How the truth is made at Russia Today (RT)

jnpy!$4g3cwk

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WASHINGTON — Staci Bivens knew something was seriously wrong when her bosses at Russia Today asked her to put together a story alleging that Germany — Europe’s economic powerhouse — was a failed state.

“It was me and two managers and they had already discussed what they wanted,” Bivens, an American who worked in RT’s Moscow headquarters from 2009 through 2011, said of a meeting she’d had to discuss the segment before a planned reporting trip to Germany. “They called me in and it was really surreal. One of the managers said, ‘The story is that the West is failing, Germany is a failed state.’”

Bivens, who had spent time in Germany, told the managers the story wasn’t true — the term “failed state” is reserved for countries that fail to provide basic government services, like Somalia or Congo, not for economically advanced, industrialized nations like Germany. They insisted. Bivens refused.
RT flew a crew to Germany ahead of Bivens, who was flown in later to do a few standups and interviews about racism in Germany. It was the beginning of the end of her RT career.
A devastating inside view of RT.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/how-the-truth-is-made-at-russia-today

Coverage from the BBC:

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-26585033
 

vrDrew

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I'm not really sure what is the worse story:

1) The fact that the bosses of Russia Today attempt to skew the news to suit their purposes or..

2) That the job prospects for young Journalists in the US are so utterly bleak.

A functioning modern society needs journalists. It needs inquiring, relentlessly curious people to cover - and investigate - school board meetings and town council zoning hearings. It needs people to check out which local companies are dumping waste in the creek and which restaurants are hiring illegal workers.

But - thanks Google and Craigslist and Monster etc. - we've destroyed the economics of local newspapers. The sort of businesses that could afford to hire twenty or thirty young J-school graduates and put them onto the beat covering that sort of story.

Now most newspapers are struggling to survive. They are laying off staff at an unprecedented pace.

So snark all you want at Russia Today. And A-Jazeera America. But at least they are offering young Journalists a job.
 

VulchR

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RT is still better than Faux News. They are biased, but some of their reporting regarding the economic crisis has been spot on. Typically I watch RT, CNN, BBC, CCTV and Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera seems to me to be the least biased on most matters.
 

jnpy!$4g3cwk

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Seems like RT is slightly worse than mainstream US news outlets... >_>
Ha, ha. But, not true. I have access to RT, and watch from time to time to see what Putin's line is. When it first came out, it was like the old magazine Soviet Life. A rosy view of Russia, with a few warts thrown in for effect. The news reflected Putin's policies. I watched it a couple of days ago and the "news" was an anti-West tirade. And that was the "news", not the editorials.

I'm not really sure what is the worse story:

1) The fact that the bosses of Russia Today attempt to skew the news to suit their purposes or..
It has gotten very, very ugly since the crisis in the Ukraine emerged. No way does CBS, ABC, NBC resemble it remotely.

2) That the job prospects for young Journalists in the US are so utterly bleak.

A functioning modern society needs journalists. It needs inquiring, relentlessly curious people to cover - and investigate - school board meetings and town council zoning hearings. It needs people to check out which local companies are dumping waste in the creek and which restaurants are hiring illegal workers.

But - thanks Google and Craigslist and Monster etc. - we've destroyed the economics of local newspapers. The sort of businesses that could afford to hire twenty or thirty young J-school graduates and put them onto the beat covering that sort of story.

Now most newspapers are struggling to survive. They are laying off staff at an unprecedented pace.
It is a devil's bargain, isn't it?

So snark all you want at Russia Today. And A-Jazeera America. But at least they are offering young Journalists a job.
I don't think this qualifies as "snark". RT, a couple of days ago, was broadcasting raw anti-US anti-West propaganda. That is not a job for "Journalists".

RT is still better than Faux News. They are biased, but some of their reporting regarding the economic crisis has been spot on. Typically I watch RT, CNN, BBC, CCTV and Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera seems to me to be the least biased on most matters.
I would go with the BBC myself. Kind of a tie between CNN, CCTV, and Al-Jazeera, and that is not a good tie. RT has seriously deteriorated over the last month-- the only reason to watch is to find out what Putin is thinking. Fox News is almost pure editorializing, and, in that sense, is equivalent to RT. The only reason I watch Fox News is to find out what the racist right wing is thinking.

