Focus on the news you consume, it might be controlled by Russia

With the abundance of influencers, podcasters and free-thinkers that live and breathe X, formerly Twitter , I have noticed the amount of news coverage we see has increased. In a social media landscape that turns views into money, my generation is being targeted and exploited for our attention. If it bleeds, it leads, no matter the importance or ethics of a story. Russia Today [RT] not only misleads its audience about their origin, but the matters they choose to cover have a dangerous bias.

Instagram has labeled RT as “Russia state-controlled media”. Because their username and profile picture are both simply “RT”, without that label, it would be hard for anyone to know about their connection to the Russian government. Considering citizens of Russia do not have their own freedom of speech, it feels ironic that the part of RT’s bio that is self-written says “freedom over censorship, truth over narrative”. The contrast between RT’s bio and the treatment of Alexei Nivalny, a well reported-on Vladimir Putin critic, should be frightening to anyone that cares about freedom of speech.

Unfortunately, I have seen an increase of positive news coverage of Russia. When Tucker Carlson visited Russia for his interview with Putin, Carlson discussed how the Kievskaya subway station he used was clean, and was free of “people… waiting to push you onto the train tracks and kill you.” Carlson went on to say, “How do you explain that? We’re not even going to guess, that’s not our job.” Earlier in the same video, Carlson made it clear that he does not endorse Putin or Joseph Stalin, the dictator who was in charge at the time of the station’s construction. While I agree with Carlson’s point that the US can do better about its public transportation, I find it weird he used Russia as a comparison, especially without adding context to the lack of rights given to Russian citizens.

Russian news on social media was never something that I had on my bingo card. My problem with RT is not with their bias, if that was the case I would not consume any news media. It is the coverage of their connections with an authoritarian government that has rivaled the roman empire with the amount of time I think about it. Can the Russian government have a “freedom over censorship, truth over narrative” approach through RT if their citizens would need to escape their homeland just to criticize a leader?