Fox News, Newsmax and the soon to be no more OAN are not the only Russophiles on the airwaves. The way cable packages have been set up, Russian TV, “RT” is readily available all over America. The late John McCain gave cable providers an off ramp with legislation which said they wouldn’t have to carry Russian programming, and that was a good beginning, but so far nobody in Congress has picked up the torch to move protecting ourselves from anti-American propaganda forward.
Russian TV is everywhere. It is a pernicious presence, providing disinformation and misinformation. It’s influence is corrosive. And it won’t surprise you to learn when it showed up in full force in this country and how it has spread. Tim Miller, the Bulwark:
In the declassified portion of the U.S. intelligence agencies’ report on Russia’s pro-Trump influence operation during the 2016 campaign, it was revealed that Moscow pumped nearly $200 million per year into distributing RT programming in the West. The way it normally works in cable/satellite TV is that the provider pays the channel—ESPN or TNT or whatnot—for the right to carry the network. Russia inverted the system, paying blood rubles to any carrier willing to put its channel in the lineup.
The network secured deals with the major satellite providers DirecTV and Dish. And while the McCain legislative language has caused the network to founder among traditional cable providers, RT does tout that American viewers can find them on the Buckeye cable system in Toledo and on Spring City Cable outside Chattanooga. (This could be important information for comrades Carlson and D’Souza, should they decide to decamp to Real ’Murica in order to further foment the Russophile resistance.)
I reached out to the networks in both Toledo and Spring City to see if they might want to dump the Ruskies. So far, no reply from either.
Now one ray of hope. Netflix woke up and smelled the coffee. They were going to start broadcasting Russian state television like Channel One and NTV, starting today, March 1. They reconsidered and said that they were refusing to comply, for now.
This is a good development. Tim Miller continues.
Yet while RT has had trouble getting carried by cable providers, they’ve done a good job of penetrating what are known as “over the top” streaming services.
Sling, the streaming arm of Dish Network, carries RT and even has a special “news” package that provides True Patriots™ access to both RT and Newsmax for the low price of $6 per month. Meanwhile Roku offers RT America just up the dial from Steve Bannon’s War Room. It’s these sort of streaming deals that contribute to RT popping up all kinds of places you might not expect.
Back in 2017, I noticed that it was 1 of only 40 channels carried in my room at the lovely Washington, D.C. Westin. A Google image search revealed the story was the same at the Hartford Sheraton and the South Beach Group hotel chain in Miami. RT was on the screen at a Minneapolis airport bar over the weekend. Garry Kasparov tweeted about seeing it in a cab.
These types of services provide RT much greater reach than their spot in the quadruple digits on the satellite dial. Hotels, cabs, and transportation centers airing deranged spin about Putin’s prowess to captive audiences is providing a totally unnecessary and borderline traitorous assist to the Russian dictator.
Meanwhile, online the picture is even uglier. This morning, YouTube began blocking channels “connected to Russian state-backed media outlets RT and Sputnik” just days after they took the half-decade-overdue step of pausing the monetization of RT on their platform, but that came after the network had built a subscriber base of 4.6 million people, more than double that of the Washington Post.
For me personally, that tears it. When Russian TV has a greater voice online than the Washington Post, it is high time to sit down and reassess exactly who we are allowing free access to our airwaves and internet in this country.
I think at the very least that pro-Russian programming should be labelled as such and that includes Fox News.
Two quick happy notes:
- OAN will be reduced to nothing the end of this month when DirectTV dumps them. Unless their management finds a carrier of equal or greater distribution, it’s poof! Sad, as Donald Trump would say — and undoubtedly will.
- In Las Vegas a pizzeria named Evel Pie will destroy its Russian vodka supply this Saturday and replace it with Ukrainian vodka. Plus, and this I love, “Fuck Putin shots” will be sold for $5.00 and all the money will be sent to Ukrainian relief efforts, per KNTV.
I think it’s grand.
Things are moving in a good direction but the big picture remains: How to rid the airwaves of Russian propaganda. I honestly believe that labeling it as such is the first step. And God only knows what a legislative free for all that would entail.
Maybe we could find a middle ground to start, such as labeling Fox News opinion as “entertainment” because in point of fact that’s what it is and what courts have decreed it to be you. You recall the case where it was decided that no reasonable person would believe anything Tucker Carlson says to be fact. A line from that ruling and the case citation needs to appear as a chyron on his future Fox News broadcasts.
Again, I’m not holding my breath. Or, maybe the Fairness In Broadcasting Doctrine needs to be reinstated. Only one thing is certain: the flow of Russian propaganda into this country needs to be dealt with.