Inside Russia’s state-media propaganda machine

A new report details the inner workings of RT, the Kremlin-backed media outlet that pushes Russian interests and anti-Western narratives around the globe | Image via iStock

Inside Russia’s state-media propaganda machine

Academics from the University of Oxford interviewed almost two dozen current and former RT journalists about their time at the Kremlin-backed media outlet.


9/28/20, 11:37 AM CET

Russia’s state media actively promoted Brexit supporters and undermined Hillary Clinton’s 2016 U.S. presidential bid as part of a yearslong campaign to sow doubt among Western democracies, according to almost two dozen current and former journalists for RT, the Kremlin-backed outlet.

The strategy, outlined in a report from the Oxford Internet Institute published Monday, involved Moscow using RT’s global network of news sites in more than 30 languages to push anti-West narratives, sow conspiracy theories to cast doubt on traditional media outlets and foment controversy to boost Russia’s presence on the global stage, based on anonymous interviews with the RT journalists.

They spoke to the academics on the condition of anonymity in part because many had signed nondisclosure agreements that included hefty financial penalties for speaking publicly.

“Creating controversy for RT was the whole point,” said Mona Elswah, who co-authored the study and is a Ph.D. student at the Oxford Internet Institute. “Bad publicity is good publicity for them.”

The inside look at RT’s activities comes as national security agencies and disinformation experts remain concerned about Russian efforts to interfere in Western elections. With just over a month to go before the U.S.

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