The Whole Government Narrative, and Nothing but the Government Narrative
RT America is no more as the propaganda war steers western populations deeper into the impenetrable pocket of the fog of war, and the whole world closer to calamity.
As if the fog of war could not get any more opaque, the storylines and narratives that back and promote it have increased their elbow room.
The U.S.-NATO narrative swallowed another casualty in its quest for information dominance as RT America was brought to an end this week, inching the world population further within the cave of government-disseminated information.
Since the 2014 coup that overthrew the democratically-elected government of Ukraine, the west's propaganda apparatus has worked to narrow the scope of the narrative— to their own, no one else's. While every government is going to maintain its narrative and have its collection of partial media outlets and networks to parrot it with zeal, the instant that becomes the only acceptable, viable, and accessible viewpoint is the signal of a descent to depths far below the standards of free speech this country claims to uphold.
Russia Today, known as RT, is Russia's internationally-broadcast channel. It's U.S.-based sister network is RT America, and it is host to a wide range of opinions that align behind one thing, and it actually isn't allegiance to Russia. Rather, it is the fact that they are all different from the U.S. establishment narrative of cable news networks and legacy outlets. Before this termination, RT America was primarily comprised of impartial, independent voices who question rather than repeat.
Earlier this week, DirecTV had removed RT America from their lineup and Roku followed soon after as the effort to hinder the network's reach continued. YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook's Meta all removed RT's social media accounts from their platforms. Both Google and Apple removed RT content from their app stores. And the general manager of RT America's production company T&R Productions was kicked from the International Emmy Academy board of directors.
Then on Thursday, T&R Productions announced the conclusion of the network's operations and the laying off of most of its staff, saying it came "as a result of unforeseen business interruption events" that arose with this effort in the west.
"Unfortunately, we anticipate this layoff to be permanent," the memo added grimly.
There is no doubt that the nationalist Russian Federation has its own propaganda machine and a strong will to prevent, suppress, and imprison dissenting viewpoints, but to claim that RT America is a "mouthpiece" of the Russian government—as CNN and other outlets that serve as stenographers in their own right did—is ridiculously false.
RT America happened to be the only American network that housed media personalities that dissent from and counter the government narrative, and about topics that range far beyond anything to do with Russia.
Chris Hedges, the man shunned from The New York Times for his opposition to the Iraq War, had a show on RT America. So did Lee Camp, the antiwar journalist and comedian. Afshin Rattansi hosted a show called Going Underground that was host to all sorts of speakers, and Rattansi, while questioning the U.S.-NATO narrative of the current events in Ukraine, was equally as skeptical of the Russian talking points on his show (listen to him speak to a Russian official before the invasion had occurred— he notes mutual signs of aggression, the failure to formally sign a treaty recognizing "the promise" of no NATO expansion eastward, etc). Abby Martin, too, had a show on it for several years, and spoke on the freedom she had while there.
This is another escalation in the propaganda war.
After the UK shut down RT, British journalist Neil Clark asked an important question after thoughtfully considering how this will only result in Russia's banning of western outlets: Is this the road we want to go down?
The consideration that this can only snowball into a limited range of insulated perspectives based on which government you live under that will only heighten tensions in this multipolar world is not crazy.
Last year, the UK's media regulator Ofcom terminated the broadcasting license of China Global Television Network (CGTN), claiming that the holding company Star China Media Limited did not maintain "editorial responsibility" for the channel's output. Previous to the move, Ofcom claimed CGTV had broken impartiality standards multiple times when covering the events in Hong Kong back in 2019.
In retaliation, China's National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) banned the BBC from China. The BBC was never broadcasted within the homes of mainland Chinese residents, but it had been available in international hotels as well as in Hong Kong.
The origin of the narrative-focused retaliatory back-and-forth was centered around what was going on in Hong Kong between June 2019 and early 2020. The clashes that unfolded there included a heavy influence from the National Endowment of Democracy, or NED, the organization the Reagan Administration created in order to have a place to "farm out" the CIA's regime-change practices to, as the late Robert Parry characterized it.
NED's goal is to fund non-government organizations in order to push the interests of the U.S. government, which in Hong Kong was separation from China. The initiation of the protests were heavy with American flags, Union Jacks, and calls for western intervention. Needless to say, the U.S. establishment, rich with war hawks who feed off global tensions, was a fan of the movement while curiously opposed to the demonstrations in the summer of 2020 following George Floyd's murder.
The conflict between the media companies in the UK and China last year was not focused on promoting impartiality as Offcom claimed, it was focused on preserving the power of the establishment narrative.
Same is the case with the obliteration of RT America: it helps preserve and maintain only the U.S.-NATO side of things, leaving little room for media outlets to call into question all the facts and context the propaganda machine is leaving out in the west.
It's no wonder that the nationalist extremist groups in Ukraine—that played a major role in the 2014 coup, that were integrated into the government and military, and that make up a significant portion of the country's fighting force—were funded and supported by NED as well.
That is not exactly something the U.S. and the west are eager to have disseminated throughout Europe and the America's because it would destroy the narrative, it would reveal their efforts to be the reckless and greedy lunges toward power that they are, and most of all it would generate outrage among the people they need support from.
Keeping the narrative untouched by the nuances of reality allow the U.S. government to hide behind the events in Ukraine as if they are the Hollywood cliché beam of light trying to penetrate the darkness, as if they had nothing to do with it for the last eight years, and it allows the U.S. to drive up the animosity for Russia and other perceived adversaries, thus rallying its own support.
This meddling in the true nature of the situation drives support for further exacerbation of the conflict.
Last night on Twitter and television, people were melting down over reports that Russia had fired at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and that a disaster was brewing because of such a brazen act. Ukraine’s foreign minister was among those calling attention to it.
While panic was being formed through the concerning and vague reports of a fire at a nuclear power plant that could result in damage ten times worse than the Chernobyl disaster, the truth turned out to be not all that frightening.
Mark Nelson @energybantsPeople are confusing "reactor" with "plant". This is a very misleading work mistake to make now. A "reactor" did not get hit. It is a metal vessel and pipes deep inside a thick and strong concrete dome. https://t.co/iJ6rhc8S9F
Not only was the fire nowhere near the reactors, the reports of higher radiation levels, as reported by The AP, were proven false as well.
Even as verified reports were beginning to clear up the confusing situation, folks were quick to have "time for NATO" trending on Twitter.
It was thanks to alternative sources of information—outside the corporate media framework, not focused on an agenda, and trying to report the truth—that this sort of thing did not escalate any further with the media circus. And alternative voices, suffice it to say, are a welcomed presence any time the word "nukes" gets thrown around as such a term seems to raise the temperature, forcing logic and reason to take a back seat (see The Iraq War).
Moreover, on the matter of the truth, the whole mayhem at the power plant was actually set off by the Ukrainian firing of an RPGs.
The reality portrayed by the media needs to consist of various perspectives if it is going to come close to portraying the complexity of this world. Reducing the perspective is a disservice to the truth and hands power over to those who abuse it.
As a result of insulating the western populations within the framework of the establishment narrative by banning sources of alternative viewpoints, it will only trigger similar responses from the other side. It will dig all of us a deeper hole of incoherence, which is a very dangerous place to be.
With no more RT on the international scene, the result will be further alienation between the countries and their proxies.
The people of this world are being atomized further through this battle for propaganda supremacy, and all for the gross love of power. It helps no one, and it only raises the tensions that are felt around the globe— the tensions tied to the anxiety of a world war, of nuclear disaster.
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