I talked to a friend the other night about RT (Russia Today), the news organization funded by Russia. We talked about whether all the RT programs were propaganda. I don't watch all RT programs, so I don't know.
I sometimes watch Chris Hedges on RT, and The Empire Files with Abby Martin (and executive producer Paul Jay from Real News Network). You may remember Larry King from CNN. He has a show on RT called Politicking.
There are progressive shows on RT that you will not find in mainstream US media. Many of the people interviewed on RT shows are the same people speaking on shows like Democracy Now! Although, you might not find the John Pilger interview with Julian Assange on a website besides RT.
John Pilger is a respected Australian journalist, now based in the UK. He has spoken out for socialism, and has criticized the US, UK, and Australia for their foreign policy. If the US wants to point to a John Pilger story and call it Russian propaganda, the US might be saying don't look at the socialist journalist reporting a news story that looks at the misdeeds of US government officials. Yes, RT covers WikiLeaks stories.
The day after I talked to my friend, RT put out a story on its website about RT journalist Gayane Chichakyan, who asked John Kirby, spokesperson for the US State Department, "for specific information concerning allegations that Russia is targeting hospitals in Syria." John Kirby lost his temper, calling RT state propaganda. Another correspondent in the room came to Chichakyan's defense, telling Kirby that the RT reporter's question was not inappropriate. Chichakyan asked valid questions about the agencies Kirby used as sources for the hospital bombings story. Kirby called the sources credible and would not give details.
RT followed up with the story on November 17, reporting that the World Health Organization (WHO) of the United Nations condemned massive attacks on five hospitals in Syria. The WHO statement does not attribute blame to any party. WHO was the State Department's source, reports RT.
The same day the RT story broke about Kirby and Chickakyan, Democracy Now! reported that "airstrikes across Northern Syria were carried out by either Russian or Syrian government warplanes," bombing at least four hospitals since Sunday. On RT, Russian fighter jets took off from the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov "to carry out strikes against jihadists" in Syria. The RT crew was embedded. RT's website shows footage that looks like Russian military training exercises, though some seems to show actual strikes against Syrian targets. The RT story on these attacks doesn't comment on bombs hitting hospitals. The day after, November 17, RT shows more video of bombers on its site, without discussing if some of Russia's missiles hit hospitals. It is interesting that these videos aren't really stories. The footage mostly shows off planes, ships, and weapons.
What makes this news on Syria more intriguing is the interview that John Pilger did with Loud & Clear on Sputnik. (Yes, Sputnik is also a Russian-funded news organization. But I wanted to listen to John Pilger!) The episode is called "John Pilger: Inside Invisible Government That Pushes Clinton's Presidency." What a name! It refers to Pilger's article "Inside the Invisible Government: War, Propaganda, Clinton & Trump," published by CounterPunch on October 28, 2016.
This Loud & Clear podcast interview happened a day or so within John Pilger's exclusive RT interview with Julian Assange, during which Assange states (02:45-03:26) that Russia is not the source of the e-mail leaks to WikiLeaks. In the podcast, Pilger tells Brian Becker (22:58-24:19) that "James Clapper, the notorious NSA man, he's the one who's come closest to saying the Russians are involved. But even he won't go as far as saying, well, we actually have hard evidence of it." Pilger proclaims, "It's clearly a fabrication. It's clearly propaganda." James Clapper, the Director of National intelligence, lied to the Senate about US government surveillance in March 2013.
Now online media is pointing to the words of the Director of the National Security Agency, Admiral Michael Rogers, as evidence that Russia hacked the DNC and interfered with the 2016 elections. A writer at CBSNews.com, for example, states that "Rogers is most likely referencing Russia" when Rogers says, "There shouldn't be any doubts in anybody's mind...This was a conscious effort by a nation state to attempt to achieve a specific effect."
I first saw this NSA story picked up by Mother Jones. Mother Jones has a good reputation. Maybe the story is true? David Corn followed up his November 16 piece in Mother Jones with the article "Senior House Democrat Calls for Congressional Probe of Russian Meddling in 2016 Election." This November 17 piece reveals the senior Democrat as Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the Hillary cheerleader who endorsed Clinton for president while investigating the US attack on Benghazi, including Hillary Clinton's role as Secretary of State. In both pieces for Mother Jones, David Corn makes reference to the Wall Street Journal's video clip of Admiral Michael Rogers, who never names Russia as the suspicious nation-state.
To consider these David Corn stories in light of The Intercept's November 16 piece "TITANPOINTE: The NSA's Spy Hub in New York, Hidden in Plain Sight," makes one wonder about propaganda. Who is spying on whom? Who is lying? Which news stories are true?
Have you read Manufacturing Consent? I haven't. I read the Open Magazine Pamphlet "Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda" (1991) by Noam Chomsky and saw the 1992 documentary Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media. I look to see if a writer lists a source in an article as "human rights NGO" or uses a specific name. Is the sole person interviewed for a piece a member of the military or a government official? Is the article essentially a press release from Washington or a corporation?
If you are willing to consider that John Pilger, an experienced journalist, is worth listening to, you will want to hear him talk about US and British propaganda coming out of Syria. I've cut out the segment of the Loud & Clear podcast that focuses on the jihadist media center funded by USAID and the British government. "The stories appearing in the mainstream press," according to Pilger, "are all coming from that one source." The audio is only a few minutes long.
Did you listen to Pilger?
Do you believe him?