RT Loves American Protests

Last week’s election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States sent shockwaves around the world. World leaders paused and considered how to react and right and radical right-wing politicians across Europe rejoiced and congratulated President-elect Trump.

Some of the more than 52% of Americans who voted for candidates other than Trump took to the streets of cities across America and global news broadcasters were there to meet them.

Coverage of the anti-Trump protests appeared on every channel studied by the Screening Protest Project (Al Jazeera English, BBC World, CCTV English, CNN International, DWTV, Euronews, and RT). RT and its sister network, Ruptly, which focuses almost exclusively on providing “raw” (un-narrated but already edited) video of protests, were both quick to cover the protests and provided hours of video online and concluded their coverage by claiming that the anti-Trump protests were overwhelmingly organized and funded by George Soros via the Open Society Foundation which also widely funds prodemocracy initiatives across the former USSR.

In the days following the elections, RT placed the anti-Trump protests prominently in their broadcasts and devoted far more airtime to the protests than any other network monitored by our project.

RT’s initial coverage of the protests included night scenes of “phobia” stricken protesters who required a police escort, burned American flags, and needed to be cordoned off from a Trump owned property. This segment, which quickly went on to explain how American media “freaked out” and how CNN supported the narrative of ISIS by mentioning the terror organization’s professed glee at Trump’s election was not only posted online by RT but was also replayed 24 hours later by the network.

As mentioned in an earlier post, the Russian state has increasingly come under scrutiny for its increasing use of propaganda. The anti-Trump election protests provide a great opportunity to see RT’s spin machine in action.

Jacob Sommer

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