Thursday, March 6, 2014

Those Lying Russians

By Reginald Johnson

Hey, did you hear? RT TV is biased!

It parrots the government line! Its Ukraine coverage is shameful!

Thank god we have a free, open and objective press here. Our reporters never kowtow to the government!

Remember the lead-up to the Iraq War, the press was tough and skeptical about Bush administration claims! None of the reporters swallowed hook, line and sinker claims about Iraqi WMDs! Thank goodness for that, because, because....

OK, a pause on the sarcasm. I want to say this. Russia Today--- which has been in the news this week due to two employees complaining about bias at the network ---  is in fact, slanted. It is funded by the Russian government; the stories often go easy on Vladimir Putin and government officials. But the network also produces some good stories which are well researched and present a perspective that’s tough to find here. You have to separate the wheat from the chaff.

  I am tired of the self-righteous preachings of people in the U.S. media, about how RT is nothing but a propaganda machine, while the American press is some kind of paragon of virtue, bravely revealing all the vital news of the day, without fear or favor. What blather.

  Corporations that own newspapers and TV here often censor stories when corporate interests are threatened. Stories that should see the light of day do not. In other cases, the government --- yes, the government --- puts pressure on press outlets to kill stories, or hold stories, and the government usually gets its way. And finally, reporters often engage in self-censorship, when they avoid doing certain stories that might cast a negative light on public or private officials, because they don’t want to lose future access to sources and endanger their careers.

  Please, American media, enough of the sanctimony. And by the way, maybe it’s time to do a real story about what’s going on in the Ukraine. The coverage stinks. It seems a bit slanted to the side of the, uh, U.S. government. 


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