The West Has “Egg on its Face” Over Russia Today…

I have been doing some research on Russia Today. I was curious to see when they started and what kind of reactions the Western press had over this wonderful TV station invading their territory. I found a slew of articles that gave the realization that the Western press was very worried about this new comer called Russia Today. The degrading press that Russia Today got from the West was a huge indicator of the uphill battle that Russia Today has had to endure to get a foothold in the Western worlds press section…

I found many articles of Russia Today soothsaying by the West. It was wishful thinking and blinking in the eyes of the enemy…

This is a typical article, but this one had a video that just put icing on the cake…

MOSCOW, December 12, 2005
Title: Russian News, English Accent
Description: New Kremlin Show Spins Russia Westward
By Bob Bicknell

(CBS) This article was written by CBS News Moscow correspondent Beth Knobel.

Tired of American TV? Then the Russians have news for you.

“Russia Today” is a new satellite channel, presenting round-the-clock news about Russia — in English.

The Kremlin already controls all the channels of Russian domestic television. Now, it will be beaming “Russia Today” all around the world to go after the international audience — to repair a national image tarnished by war, corruption and assaults on democracy.

“We hope that we can win people by what we’re showing,” says Margarita Simonyan, the channel’s editor in chief, “by interesting documentaries, interesting stories, by some new information about the interesting country that Russia actually is.”

Interesting stories like the Russian art scene reported by John Kluver, one of the few Americans working for “Russia Today.” A former CNN cameraman-turned-correspondent, he’s still trying to learn the ropes.

And he has no illusions about his employer.

“When I talk to friends and they say, ‘Hey John, what are you doing there? What’s with the new project?’ I usually describe it in English or in Russian as a propaganda tool for the Russian government,” he says.

After working in Russia on-and-off for the last decade, Kluver says he jumped at the chance to show “the positive side of Russia. I see a lot of positive things here and I always have,” he explains.

The station debuted on Saturday after weeks of “technical rehearsals,” when it went through all the motions of producing news but did not actually go out on the air. But in what must be a major embarrassment, it had to halt broadcasting Monday due to technical difficulties.

The channel said that hackers had tried to break into its computer system, forcing the station to shut down temporarily.

Critics point out that with or without “Russia Today,” there’s plenty of bad news about Russia coming out in the Russian and Western media — bad news the Kremlin would like to play down, like the ongoing war in Chechnya, or the crackdown on the free press.

And that’s the sort of criticism the Russian government hopes to deflect with “Russia Today,” explains Mikhail Fedotov, the former Russian press minister.

“The Kremlin’s inside advisors believe professional propaganda might form the splendid and shiny image of modern Russia, without Chechen war, without Khodorkovsky’s case (oil tycoon arrested on fraud and tax evasion charges), without corruption,” says Fedotov, now the secretary of the Russian Union of Journalists.

The new channel may remind people of Soviet television, where reports were designed to put a shiny veneer on the hardships of life.

Although the government is financing the station, “Russia Today’s” young staff claims its coverage of Russia will be fair and balanced, not simply propaganda.

Editor in chief Simonyan, 25, was hand picked to head the new channel after covering the Kremlin for state-owned Rossiya television.

“I don’t feel that my job is to improve the image of Russia,” she says. “You know, improvement is not really an objective thing. I think my job is to bring the western image of Russia closer to what Russia really is. Because right now in many cases, this isn’t what’s going on.”

Simonyan also says that the Kremlin will not dictate what “Russia Today” can or can’t say. “Censorship by government in this country is prohibited by constitution,” she explains. “Like in yours.”

The Kremlin’s already spent at least $30 million to launch “Russia Today,” and will need to spend millions more to keep it on the air.

But there’s one thing it can’t buy — viewers. And with the station available only by satellite, not many Americans may tune in.

“I think there will be people who will want to watch,” says “Russia Today” correspondent Kluver. “I would want to watch if I were back in the United States.”

Unless people do tune in, it will be “Russia Today,” gone tomorrow.

By Beth Knobel

That last line was a doozy and as we all know Russia Today has crushed the competition and been professional while doing it. They have smiled over the Western attitudes about Russia and Russia Today. In fact they have a saying that I see pop up now and again, “Controversy makes us stronger. “They also have a new saying, “Question More…”

Professionalism from the West was not in the hundreds of articles that I found over the years by the West about Russia Today. In fact it was literally just a degrade session from the beginning. Fear of this newcomer by Russia was evident in all the broadcasts and has now grown into a worry at the USA Federal level…

RT was launched as Russia Today by an autonomous non-profit organization in 2005. In 2007, RT’s monthly audience share exceeded that of CNN and Bloomberg TV among NTV-PLUS satellite subscribers in Moscow. In August 2007, RT was the first channel in television history to report live from the North Pole. In 2008, RT’s average monthly reach in Russia indicated a growth rate of 82% within just six months. Over the same period, the channel’s average daily reach grew by 46%. In the same year, the monthly audience among those who have access to or are aware of RT’s broadcasts on Time Warner Cable in NYC exceeded that of BBC America by 11%. The daily audience of RT exceeds that of Deutsche Welle tenfold, within the same network….(Link)

Now these audience figures are egg on the Western face… ”

Russia Today reminds me of “The Little Engine that Could…
(I think I can, I think I can, I think I can – – I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could…)

Windows to Russia!

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