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Home Main Forums 2018 Elections Maybe RT Has a Bigger Influence on American Politics Than We Think

  • UnicornOnTheCob (1584 posts)
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    Maybe RT Has a Bigger Influence on American Politics Than We Think

    Maybe RT Has a Bigger Influence on American Politics Than We Think
    Kevin Drum
    Mother Jones

    Yesterday I noted that the intelligence report on Russian hacking devoted an awful lot of space to RT America, the Kremlin-funded cable TV network. That struck me as odd since I don’t think RT had much influence on the election.

    And this email:

    I think you underestimate the influence of RT on the Jill Stein and “Never Hillary” crowd among Bernie supporters. This is only one aspect of delegitimizing the center. A leftist progressive friend who works on Syrian refugee issues was really disturbed by how many on that part of the spectrum think Putin is just dandy.

    Put this all together and you have a portrait of a sometimes Alex Jones-esque “alternative channel” that appeals to fringe elements on both the left and right and successfully hides its identity from them. As the charts from the ODNI report show, it’s also one with a growing social media presence, even if the precise numbers in the report aren’t wholly reliable. I still don’t know whether this translated into more than a negligible impact on the race, but I thought it was worth passing along. It may be that RT is more important than I give it credit for.


    This is a really subtle one to unpack. On one hand, mainstream media outlets like the Washington Post are hyping Russia hysteria and were even caught posting two news articles stoking Russia fears that had to be retracted. In this case, the Post is acting as little more than a stenographer for the current administration and anything they report about Russia should be treated with skepticism.

    On the other hand, should Kevin Drum suspect an agenda at RT America? RT carries content by Chris Hedges, Thom Hartmann, and Ed Shultz. The answer is – yes, of course he should. RT America is funded by the Russian government. Any state sponsored news source should be assumed to have an agenda, especially one funded by a regime like Russia’s.

    Here’s where the finer point comes in – the potshot that RT is interfering with elections by running this content, specifically running third party debates and content with Jill Stein is where this falls apart. The implication here is that RT is not necessarily suspect because of their funding, but rather because they aired news stories featuring third party candidates, as if that in and of itself was un-American or interfering with an election.

    The real question is why did the mainstream media not cover Bernie Sanders during the Democratic Primary? And why did the mainstream media ignore the Jill Stein campaign until after the election had ended?

    We should absolutely question every single news source and consider who pays the checks. That said, the real issue here is that the left, including the Green Party, needs to go to any outlet they can to get their message out, and attempting to tie that to “Russian interference” in democracy is McCarthyism plain and simple.

    Eggar, Pastiche, graycat and 8 othersdaleanime, Bearian, Depaysement, mrdmk, Earth artist, mmonk, djean111, Ohio Barbarian like this

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7 replies
  • Ohio Barbarian (6443 posts)
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    1. Excellent article. Thank you.

    But the email is wrong. It wasn’t RT that “delegitimized” the center. It was Third Way Democrats like Hillary and their policies that did so. Bernie supporters didn’t need RT to push them into not voting for Hillary. Many of them, myself included, made up our minds to never vote for Her long before we ever saw an RT story about the election.

    Hell, she made my wife’s “Hell, no!” list with the “At least I didn’t stay home and bake cookies” remark back in 1992!

    My point is that Hillary and her ilk have been making enemies on the left for a long time. All RT ever did was report on the story.

    Ignorance is the foundation of tyranny.   
    • morgwynn (232 posts)
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      5. Hell, I refused to vote for her in 2008. In the eight years since then, she did

      enough vile things to cement the fact that I would never vote for her. When Bernie announced, it was a moot point anyway.

      ***Three Thrings From Which Never To Be Moved: One's Oaths, One's Gods, and The Truth***
  • Depaysement (718 posts)
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    2. "Growing social media channel"

    That means JPR, among others.  Kevin Drum does not approve.  He has a “moderately liberal mind” to quote the Decembrists.  Most of us don’t.

    I suspect several posters here of having “agendas” for someone or something else.  But that’s true everywhere.  And I still read what they write and agree with much of it.  Who really cares what Kevin Drum or the CIA or anyone else thinks?

    "White youth, black youth Better find another solution Why not phone up Robin Hood And ask him for some wealth distribution" White Man in Hammersmith Palais (1978)
    • Purveyor (2622 posts)
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      3. I would like to think that everyone has some sort of "agenda". How mind-numb

      would one have to be not to?

      Oh that big, bad boogeyman…AGENDA

      • Depaysement (718 posts)
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        4. LOL

        "White youth, black youth Better find another solution Why not phone up Robin Hood And ask him for some wealth distribution" White Man in Hammersmith Palais (1978)
  • U4ikLefty (353 posts)
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    6. Going by the chart, it seems that other people, like myself

    look for voices silenced by the media establishment on RT via youtube.  Where else can I find Ed Schultz or Thom Hartman?  Certainly not on the MSM channels.  If Pootie is going to fund access to their voices it’s good money spent IMO.

    Proud to be a spoiled brat
  • FanBoy (7983 posts)
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    7. We should also check out the individuals

    Drum rose to prominence through the popularity of his now-defunct independent liberal blog Calpundit (2003–2004) and through his blog Political Animal (2004–2008) published by the Washington Monthly. In 2008, he took a writing and blogging position at Mother Jones magazine.

    Stylistically, his blog is known for offering original statistical and graphical analysis, with special attention to oil supply, especially peak oil theory and related issues. Another provocative series suggested a link between the recent decline in US crime rates and the phaseout of leaded gasoline… He is skeptical about flavor-of-the-month school reforms which “disappear within a few years to be replaced by some new silver bullet – and always without producing any scalable, practical, long-lasting results…”

    Before writing full-time about politics, he worked as a technical writer, then moved into high-tech marketing. He was with Kofax Image Products for nine years as VP for Marketing and general manager of the software division. He also has worked as a consultant.

    Drum has defended Hillary Clinton during her email controversy, stating that her actions were “non-scandalous” and that she is “honest to a fault when discussing policy.”

    Drum supported the 2003 Iraq War in its early stages, but just before the United States launched its attack, he changed his mind. He said, “Before the war started I switched to opposition on practical grounds (i.e., that George W. Bush’s approach was incapable of accomplishing the goals it was meant to accomplish). Since then, I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that, in fact, I should have opposed it all along on philosophical grounds: namely that it was a fundamentally flawed concept and had no chance of working even if it had been competently executed.”



    I’m not seeing a big liberal here, let alone a radical in the style of (the original) Mother Jones….