Thursday, 24 April 2014

RT - Russia Today News Channel

I have an admission: I occasionally like to watch RT the Russian state English language news channel which is free to view in the UK on Freeview.  It it is good to get some alternative perspectives on world events and sometimes to see things in other countries which are not necessarily covered by upon in western media for whatever reasons.

But, you have to wonder about its editorial bias and question the credibility of its output when they give a platform to the likes George Galloway on the station -  someone who presents their own program - Sputnik.  Former MP, leftwinger and Trotskyist, Dave Nellist, was also on the other night being interviewed at length.  RT seems to give a lot of airtime for a rag-tag of rent-a-mob, anti-capitalist, leftwingers.  Sometimes I think they focus too much on the negative aspects of the western societies, poverty crime, demonstrations - there is too much handwringing and schadenfreude and self-righteous tone to their reporting style.

It's odd that it has a left wing bias in its coverage of western countries when in terms of economic policy and authoritarianism Russia is on the right wing and anti-liberal.   RT seems to give voice to an odd alliance of left wingers, conspiracy theorists and anti-US and anti-capitalist academics.  

Has RT forgotten that Russia is a capitalist economy nowadays?  On the basis of how much the state accounts for a country's GDP, the UK and France are more socialist by comparison.

Having said that, the rampant Russophobia we have been seeing the western media over recent years and especially since the start of the Ukraine crisis, you would think that the west had forgotten that Russia was no longer communist and the Cold War finished nearly 25 years ago!

Nevertheless, RT does have some good programmes.  Peter Lavelle's Crosstalk is good (but watch out for the dodgy academics); the Kaiser report is entertaining of only they could turn down his rabid winy voice; and occasionally they have some good documentaries on aspects of Russian life you would not normally get to see.

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