of these players have a free hand in Russia anyway. Meanwhile, foreign entities have embarked on a war for the minds of Americans, manipulating us to their ends. It took the recent political turmoil for DOJ to finally begin waking up, and we can applaud the Trump administration for moving in this direction.
Maybe now, we can turn our attention to China’s propaganda efforts in the United States as well.
Featured image courtesy of DOJ