Actually, I've been watching France24 more than any other lately. Try it.
 

Michael Goff

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Ha, ha. But, not true. I have access to RT, and watch from time to time to see what Putin's line is. When it first came out, it was like the old magazine Soviet Life. A rosy view of Russia, with a few warts thrown in for effect. The news reflected Putin's policies. I watched it a couple of days ago and the "news" was an anti-West tirade. And that was the "news", not the editorials.



It has gotten very, very ugly since the crisis in the Ukraine emerged. No way does CBS, ABC, NBC resemble it remotely.



It is a devil's bargain, isn't it?



I don't think this qualifies as "snark". RT, a couple of days ago, was broadcasting raw anti-US anti-West propaganda. That is not a job for "Journalists".



I would go with the BBC myself. Kind of a tie between CNN, CCTV, and Al-Jazeera, and that is not a good tie. RT has seriously deteriorated over the last month-- the only reason to watch is to find out what Putin is thinking. Fox News is almost pure editorializing, and, in that sense, is equivalent to RT. The only reason I watch Fox News is to find out what the racist right wing is thinking.

Actually, I've been watching France24 more than any other lately. Try it.
And the US has a mainstream media that is decidedly anti-Islam and rather anti-East.
 

rdowns

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Jul 11, 2003
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I'm not really sure what is the worse story:

1) The fact that the bosses of Russia Today attempt to skew the news to suit their purposes or..

2) That the job prospects for young Journalists in the US are so utterly bleak.

A functioning modern society needs journalists. It needs inquiring, relentlessly curious people to cover - and investigate - school board meetings and town council zoning hearings. It needs people to check out which local companies are dumping waste in the creek and which restaurants are hiring illegal workers.

But - thanks Google and Craigslist and Monster etc. - we've destroyed the economics of local newspapers. The sort of businesses that could afford to hire twenty or thirty young J-school graduates and put them onto the beat covering that sort of story.

Now most newspapers are struggling to survive. They are laying off staff at an unprecedented pace.

So snark all you want at Russia Today. And A-Jazeera America. But at least they are offering young Journalists a job.


And so is so-called new media. Andrew Sullivan's The Dish is now a paid blog, free from any corporate media, and has expanded the number of writers it has. His business is growing big time. He has documented it on his site.

Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight, a new date driven news site is launching this week.

Ezra Klein is launching a new news site shortly, Vox.com.

Glenn Greenwald and several other high profile journalists are launching yet another new news outlet.

Plenty of opportunities for young journalists.
 

vrDrew

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And so is so-called new media. Andrew Sullivan's The Dish is now a paid blog, free from any corporate media..
The Dish (of which I'm a huge fan) will struggle to make $500,000 a year in revenue. It pays its bandwidth bills, and the intern-level salaries of maybe a half-dozen staffers. (Sullivan himself takes no salary from the site.)

Admirable though that might be, as a businessperson I don't see it as a particularly attractive proposition.

Where I see a disconnect is when I look at the amount of money we - as a society/media customer base - spend on sports. I look at the billions upon billions ESPN basically extorts from every cable subscriber in America. And I wonder why, if we can pay tens upon tens of billions for sports - why we cannot find a business-driven mechanism to get some fraction of that amount of money to pay for good newspapers (digital or paper); good broadcast news; and good internet-only reporting.

If Journalism, and journalists, got 10 cents for every dollar that athletes and big time sports got - we'd be in a much different media environment.

And I challenge anyone - even the most avid sports fan - to tell me that access to decent journalism isn't worth that.
 

jnpy!$4g3cwk

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I don't think they are that much worse, it's just their bias isn't one you are already inclined to agree with so it is more noticeable.
I am unable to share your optimism.

Russia has all but eliminated the free media as it fights an information war against the West over Ukraine, with prosecutors blocking independent websites and other publications making editorial changes under obvious Kremlin pressure.

