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NYT: Is RT a News Organization or Part of the Kremlin?

Image: NYT: Is RT a News Organization or Part of the Kremlin?
Russian President Vladimir Putin (AP Photo)

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Mar 2017 10:40 PM

A prominent newspaper is taking a close look at Russian news agency RT and whether it is part of the free press, or whether it acts as an agent for the Russian government.

The New York Times recently spent some time in RT's London newsroom. People at the network said the U.S. government's claims RT and its American affiliate, RT America, played a role in trying to influence the U.S. presidential election last fall were false. RT, they said, is an international news agency just like the BBC or France 24.

"There's an hysteria about RT," Anna Belkina, RT's head of communications in Moscow, told the Times. "RT becomes a shorthand for everything.

"The kind of scrutiny we're under — we check everything."

One anchor on RT's news broadcast told the Times his bosses never try to shape his on-air message.

"Unlike at the BBC and CNN, I was never told what to say at RT," Afshin Rattansi said.

A former NATO employee cast doubt on that claim, however. Robert Pszczel told the Times that RT and Sputnik, another Russian news agency, churn out disinformation in an attempt to make Russia look good. And they are designed for the international audience, not Russians themselves.

"It's more about hard power and disinformation," Pszczel said.

The Kremlin, Pszczel added, does not care "if you agree with Russian policy or think Putin is wonderful, so long as it does the job — you start having doubts, and of 10 outrageous points you take on one or two. A bit of mud will always stick."

It was reported in November that RT America and Sputnik were an arm of Russia's state-controlled media. Both outlets are based in the Washington, D.C., area and cater to young journalists fresh out of college.

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A prominent newspaper is taking a close look at Russian news agency RT and whether it is part of the free press, or whether it acts as an agent for the Russian government.
The New York Times, RT, media, news
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2017-40-08
Wednesday, 08 Mar 2017 10:40 PM
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