Re-evaluating RT

CNN, FOX, NBC—we know they all have a statist, sensationalist bias.  Many of my politically active friends have found Russia Today (RT) to be a great alternative news source to the obtuse, soporific string of half-truths that fashion American news. 

Currently, six of my friends on Facebook have “liked” it, and many more have browsed it, read it, watched it and distributed its articles.  While American news stations completely ignore the most crucial issues facing America, RT attacks everything from the United States’ involvement in Syria to novel talking street lamps recently installed in Detroit.  It even provides Julian Assange an outlet to air his show, which he conducts via house arrest.  Your mouths are probably watering right now.

Except, applauding RT for its “critical stances” is nothing less than absurd.  Many of the same people that criticize the backgrounds of many of America’s major news stations turn around and extol the virtues of RT, without taking a minute to evaluate its very un-libertarian worldview.  Russia Today is government-funded by, of course, the Russian government.  Many of Russia’s citizens live in poverty.  According to the Guardian, the poor are barely half as wealthy as they were when the Soviet Union fell.  Its current dependence on oil is likely to lead to an even poorer nation in the future.  Nevertheless, the Kremlin has funded and built an international news organization, second only to BBC News, that covets a re-calibration of its “lopsided” image abroad via “soft-power tactics.”

Basically, the Russian government taxes an already weak private sector in order to fuel an unnecessary government program.  And the sole reason for this entity’s existence is to make Russia appealing to foreigners, particularly “The West,” by criticizing the fallacies of their respective governments.  RT is Russia’s worldwide propaganda apparatus.  Basically, as all nationalistic governments do, the Russian government loves itself so much that it wants to share its love for itself with the rest of the world.  The real objective of many articles that appear anti-imperialism or pro-tolerance, is to turn you into a Putin-sympathizer. 

I’m not saying libertarians should stop watching and reading RT.  I don’t expect this to be a result.  Just take a few minutes to research its origins.  And at the very least, every time you read an article like this one, take remarks like this: “the Russian state had never dictated its will on anyone or pushed its rules,” with a grain of salt.  And be aware that in other articles and news segments, this bias might not be so blatantly obvious.  The application of critical thinking is essential everywhere.

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