November 9 2020, 13:35 pm

Russia Today OpEd Says Election Aftermath Shows US Democracy “In Its Death Throes”

RT (for­mer­ly Rus­sia Today) has respond­ed to the results of the US Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions by post­ing an OpEd sug­gest­ing that “US democ­ra­cy real­ly is in its death throes.” The piece begins:

It’s only when you com­pare what is hap­pen­ing in Amer­i­ca to the likes of Aus­tralia, which also recent­ly held elec­tions, that you appre­ci­ate just how alarm­ing the sit­u­a­tion in the US is. Civ­il war is a real pos­si­bil­i­ty. Despite the fact that Amer­i­ca and Aus­tralia are both lib­er­al democ­ra­cies shar­ing a com­mon cul­tur­al her­itage, key aspects of the US pres­i­den­tial and con­gres­sion­al elec­tions appear extra­or­di­nary from an Aus­tralian perspective.To para­phrase Tol­stoy: all hap­py democ­ra­cies may resem­ble one anoth­er, but every unhap­py democ­ra­cy is appar­ent­ly unhap­py in its own way. In recent months, elec­tions have tak­en place in three Aus­tralian states and ter­ri­to­ries. In each of these con­tests, the incum­bent gov­ern­ment has been returned with an increased major­i­ty, while in Amer­i­ca, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has been nar­row­ly defeat­ed by Joe Biden. Leav­ing aside the dis­parate results, the fol­low­ing impor­tant dif­fer­ences between the Aus­tralian and the Amer­i­can elec­tions are clear: First­ly, the com­par­a­tive irrel­e­vance of Covid-19 as an issue in the Amer­i­can elec­tion. Sec­ond­ly, the dom­i­nance of a crude pop­ulist pro-cap­i­tal­ist ide­ol­o­gy (favour­ing busi­ness inter­ests and prof­its over lives) in the Amer­i­can elec­toral con­tests. And final­ly, Trump’s pre­dictable and com­plete­ly unprin­ci­pled response to his defeat. These dif­fer­ences augur bad­ly for the future of democ­ra­cy in Amer­i­ca – in fact, they indi­cate that it may be in its death throes.

Read the rest here.

The author goes on to sug­gest that Demo­c­ra­t­ic “Elites” are equal­ly cul­pa­ble as Trump in dis­sem­i­nat­ing con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries because “these elites have them­selves been ped­dling equal­ly irra­tional views about cat­a­stroph­ic cli­mate change, crit­i­cal race the­o­ry, and iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics.” Accord­ing to the author’s apoc­a­lyp­tic conclusion:

The com­ing civ­il war in Amer­i­ca will be a dis­or­gan­ised bit­ter social con­flict fought in cities by armed groups of cit­i­zens on the bar­ri­cades, much like the Euro­pean rev­o­lu­tions of 1830 and 1848 – with one impor­tant dif­fer­ence. The insur­gents in the Euro­pean rev­o­lu­tions were fight­ing for democ­ra­cy – where­as the par­tic­i­pants in America’s com­ing civ­il war will be engaged in a war to destroy it.

The GIOR report­ed last month on an Alliance for Secur­ing Democ­ra­cy study that includ­ed Rus­sia Today in a group of Russ­ian state-backed media described as follows:

Russ­ian state-backed media such as Rus­sia Today, Sput­nik, or TASS focused on four key themes: the sad state of U.S. polit­i­cal cul­ture, crit­i­cism of the U.S. media, divi­sions in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty, and Trump’s refusal to con­demn white suprema­cy. Also, the issue of Russ­ian inter­fer­ence pro­vid­ed an open­ing to ham­mer the U.S. for its alleged “Rus­so­pho­bia.”

Last month, the GIOR also report­ed that White House coro­n­avirus advis­er Dr. Scott Atlas had apol­o­gized for appear­ing on RT.

In 2017, the NYT char­ac­ter­ized RT (for­mer­ly Rus­sia Today) as follows:

Ana­lysts are sharply divid­ed about the influ­ence of RT. Point­ing to its minus­cule rat­ings num­bers, many cau­tion against over­stat­ing its impact. Yet focus­ing on rat­ings may miss the point, says Peter Pomer­ant­sev, who wrote a book three years ago that described Russia’s use of tele­vi­sion for pro­pa­gan­da. “Rat­ings aren’t the main thing for them,” he said. “These are cam­paigns for finan­cial, polit­i­cal and media influ­ence.” RT and Sput­nik pro­pel those cam­paigns by help­ing cre­ate the fod­der for thou­sands of fake news prop­a­ga­tors and pro­vid­ing anoth­er out­let for hacked mate­r­i­al that can serve Russ­ian inter­ests, said Ben Nim­mo, who stud­ies RT for the Atlantic Coun­cil. What­ev­er its impact, RT is unques­tion­ably a case study in the com­plex­i­ty of mod­ern pro­pa­gan­da. It is both a slick mod­ern tele­vi­sion net­work, dressed up with great visu­als and styl­ish pre­sen­ters, and a con­tent farm that helps feed the Euro­pean far right. View­ers find it dif­fi­cult to dis­cern exact­ly what is jour­nal­ism and what is pro­pa­gan­da, what may be “fake news” and what is real but pre­sent­ed with a strong slant.


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