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Russia Today

"Every single day we're lying and finding sexier ways to do it."
Sara Firth, former RT reporter

RT, formerly known as Russia Today, is a multi-lingual news channel backed by the Russian government. RT airs various things from sports to Russian cultural programs, but is most notable for its highly controversial news service. While it is a television news network, it is also known for its YouTube channel, which has beaten Fox News in user hits. Like Al Jazeera, coverage is aimed at the international market rather than the domestic, but puts an emphasis on making every country except Russia look bad.

Compare with Press TV.


This network contains examples of:

  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: This segment in which Daniel Bushell interviews a jerky stop-motion Lego figure in a Darth Vader costume meant to represent Barack Obama.
  • Biting the Hand Coverage: Averted, for obvious reasons. If the U.S. becomes embroiled in controversy, RT newscasters will crawl all over the story. But when Russia or Vladimir Putin is criticized, they will either rationalize or ignore everything.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Perhaps the most common criticism. RT devotes lots of coverage to conspiracy theories, giving airtime to truthers, birthers, and cranks warning of False Flag Operations. It's no surprise that Alex Jones is a frequent guest.
    • Abby Martin, host of Breaking the Set, had an extensive history in the 9/11 Truth movement before being hired by RT. Guess which subject Martin keeps bringing up on her show?
    • Thom Hartmann of The Big Picture (who is also a left-wing talk radio host) espouses JFK assassination theories and anti-GMO hysteria.
    • Daniel Bushell of The Truthseeker entirely devotes his program to conspiracy theories, often of the False Flag Operation variety.
    • Tony Gosling, a regular RT.com columnist, is a self-proclaimed "Bilderberg expert" and pushes theories about 9/11, the London bombings, and the Illuminati.
    • As Rational Wiki puts it, RT is an example of a (relatively) mainstream outlet that promotes conspiracy theories on an industrial scale. Indeed, it provides an absurd amount of air time and leeway to both far-left and far-right cranks.
  • False Flag Operation: How they covered the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash, among other events that could smear America and the West.
  • Meet the New Boss: The network has recycled much of its techniques from the old Soviet propaganda services.
  • The Moral Substitute: For the rest of the international media, which RT implies is anti-Russian.
  • Ms. Fanservice: RT flaunts how attractive its anchorwomen are just as much as Fox News. Even the Fox anchorwomen aren't made to dress so suggestively.
  • Propaganda Machine: Comes with the territory when your checks are signed by a media conglomerate that's owned and subsidized by the Russian government, not one of the most consistent fans of press freedom. Some of RT's examples have been its coverage of Russia's war on Georgia and its anti-gay laws.
  • Quote Mine: According to some past guests, RT interviewers push extremely hard for a particular quote advancing a particular narrative, and will resort to making something up if they fail.
  • Scare Campaign: The network's commercials for its "Question More" campaign in 2010. One ad showed Barack Obama's face morphing into Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's while asking, "Who poses the greatest nuclear threat?" It's pretty clear what the desired effect of the ads were besides promoting the channel.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Liz Wahl, one of RT's American anchors, abruptly resigned on the air after calling out RT for its biased coverage of the Ukraine crisis. Whether her gesture was sincere or a calculated career move is a matter of dispute.
  • Voice of the Resistance: Likes to pretend it's one by extensively covering protests in Western countries and hiring famous dissidents such as Julian Assange as primetime hosts, which fuels its Misaimed Fandom. Not so when it's covering protests against Putin.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The whole point of the channel is to make Russia this.

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