Andrew Lack was sworn in this week as the first chief executive of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, putting him in charge of an agency with a $700 million budget and an outsize influence on shaping world opinion about the United States. Foreign policy experts and some critics say the appointment of Mr. Lack, the former president of NBC News and a prominent news media executive, represents a sea change for the often-criticized agency, which oversees United States government-supported civilian international news media such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Asia.
‘We are facing a number of challenges from entities like Russia Today which is out there pushing a point of view, the Islamic State in the Middle East and groups like Boko Haram, ‘ he said. ‘But I firmly believe that this agency has a role to play in facing those challenges.’
– From the New York Times article: U. S. Seeking a Stronger World Media Voice
I have appeared on Russia Today (RT) several times in the past. First on Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert’s Keiser Report, but also as a guest the now defunct Capital Account. Before appearing on these shows, no one ever told me what I could or could not say. Rather, we simply talked freely about whatever I was writing on at the time. I am certainly no spokesperson or cheerleader for Russia, as I am against centralized, authoritarian nation-states no matter where they occur. Nevertheless, I am an American citizen, so that is and should be my primary concern. Certainly, I was chosen as a guest because I was an ardent critic of the inept, crony, war criminal executives running the out of control American Empire, but so what?
RT’s success was not because the Russian state poured so much time and money into the network. It’s success was a direct result of the U. S. mainstream media being so childish and useless. By spewing a mind-numbing amount of inane celebrity gossip, sports drama and cartoonish American propaganda, a massive audience yearning for a different perspective was already present and underserved. RT merely came along and filled that void. This isn’t to say RT isn’t biased, but then again who isn’t biased? Bias isn’t bad as long as there is a free market in the exchange of ideas. What RT offered was a different perspective, and different perspectives in a free society are a good thing, whether you agree with them or not. Kind of like free speech.
This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Jan 29, 2015.