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Fact Checking for Dummies: RT Teaches Its Critics a Few Things About Journalism

© Sputnik / Evgeny Biyatov / Go to the mediabankControl room of the Russia Today English-language newsroom
Control room of the Russia Today English-language newsroom - Sputnik International
Waging a valiant crusade against what they perceive as ‘Russian propaganda’, certain Western media outlets apparently tend to forget about bothersome and insignificant things like facts and fact checking.

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As the number of articles blaming RT for destabilizing political situation in Western countries, disseminating propaganda and generally telling things that Western power brokers don’t like, the patience of Russia Today’s journalists was wearing thin.

And when the Washington Post published an article titled ‘If Russia Today is Moscow’s Propaganda Arm, It’s Not Very Good at Its Job’, they decided to teach the newspaper a lesson – that is, a lesson of fact checking and actual journalism.

First things first, WaPo accused the Russian news agency of denigrating former US Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, referring to some kind of (video) "segment" called 'Clinton and ISIS Funded by the Same Money', and "casting doubt on the outcome of the U.S. election with clips like "Trump Will Not be Permitted to Win."

Problem is, the video in question which provoked said accusations is not some sort of RT original production, but rather an interview with Julian Assange, the license for which was purchased by RT from Dartmouth Films.

Likewise, simply browsing the RT news archives reveals that WaPo's claims about the Russian news agency promoting Donald Trump and badmouthing Hillary Clinton during the US presidential election are equally baseless: the 2016 election was clearly regarded as 'choosing between two evils' by RT.

Also, the WaPo author’s attempts to determine exactly how many people visit the RT website and YouTube channel hit a little snag – it turns out that she based her conclusions on data from 2012.

And claims about RT mostly attracting attention via viral video hits online doesn’t even require comprehensive debunking – one only needs to compare the number of views of the aforementioned viral videos and, for example, ‘non-viral videos’ like Donald Trump’s victory speech or the live US election day special coverage.

​Ironically enough, the claims that RT’s influence and audience size is vastly overrated appears a bit strange, to put it mildly, considering the amount of attention the news agency received in the recent US intelligence community report.

​"Let us hope that next time US media agencies will put more effort into their attacks against ‘unpopular, Trump-loving Kremlin propaganda mouthpiece that virtually has no audience’, using facts and providing links to sources instead of resorting to unconfirmed statements, fake reports and unfounded figures. But, to be honest, we’re not holding our breath," the RT article concludes.

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