I am a former Russian TV consultant. Right Wing Media Imitating Russian Media.

Working in a Russian newsroom Nearly a decade ago, I prepared for America today. In both environments, conspiracy theories, false equivalence, and half-truths infect discourse and distort reality. In this current environment, truth and truth must struggle to overcome misinformation and paranoia.

One thing is clear to me: Fox News organizes like Tucker Carlsonalong with other right-wing media figures, sometimes indistinguishable from my old cyber propaganda, RT, a Kremlin-sponsored cable news channel, is eager use American voice to promote a pro-Russian agenda.

Among the Americans currently hosting TV shows on RT are many voices at both poles of the left-right ideology spectrum. Scottie Nell Hughesa former pro-Trump expert on CNN and Fox News, hosted a show that claimed to provide unbiased news coverage, while Canadian actor William Shatner hosted a show where he used his star power to interview other celebrities like astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Meanwhile, leftist journalist Chris Hedges hosts a show of “voices of dissent”, ostensibly dedicated to the cause of anti-imperialistism, but without even mentioning the actual effort. occupied the land of an authoritarian Russian democracy.

Other American voices frequently amplified on RT include former Democratic congresswoman –Speaker CPAC Tulsi Gabbard, libertarian politician Ron Paul and his son, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) – all share the same foreign policy views that Russia now sees as beneficial to promote .

What these numbers don’t seem to understand or overlook is that RT uses their reputation and outside influence to draw people to their YouTube channel and the legitimacy of their brand.

During the Trump years, the channel regularly featured videos and friendly headlines about Trump himself and his radical supporters. A popular topic on this channel is Trump’s denial of NATO and the European Union. A video on RT’s YouTube channel features former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn at an RT event, interviewed by the Russia-based presenter, wearing an RT lanyard. The video of the event, which originally took place in 2015, was posted after Trump was elected, with the credential headline “Is the 2013 Syria gas attack a ‘fake flag?’: Michael Flynn , Trump’s national security adviser at RT10.” The video clearly serves two functions: to show Flynn’s support for the Kremlin-backed station and to use the credibility of a US national security adviser to promote conspiracy theories about the origin of the weapons. chemical gas in Syria. Just this week, Flynn has once again helpfully improved Russia’s agenda by release a statement in which he blamed President Joe Biden for “ignoring Putin’s legitimate security concerns and legitimate nationalist problems in Ukraine” when Russian tanks plowed into Ukraine and began an invasion. overview.

Even as Russian forces surrounded Ukraine, Russian media broadcast clips of Trump calling Putin’s military strategy “genius” and “wonderful.” And to bolster Russia’s case for infringing on a democracy, it played footage of Secretary of State Trump Mike Pompeo praising Putin and clip of Fox News host Tucker Carlson Proudly siding with Russia.

In fact, Carlson’s praise for Putin has been a recurring theme on his program in recent weeks. “Why are we on the side of Ukraine and not with Russia? I’m totally confused,” Carlson asked, seemingly displeased as the guest reminded him that America is for democracies and against dictatorships.

In another bizarre attempt to defend Putin as morally superior to the Democrats, Carlson asked his audience, “Did Putin ever call me a racist? Has he ever threatened to fire me for disagreeing with him? Has he transferred every middle-class job in my town to Russia? The question appeals to audiences’ aversion to liberalism and right-wing populist grievances over immigration and the economy.

This outspoken support for Putin is not typical of even a Russian newsroom.

While the American media speak out, the Russian media use to influence Western audiences from the left and the right, the poison of disinformation. asymmetry stems from the right of thought. Research has proven that those who follow the former president stick to sources that are super partisan and full of conspiracies such as Breitbart, Info Wars and Fox News. Throughout Trump’s election and throughout his presidency, the right-wing ecosystem has grown increasingly conspiratorial, extremist, and anti-democratic. It was during this time that the Russian media and the right-wing media became indistinguishable.

Today, pro-Russian disinformation providers in the US were on Fox News. I warned that quite often the pro-Putin statements on Fox and RT essentially mimic each other. But much of the American public, and even much of the mainstream media, I do not recognize the extent to which this disinformation has become part of the structure of the new media landscape, and therefore, American political discourse.

At this point, using RT as the source of authoritarian misinformation is a red herring. The pro-Putin, pro-Trump, and anti-democratic message is ingrained in our government through the conspiracy theorists and helpful idiots now sitting in the US Congress, like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorn. Stories reach the homes of millions through channels like Newsmax, One America News, and thus, Fox News, the most watched cable news channel on the planet. No longer an issue that affects both political parties equally, the far-right media ecosystem includes mainstream figures like Carlson delivering Putin-branded messages aimed at subverting democracy.

Today, pro-Putin and pro-Trump media sources online and on cable broadcast each other’s anti-democratic agendas. The message amplified on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and newer TikTok, where false or misleading videos about the invasion of Ukraine has received millions of views. Dictatorship disinformation is amorphous, contagious, and has very real effects on American confidence. Recently poll program Republicans view Putin more favorably than Democrats, calling him a “stronger leader” than President Biden. Such polling further shows that both Putin and the messaging of the American right-wing media appeal to Christian nationalism, white supremacy, and admiration for authoritarian men like how.

Of course, another story that is guaranteed to go viral on social media and even among academia is the fallacy that all stories are created equal; that America’s pro-democracy regime is ultimately no better than Russia’s dictatorship. These voices and stories are noticed in Russian state media and in a vast network of sympathizers, bots and trolls; and will be likened to Carlson to an audience of millions already oriented towards authoritarianism.

Fox and RT have both used the conflict to score political points against Biden and his allies. As the pro-democracy world witnessed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s bravery and determination to defend against his country’s invasion, the far-right/Putin media alliance accused him of being a villain. “Soros and the Clintons’ global puppet. ”

And that’s just a preview of the coming cataclysm of “what-sayingism”, a tactic I saw weaponization inside a Russian newsroom. It holds power by exploiting its ability to garner support for false equivalents, where the US and NATO efforts to destroy the Taliban in Afghanistan are on par with Russia’s takeover of a hostile democracy. . There will be attempts to change the subject and relieve Putin of responsibility by asking, “What about Iraq? What about Afghanistan? Engaging in this kind of discourse has strong propaganda value because of its element of truth: that the United States is not historically bluffing.

Another propaganda tactic that has been mobilized is false accusations that pro-democracy voices are engaging in some kind of neo-Mccarthyism. Similarly, there are allegations of a “Red Scare,” accusing those who call Putin’s apologists “Russophobes.”

Right wing media and mixed Russian media will try to fool you. They will point to some of its honest coverage in Ukraine to deny the fact that its most-followed propagandists have praised Putin for spearheading the invasion and further undermining the opposition. his defender.

In response to Russia’s aggression towards her country, former member of Parliament of Ukraine, Nataliya Katser-Buchkovska, explain to me what is at stake. She has dedicated her career to building democracy in Ukraine and pushing the country towards renewable energy. “This is an existential crisis, the struggle of the past against the future, democracy and autocracy, truth and lies.” It is a struggle that all modern democracies face. I am a former Russian TV consultant. Right Wing Media Imitating Russian Media.

Russell Falcon

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