Russia’s general prosecutor’s office announced late Thursday that it was blocking the independent news websites Kasparov.ru, run by chess champion and self-exiled opposition figure Garry Kasparov, EJ.ru, and Grani. ru for inciting “illegal activity” and participating in unsanctioned protests.

Prosecutors also banned anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny’s blog, by far the country’s most popular and a flashpoint for anti-Putin sentiment, on the grounds that posting to it violated the terms of his house arrest, which bars him from using the internet.

“I don’t even know if anyone is reading this anymore,” read a post on Navalny’s blog.
http://www.buzzfeed.com/maxseddon/russia-wipes-opposition-sites-from-the-internet
 

Michael Goff

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I don't think they are that much worse, it's just their bias isn't one you are already inclined to agree with so it is more noticeable.
I was being sarcastic. I really don't see how they're worse either. They're just more upfront about their bias, which might make them a little better.
 

VulchR

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...
Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight, a new date driven news site is launching this week.
...
That is something I will definitely take a look at - thank you for the information. Who would have imagined - an actual data driven news site? :eek:
 

decafjava

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The Dish (of which I'm a huge fan) will struggle to make $500,000 a year in revenue. It pays its bandwidth bills, and the intern-level salaries of maybe a half-dozen staffers. (Sullivan himself takes no salary from the site.)

Admirable though that might be, as a businessperson I don't see it as a particularly attractive proposition.

Where I see a disconnect is when I look at the amount of money we - as a society/media customer base - spend on sports. I look at the billions upon billions ESPN basically extorts from every cable subscriber in America. And I wonder why, if we can pay tens upon tens of billions for sports - why we cannot find a business-driven mechanism to get some fraction of that amount of money to pay for good newspapers (digital or paper); good broadcast news; and good internet-only reporting.

If Journalism, and journalists, got 10 cents for every dollar that athletes and big time sports got - we'd be in a much different media environment.

And I challenge anyone - even the most avid sports fan - to tell me that access to decent journalism isn't worth that.
That is the problem, profit driven media as as bad for bias as state-sanctioned media IMHO:
 

vrDrew

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That is the problem, profit driven media as as bad for bias as state-sanctioned media IMHO:
For-profit, commercial media faces problems, but they are not as severe as state-funded media. And there are going to be exceptions.

A for-profit media organization that accepts advertising is going to face a conflict-of-interest when a story arises concerning one of its clients. Is General Motors going to pay for a full-page ad the same day as a newspaper reports on (for example) a product-safety recall or contentious labor dispute?

But the difference, one that seems to have played out for much of the last hundred years or so, is that media companies that accept advertising have more than one client. You can risk upsetting General Motors if you can still sell ads to Toyota and Ford.

That isn't the case with Government-supported media. But Govt.-paid media isn't necessarily doomed to become a propaganda outlet.

I think that, for example, the (British) BBC has done a fairly good job of maintaining a fairly good level of objectivity when reporting on events that reflect on the British Government. Not perfect - but I'd hesitate to call it the same as Russia Today.
 

ElectronGuru

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That isn't the case with Government-supported media. But Govt.-paid media isn't necessarily doomed to become a propaganda outlet.

I think that, for example, the (British) BBC has done a fairly good job of maintaining a fairly good level of objectivity when reporting on events that reflect on the British Government. Not perfect - but I'd hesitate to call it the same as Russia Today.
The more BBC I'm able to watch, the more astonished Im getting - seeing two different shows on the same network, argue opposing views. How can it be!?
 

VulchR

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The more BBC I'm able to watch, the more astonished Im getting - seeing two different shows on the same network, argue opposing views. How can it be!?
The problem occurs when the BBC reports an evidence-based news item that favours a reasonable interpretation of events and then feels compelled to allow equal time for crackpots to express whacko ideas. This is rife in their reporting of science.
 

jnpy!$4g3cwk

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The problem occurs when the BBC reports an evidence-based news item that favours a reasonable interpretation of events and then feels compelled to allow equal time for crackpots to express whacko ideas. This is rife in their reporting of science.
News media love to do this, because, it seems to them that the "controversy" makes it more entertaining and balanced. What they don't seem to realize is that it gives to a voice to nonsensical ideas whose only virtue is that of being extreme. Like the whole non-argument about vaccines-- there is no "balance" achieved by putting on pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine people to "debate".
 

hulugu

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I'm not really sure what is the worse story...

