ASSANGE ON RUSSIA TODAY GETS THE NEW YORK TIMES MAD…
From the NYT review:
Mr. Assange says the theme of his half-hour show on RT is “the world tomorrow.” But there is something almost atavistic about the outlet he chose. RT, first known as Russia Today, is an English-language news network created by the Russian leader Vladimir V. Putin in 2005 to promote the Kremlin line abroad. (It also broadcasts in Spanish and Arabic.) It’s like the Voice of America, only with more money and a zesty anti-American slant. A few correspondents can sound at times like Boris and Natasha of “Rocky & Bullwinkle” fame. Basically, it’s an improbable platform for a man who poses as a radical left-wing whistleblower and free-speech frondeur battling the superpowers that be.
Let’s examine the unstated premises at work here. There is apparently a rule that says it’s perfectly OK for a journalist to work for a media outlet owned and controlled by a weapons manufacturer (GE/NBC/MSNBC), or by the U.S. and British governments (BBC/Stars & Stripes/Voice of America), or by Rupert Murdoch and Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal (Wall St. Journal/Fox News), or by a banking corporation with long-standing ties to right-wing governments (Politico), or by for-profit corporations whose profits depend upon staying in the good graces of the U.S. government (Kaplan/The Washington Post), or by loyalists to one of the two major political parties (National Review/TPM/countless others), but it’s an intrinsic violation of journalistic integrity to work for a media outlet owned by the Russian government. Where did that rule come from?
Also, while it’s certainly true that the coverage of RT is at times overly deferential to the Russian government, that media outlet never mindlessly disseminated government propaganda to help to start a falsehood-fueled devastating war, the way that Alessandra Stanley’s employer (along with most leading American media outlets) did. When it comes to destruction brought about by uncritical media fealty to government propaganda, RT — as the Russia expert Mark Adomanis documented when American media figures began attacking RT — is far behind virtually all of the corporate employers of its American media critics.
Then there’s the notion that there’s something hypocritical about Assange’s working for a government-owned media outlet because he “poses as a radical left-wing whistleblower and free-speech frondeur battling the superpowers that be.” Actually, Assange has never presented him as anything other than as an advocate for transparency and adversarial journalism — of shining a light on the conduct of the world’s most powerful government and corporate factions — and if that goal can be fulfilled by using this media platform, how is that remotely hypocritical? Then there’s Stanley’s mockery of a “few” Russian “correspondents who can sound at times like Boris and Natasha of “Rocky & Bullwinkle’ fame”: that’s called having an accent in a language that isn’t your native one, and it’s rather petty, at best, to ridicule that as a means of undermining the credibility of RT’s journalism.