Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Waking Up To Russia Today

I am a news addict. And I absolutely must get my fix first thing in the morning, or there's absolutely no way I'll be any use for the next few hours. Until recently I'd tried to prise my eyelids open to BBC Breakfast, which is less like a caffeine shot and more like a particularly thick mug of Horlicks. And more to the point of course, most of what they say is absolute bollocks, with the Beeb fulfilling its traditional role of setting the political agenda for the day on behalf of the ruling class, in amongst the cosy chats with non-entities promoting not very much. But I reassured myself that at least it wasn't Lorraine.

Now over the last couple of weeks I've started to watch Russia Today (or RT as it's rechristened itself, no doubt with an eye to Twitter). Of course, it also promotes the agenda of a ruling class, because it is directly funded by the Russian state. But in spite of this - or more accurately because of this - it hits on the objective truth more often than not. If you take the bits about Russia and China with a huge barrel of salt, you can enjoy hearing about how the American occupations are challenging the "US oligarchy" (and they actually use terms like that).

Occupiers struggle with US media, but push against an open door with RT
It's been so invigorating to see the demonstrators, and there's nothing wrong with getting your blood pre-boiled for the day by seeing a bit of police brutality early on either. From the streets of New York, LA or Chicago, it's typically some 'citizen journalist' decrying the NATO assault on the Libyan city of Sirte from his bedroom, speculation about the direction of the Egyptian revolution, and scenes from the streets of Greece, where there's strikes, or riots, or whatever else. Forget whether or not Liam Fox might by gay, you know the real news is that he's massacring Libyans for oil.

It's not just straight up news either, there are interviews, debates...and then there's the Keiser Report. Max Keiser is a reformed Wall Street trader who is now using his inside knowledge to critique the "financial terrorism" currently sweeping the globe. Together with co-host Stacy Herbert, he's not exactly afraid to shock with the truth. Yesterday he was warning Chicago banksters that the 99% "have the guillotine", and in the midst of the UK riots he told David Cameron to "STFU" for "financially raping" the "ghetto" whilst condemning minor looters.

The depth of RT's analysis is perfectly illustrated by Russia and China's recent veto of sanctions against Syria. Instead of what BBC might have - i.e. 'explanations' couched in the anodyne language of 'diplomacy' - RT provided a realpolitik comparison to the 'abuse' of the US/UK/French UN 'no fly zone' resolution on Libya. It speculated that the west may want regime change in Syria, to suit its ally Israel, amongst other reasons. However, at no point did it mention that both Russia and China have large economic ties to the al-Assad regime.

It seems anything that would upset the "US empire" is permitted on RT. Meanwhile Russia is lauded as an exception to the global economic turmoil, Serbia should free Kosovo, and China might have some problems, but they're working on them. In the end though, I've seen Noam Chomsky talk Arab revolutions and an Anarchist Against The Wall take on the state of Israel, so the sodium chloride needed for RT is far less than on BBC Breakfast, or even Lorraine. Until the international proletariat has its own channel, Russian bourgeois propaganda may have to do.

In the UK and Ireland, the channel is available on Sky channel 512. It is also on Freeview channel 85 and Freesat channel 206.
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