Topic: Media Research Center
We've noted how Russian aggression in Ukraine abruptly awakened the Media Research Center's interest in the Russia Today channel -- though it studiously ignored the fact that notable conservatives like Dennis Miller and Steve Malzberg had shows on the channel. As the Russian war in Ukraine escalated, so did the MRC's attacks on RT.
Nicholas Fondacaro served up some backhanded praise of non-right-wing channels in bashing RT in a Feb. 28 post: "You may have thought CNN and MSNBC spewed outright lies and falsehoods, but with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, they don’t hold a candle to state-controlled RT (Russia Today)." Actually, the Fox News model is much closer to the RT model when it comes to spreading falsehoods, especially when Republicans control the government.
The same day, Catherine Salgado imposed another shopworn MRC narrative on RT and other Russian-controlled media: Russia state-affiliated accounts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are still allowed to influence their approximately 38.7 million followers even as Russia attacks Ukraine. ... These are the same platforms that banned former U.S. President Donald Trump in January, 2021." Salgado then played dumb on what Trump did: "Facebook, YouTube and Twitter banned then-President Donald Trump in 2021 for supposedly encouraging violence." Wait, what? "Supposedly"? The record is pretty clear on Trump playing a major role in instigating the Capitol riot. In a case of reality overtaking a political narrative, Salgado had to update her post to note that, yes, social media sites were taking aim at Russian state-media accounts.
A March 1 post by Scott Whitlock cheered that "DirectTV was FINALLY dropping Russian propaganda outfit RT" and compiled "five of the most offensive, idiotic, ridiculous falsehoods" if found on RT -- an exercise the MRC will never do on Fox News. Salgado returned to lament that "DirecTV absurdly refused to renew One America News Network earlier this year while RT’s programming was only suspended after Russia invaded Ukraine." Curtis Houck marked the "final moments of Putin's stoogefest" as DirecTV pulled the plug.
Tierin-Rose Mandelburg also played the Trump equivocation in a March 2 post: "It took a full-fledged war for Big Tech to take action against Russia state-affiliated accounts like Sputnik and RT, Russia Today. President Donald Trump was censored 625 times before being permanently banned." The correct way to say that is that Trump violated social media terms of service 625 times, which led to him being permanently banned (plus the whole inciting-a-Capitol-riot thing).
When RT announced it would cease production after ghetting deplatformed, fondacaro cheered in a March 3 post:
Following DirectTV’s pledge and on dropping the state-funded “news” station earlier this week, Russia Today (RT) told staff that they would experience a “permanent” “layoff” as the network “ceasing production” in a couple of months. That, according to CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy, who obtained an internal memo announcing the move to staff.
In the memo, T&R Productions general manager Misha Solodovnikov informed their American-side propagandists they would be “ceasing production … as a result of unforeseen business interruption events.”
“Laid off employees will not have bumping rights, that is, the ability to use your seniority with T&R to remain employed by displacing another employee from his or her job,” the memo added.
Darcy deduced that “[t]he news would mean an effective end to RT America” as DirecTV and Roku have kicked dictator “Vladimir Putin’s main mouthpieces in the US” to the curb.
None of these posts mentioned the conservatives who had shows on RT -- not even to denounce them for working witih Russian state media. Maybe the MRC doesn't want to be reminded that it too held warm thoughts about Putin because he mouthed conservative-friendly talking points. It's part of the MRC giving conservatives a pass for being Putin-curious.