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Radio News: Russian propaganda is on U.S. airwaves too

Apr 12, 2022 11:30 pm

There has been much reporting about the propaganda posing as news that is being broadcast to the Russian people about the invasion of Ukraine. Russian journalists can't use the word "war," and instead must call it a special military operation. The war crimes of Russian soldiers are both actually being committed by the Ukrainians and also are actors playing roles rather than dead bodies according to Russian broadcasts hosts. But there has not been as much reported about the Russian propaganda being broadcast on airwaves in the United States. Russian propaganda is a bit harder to find on U.S. television and radio since the war began, but it is still there. Tucker Carlson continues to parrot Russian talking points on his Fox News show. RT, the English-language news network based in Moscow and funded by the Kremlin, was dropped from YouTube and American cable franchises in early March as the war began. Most of the content from RT America seems to have been erased from the internet since the start of the invasion Feb. 24. But there are still five outlets of “Radio Sputnik” in the United States right now, airing content produced in Moscow and Washington under the Russian government’s supervision. One is WZHF (1390-AM), broadcasting near Washington D.C. The station is now forced to interrupt its programming of talk every hour to air a disclaimer: “This radio programming is distributed by RM Broadcasting on behalf of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency, Moscow, Russia. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.” The disclaimer is because of a Federal Communications Commission rule that went into effect March 15. The rule was in the works long before the war, forcing U.S. broadcasters to disclose any programming provided by foreign governmental entities. Rossiya Segodnya means Russia Today, the same Kremlin-controlled media agency that directed RT and RT America. The European Union banned Radio Sputnik after Russia invaded Ukraine. KCXL in Liberty, Missouri is another station airing Radio Sputnik programming and Peter Schartel, who runs the station, says he and his wife are being accused of treason. He argues that he's promoting free speech by airing falsehoods about Russia's invasion in Ukraine. Schartel is paid $5,000 a month to air the propaganda near Kansas City. The National Association of Broadcasters on March 1 called on station owners to stop carrying Russian state-sponsored programming. “While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech ... it does not prevent private actors from exercising sound, moral judgment,” NAB chief executive Curtis LeGeyt said in a statement. “Our nation must stand fully united against misinformation and for freedom and democracy across the globe.”