It is always great to see new radio stations going up – a sign that despite Internet and mobile sources for information, people are still turning on the radio to learn more about the world around them.
Normally, I’d be pretty excited about any new radio station being established in the Washington DC area, a place where some of the most powerful and influential policy-makers in the United States live and conduct business.
However, I’m a little bit leery about the establishment of a new radio station in DC called the “Voice of Russia” that claims to deliver, “Russian news and perspectives to Americans.”
The Motivation Behind the Voice of Russia
It’s not that I’m anti-Russian, and I most certainly am not advocating that the U.S. should take a Cold-War approach to anything Russian – after all, the politics and the entire structure of the Russian government has changed in the decades since the fall of that Communist regime.
However, being involved in the daily monitoring of global newswires and media outlets across the world, I have noticed that a great number of “media sources” coming out of Russia today are little more than propaganda machines meant to belittle American leadership and encourage discontent among the U.S. population by distributing partially or completely fabricated conspiracy theories about events that affect the American people.
One example of this was when John Wheeler was murdered last year under mysterious circumstances. As I was exploring the story and looking for clues as to who could have been behind the murder, I kept stumbling upon these odd conspiracy theory sites that were being run off of Russian servers.
The majority of these websites were promoting some of the most outrageous stories about the Wheeler murder, but almost every one of them had one thing in common – they always arrived at the conclusion that the U.S. government was behind the murder, in an attempt to “cover-up” some truth from the American people.
I followed-up those first articles with another about my observations regarding those propaganda websites.
Due to these sort of experiences, I’m very wary of Voice of Russia (VOR) Radio, which will be based out of New York (1430 AM) and Washington, D.C. (1390 AM).
VOC Launched in New York and Washington
As part of the launch, VOR hosted a panel discussion on June 9th at the National Press Club in D.C. with several U.S.-Russian diplomacy experts.
Some of the issues that were planned for the discussion included a reference to how the modern approach to public diplomacy is no longer a “ideological/propaganda effort,” but is instead one of “explaining their perspectives.”
Panelists also discussed similarities and differences between this station and the “Voice of America,” as well as how they predict the new stations will be received by the public.
My own estimation is that the station should be closely monitored for baseless claims and erroneous statements made on air that lack supporting evidence – the sign of propaganda.
A Review of Recent VOC Stories
The stations have been active for almost a week now, so I decided to take a quick look at what news stories the station managers decided to launch right out of the gates. Over the past week, the station ran the following headlines:
–> Yemeni opposition wants interim council to be set up
–> Obama says new crisis likely unless debt ceiling raised
–> Two Russians in 2nd round of Wimbledon
–> Memorial head found not guilty of defaming Kadyrov
–> OPEC fails to agree on oil production quota
–> Putin vows to pursue active employment policy
–> Russia-US ice hockey stars to play charity match on June 19
–> Volkswagen to assemble cars in Russia
–> Fights for Libya’s largest oil center still on
–> NATO convoy ambushed in A’stan
–> Paris airports face strike
–> Russian yacht wins at regatta in Ukraine
–> Poetry prize goes to Gandelsman
–> Russian girl first in judo
–> Russian-Belarusian pair first in Birmingham
–> Ukraine, Russia hold a joint regatta
–> Deputy head of anti-terrorist center in Russian Caucasus killed
–> Investigation into rape of Russian adoptee by American foster parent
–> Georgia accused of rights abuse
–> Terrorist attack prevented in Kabardino-Balkaria
If you scan down the headlines, I think it’s safe to say that VOR doesn’t appear to be motivated by distributing propaganda.
However, there is a clear bias infused into the titles, where news stories selected about Russia are typically positive and paint the country in a very positive light, while news stories about the U.S. (and other countries) are primarily about negative events that are taking place there.
The good news is that the station doesn’t appear to be set up primarily as a propaganda machine in the U.S., however listeners should be careful about any significant anti-American claims made on the station without any solid supporting evidence.Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com