Bad Craziness: How the Truth Is Made at Russia Today
Rosie Gray’s article on what it’s really like to work for Kremlin propaganda outlet Russia Today is our must-read of the day; it’s every bit as bad as you thought: How the Truth Is Made at Russia Today.
The public shake-up and skewed coverage of Ukraine has pulled aside RT’s curtain, exposing the network’s propaganda apparatus, which relies on a number of Western reporters and producers. Former and current RT employees from both the Moscow headquarters and its D.C. bureau, which heads a channel called RT America, described to BuzzFeed an atmosphere of censorship and pressure, in which young journalists on their first or second job are lured by the promise of a relatively well-paying position covering news for an international network. Except for Bevins and Wahl, all spoke on the condition of anonymity — some because they didn’t want their name associated with the network or were afraid they would face repercussions in their current jobs.
Soon after joining the network, the current and former employees said, they realized they were not covering news, but producing Russian propaganda. Some employees go in clear-eyed, looking for the experience above all else. Others don’t realize what RT really wants until they’re already there. Still others are chosen for already having displayed views amenable to the Kremlin. Anti-American language is injected into TV scripts by editors, and stories that don’t toe the editorial line regularly get killed.