We’re back – in the USSR

RT logoWhen I left for Russian slightly more than two weeks ago I predicted in Hiatus = HELP WANTED that the Gaza Flotilla story would be BIG. So it was enormously frustrating to be far away in Russia (otherwise the trip was great); deprived of Internet access and even information. My one source, as so often happens to tourists, was the sole English-language Russian station on the hotel room television.

To my horror, though not to my surprise, this station, RT (formerly Russian Television) out BBC’d the BBC for bias. For the first three days not one Israeli official spokesman was interviewed in the obsessive coverage. The best they could (or would) do was present a RT talking head to say the Israelis ‘say’ they are innocent. This feeble attempt to show some semblance of balance typically took up about 20 secs from the 10 minutes devoted to unchallenged testimony from the flotilla side. Such ludicrous statements as an ‘eyewitness’ claiming he saw murder in the eyes of the balaclava-clad soldiers, descending on a swinging cable, at night, were broadcast without question.

Screen grab from RT coverageNeedless to say no counter material was presented that might have assisted Israel’s case. It’s existence wasn’t even hinted at.†

If one could believe RT Israel was in internal crisis with the public virtually rioting to punish Ehud Barak. This was directly contradicted by my daughter in Beer Sheva when we rung her. She told me the atmosphere was as patriotic as on Yom Atzmaut (Independence Day).

Isn’t RT just an insignificant upstaRT?

Far from being a penny ante tourist media RT ‘is a global multilingual television news networkand the first all-digital Russian TV network.

RT broadcasts from its headquarters in Moscow and its studios in New York, Washington DC, Miami, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Delhi and Tel Aviv. RT is available in over 100 countries spread over five continents via cable, satellite, and online free from the RT website.

In addition to the Moscow based flagship RT English-language broadcast, RT also runs RT Arabic, RT America, and Actualidad RT in Spanish.

Like the often ignored small to medium media outlets that Five Minutes for Israel tries to target, foreign publications in the English language often have surprising coverage and, however incorrect that might be in practise, represent the ‘Russian view’ of events.

OK You’ve vented. What do you want us to do?

RT.com has an active website and allows comments.  It needs to be monitored and distortions, fantasies, bias and outright lies should never be allowed to pass unchallenged. Let Five Minutes for Israel know when that happens so we can encourage our readers to respond. If RT has studios in your country let them know how you feel, particularly if they misrepresent the response to Israel in your country.

RT should not be allowed to slip under the radar.

† Although some material presenting the Israeli side has found its way to the Internet site I didn’t see it on television. Either it wasn’t broadcast or it was broadcast, once, at an unpopular hour. The Destroy Israel Lobby material was repeated with every broadcast.

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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