Watching Russia Today is like doing the Soviet time warp. The pro-Russian propaganda takes me right back to my Eastern bloc childhood. I feel like I should be wearing my blue school uniform and clutching my ration cards when I watch RT. Even the vocabulary of the news anchors is the same–they still talk about Western imperialism. When America invades Iraq, it’s an example of imperialism–and I agree with that! But when Russia invades the Crimea, they’re “liberating” that region of the world. Hmmmm. Sounds like somebody’s recycling old Don Rumsfeld sayings.
Not all old memories are getting recycled. I’m not hearing anything about the bourgeoisie and the proletariat–they’re not in fashion anymore. When I was a Commieland kid, the bourgeoisie was maligned for being a tool of the capitalists. Now it’s turned into the squeezed middle class, and RT is defending it. You gotta keep up with the changes.
But some things stay the same. In the 80s, when my parents and their friends protested against the Communist government, the official news channels labelled the protesters as a violent and criminal fringe element, and threw in allegations of heavy drug use and orgies. According to RT, the protesters in Kiev were also part of a violent fascist fringe. I’ve heard that song before. On the other hand, the people marching against austerity in Western Europe are always “peaceful”. It’s a thin line between a peaceful civil resistance movement and crazy neo-Nazis, I guess.
Another classic move in the Cold War time warp dance? Promises of a wonderful economy. Russia is going to bring vast economic improvements to the Crimea, RT says. Once upon a time, we heard the same sales pitch in Poland. That one ended with bread lines around the block.
Now, I’m by no means claiming that American news media don’t do their share of propagandizing as well. In fact, Russia Today doesn’t just remind me of Communism–it also reminds me of Fox News. Maybe Putin’s dream was to be able to run his own version of Fox. If so, he succeeded.