"Soros Eruption" at RT: subtle warning signs were there all along
Three years ago, this editor forecast the downward spiral which has led to the recent on-air diatribes by two RT (formerly Russia Today) anchors against Russia's policy of ensuring security in the majority ethnic Russian autonomous republic of Crimea in Ukraine. In 2008, I became the first American journalist to provide RT with a regularly-scheduled live news feed (12 noon Moscow time, 4:00 am Eastern time) from RT's original studio on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, DC. After RT moved to a larger broadcasting facility on G Street in Washington, thus expanding its broadcast operations, this editor became a regular commentator on RT, appearing at least three times a week on the network and additionally, for breaking news stories, and for commentary on RT's Spanish and Arabic language broadcasts.
RT's satellite news broadcasts in English, Spanish, and Arabic reached an estimated 380 million people around the world. With its expanding news coverage and influence, RT caught the attention of both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors chairman Walter Isaacson. In October 2010, Isaacson called RT and other broadcasters, including Press TV of Iran and CCTV of China, "autocratic" and enemies of the United States.
That same month, radio broadcaster and self-proclaimed "progressive" Thom Hartmann relocated his radio and television programs from Portland, Oregon to Washington, DC. Hartmann's radio program broadcast from studios of the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington, DC. Soros is an avowed enemy of the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the hedge fund multi-billionaire funds many of the domestic pressure groups against Putin in Russia, including the notorious Pussy Riot.
After signing off on his afternoon radio show at the CAP offices on H Street, Hartmann walked around the corner to RT's studio on G Street to air his one-half to one-hour television program.
Only weeks after Hartmann began showing up at RT's studios, there were subtle changes at the network and none of them were for the better. In addition to my own schedule of three appearances per week being pared back, it was apparent that RT was losing some of its veteran reporters and anchors, in addition to my own producer. Eventually, loyal anchors were replaced with newcomers like Liz Wahl and Abby Martin.
Earlier discussions about this editor co-hosting an on-air debate program called CrossTalk with Peter Lavelle in Moscow and a solo interview program in Washington were replaced by last-minute canceled appearances by the network.
By the summer of 2011, many former fans of RT in Washington, DC, including some who would recognize me on the streets, subways, and at the National Press Club, asked about RT "losing its bite." I merely explained to them that there had been some "changes" at the network.
In March 2011, Mrs. Clinton told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that she was concerned that RT, Al Jazeera, and CCTV were outgunning the United States in the propaganda war. Of course, Clinton wanted more money for Isaacson's operations at the BBG.
After Clinton's warnings about RT, this editor heard rumors at RT that Russia was being pressured by the Obama administration to tone down what the White House and State Department considered "anti-American" rhetoric on the network. In 2011, Russia was negotiating its membership of the World Trade Organization and the message from Washington was clear: curtail the rhetoric or face problems with WTO membership. Russia acceded to the WTO in 2012.
RT began inviting more and more "mainstream" guests to its programs, including policy wonks at the CAP, which hosted Hartmann's radio program. Neo-conservatives and pro-Obama "neo-liberals" began showing up more and more at the RT studio. Vapid policymakers from such institutions as the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies replaced commentators like myself, retired CIA officer Ray McGovern, and radio host Alex Jones who take a more critical view of U.S. policies and did so with vigor during both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations.
Infiltration of RT was made known by this editor to officials at RT in Moscow and its parent, RIA Novosti.
Within the past few days, Martin used her broadcast to issue a scathing attack on Putin's policies in Ukraine, although she admitted she was not familiar with the history of the country. That was followed by Wahl resigning from RT during a live broadcast. Wahl's screed was nothing more than a jingoistic pro-American attack on Putin and RT's coverage in a manner more befitting a Fox News commentator.
The danger of what was nothing more than an infiltration operation targeting RT was communicated in late 2010 and early 2011 by this editor to RT and its former parent company, the Russian state-owned RIA Novosti, by email and in person.
Now that we have experienced two "sleeper" agents, Wahl and Martin, slam Russia on RT in a premeditated "Soros Eruption" earning the immediate attention of and praise from the likes of the pro-Obama Daily Beast, CNN, Huffington Post, and other supporters of U.S. intervention in countries ranging from Ukraine and Syria to Venezuela and Libya, the warnings conveyed by this editor have, unfortunately, come to full fruition.
RT operates in the United States through its RT Television America subsidiary, with bureaus in Washington, New York, Miami, and Los Angeles.
Russia reached out to the concept of freedom of the press in America long after it was known by many Americans that independent news outlets were not allowed to function without overt and covert subterfuge from organs of the U.S. government like the State Department, BBG, and their privatized agents-of-influence like Soros and his infrastructure of propagandists and provocateurs. Russia took a chance on broadcasting independently from American shores while playing by First Amendment principles.
Russia found out like the rest of us that the concepts of free speech and freedom of the press were short-circuited within the Soros media matrix. With the recent on-air "Soros Eruptions" by two RT anchors, the attempt by Russia to experiment with America's First Amendment rights failed miserably. The news content of RT, for a few moments, was indistinguishable from Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. And the statement by RT and RIA Novosti successor -- Rossiya Segodnya -- editor-in-chief in Moscow, Margarita Simonyan, seemingly defending the bizarre and misinformed on-air statements of Wahl and Martin, suggest the subterfuge of RT in the United States also extends to its main news bureau in Moscow.