2) That the job prospects for young Journalists in the US are so utterly bleak.

A functioning modern society needs journalists. It needs inquiring, relentlessly curious people to cover - and investigate - school board meetings and town council zoning hearings. It needs people to check out which local companies are dumping waste in the creek and which restaurants are hiring illegal workers....
The job market is pretty harsh, although it's getting better for young journalists who are willing to work for peanuts with the hope of getting to a bigger outlet. A great number of them give up and find lucrative careers in PR. Some colleges have acknowledged this by combining journalism and communication departments together.

People are increasingly less interested in paying for news, preferring to get their free dose of celebrity propaganda from Yahoo News and this translates to lower wages not only for writers, but also photographers and video crews. We're seeing a squeeze across the spectrum and it's pushing out many fine journalists, who are escaping into corporate media or academia.

...So snark all you want at Russia Today. And A-Jazeera America. But at least they are offering young Journalists a job.
AJ America has been really impressive. I've met some of their folk and they're really good, down to earth journalists.

And so is so-called new media. Andrew Sullivan's The Dish is now a paid blog, free from any corporate media, and has expanded the number of writers it has. His business is growing big time. He has documented it on his site.

Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight, a new date driven news site is launching this week.

Ezra Klein is launching a new news site shortly, Vox.com.

Glenn Greenwald and several other high profile journalists are launching yet another new news outlet.

Plenty of opportunities for young journalists.
I hope this translates into growing outlets, but I worry that the above will turn into variations of the Huffington Post, where a few star writers take home big checks while a small staff works on aggregation and freelancers are expected to work for "exposure."
 

Meister

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Is this supposed to be surprising? Thats how news work all over the world.
You are presented with what you are supposed to believe. I am a german living in germany. In a lot of ways the german democracy is definitly failing but that seems to be a worldwide problem. My hope lies in the US-population to come to their senses and turn things around. The EU is hopelessly lost in some weird fascho-socialism.
 

jnpy!$4g3cwk

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Is this supposed to be surprising? Thats how news work all over the world.
You are presented with what you are supposed to believe. I am a german living in germany. In a lot of ways the german democracy is definitly failing but that seems to be a worldwide problem. My hope lies in the US-population to come to their senses and turn things around. The EU is hopelessly lost in some weird fascho-socialism.
"fascho-socialism"? I really don't know what you are talking about.
 

Meister

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I think it implies a mix of fascism and socialism. Both of which the US and modern day Germany are far from. Not really sure how he comes to that conclusion though...
The US is further away from that than germany. I have a university degree in history, social sciences and politics. I meant that the underlings are being manipulated into giving up their self-reliance and freedom via a weird mix of corporatism and socialism. Its very complicated but key pillars of this are the fact that there is a monopoly on currency-control that was even enforced by military means approx. 80years ago and an increasing dependency on the nanny state which is in turn financed by high taxes and fees.
To maybe make it more understandable: the german regime is intruding into peoples lifes and takes away any means of protection. I know what i am talking about because i live here! Germany also has a history of this form of intrusion, there were two socialist dictatorships and at least one genocid here just in the last century.
The US people dont realize how prescious their freedom is.
 
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iBlazed

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The US is further away from that than germany. I have a university degree in history, social sciences and politics. I meant that the underlings are being manipulated into giving up their self-reliance and freedom via a weird mix of corporatism and socialism. Its very complicated but key pillars of this are the fact that there is a monopoly on currency-control that was even enforced by military means approx. 80years ago and an increasing dependency on the nanny state which is in turn financed by high taxes and fees.
What is your definition of "nanny state" and how do you feel that your country fits that definition?