While much of the Western media has been whipping itself into frenzy over the phantom Russian Menace to Freedom & Democracy™, we can't help but note the irony of the situation. You see, RT, which is so often accused of trying to create an alternate reality, seems to have been one of the rare news organizations to actually report on, well, reality.
It started a while back. During the fall of 2011, RT was the only major news network present on the scene of the nascent Occupy movement in New York for nearly three weeks.
The protests were initially treated as a fluke by the mainstream media. The movement went on to become a global phenomenon, energizing support for the expectation-defying presidential run of Bernie Sanders at a time when most of the American establishment press projected Hillary Clinton to sail through to the Democratic nomination unchallenged.
These winds of change were not just a U.S. phenomenon—they also swept through Europe. When anxiety over austerity policy, immigration and security went largely unaddressed by E.U. top brass, the people of Europe, and the U.K. in particular, found new champions for their grievances amongst the likes of Nigel Farage, Alexis Tsipras, and Jeremy Corbyn.
From day one, the political and media establishments on both sides of the Atlantic dismissed these voices and their supporters as 'fringe'. RT chose to listen to them at the outset, and report on them. Today, they are far from the periphery, with some shaping the continent's future. Of course, when “fringe” gains widespread public support, it no longer fits into the simple, established narratives and needs to be explained away. To accept domestic issues as the main reason behind societal shifts would force the powers that be to examine and address their own failings. That can be uncomfortable. It’s much easier to ape the same conspiracy theorists they mock and find external scapegoats.
Russia has been accused, by widely respected voices, of weaponizing everything from migrants and attractive women, to its own economy—even dolphins!—in its “efforts" to bring down Western Civilization. Anyone who doesn’t play the 'blame Russia' game automatically becomes a 'Kremlin stooge.' Jill Stein, Farage, Corbyn, Tsipras, Marine Le Pen, Miloš Zeman and Viktor Orban, among others, have all been accused of nefarious ties to Moscow. Trump has actually been dubbed a "Russian agent" in the popular U.S. press….The Hill
U.S. media's false narrative of Russian election influence
Margarita Simonyan is Editor-in-Chief of RT (formerly known as Russia Today)