Accuracy in Media

Thom Hartmann, a paid agent of the Russian government’s main propaganda channel, Russia Today (RT) television, is strongly supporting career politician and socialist Bernie Sanders for U.S. president. “Bernie Sanders could be the next FDR,” he says. But it might be more accurate to say that Sanders could be another Alger Hiss, the Russian agent who served FDR as his top aide and helped create the United Nations.

Before examining the curious history of “Bolshevik Bernie,” as analyst Trevor Loudon calls him, Hartmann’s service to the Kremlin is worth a look. Hartmann praises Sanders for trying “to get money out of the political process,” while Hartmann is paid by Moscow and uses a Kremlin TV channel to influence Americans on behalf of the socialist senator from Vermont.

An advocate for “transparency, openness and integrity” in the political process, Hartmann is close-mouthed on how much the Kremlin is paying him, although he claims he has editorial control over his show.

But the Hartmann/RT connection isn’t the only controversy associated with the openly socialist candidate for president, who is challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. As we noted in our column, “New Agers Back Socialist Sanders as Messiah,” the Vermont senator is backed by a rich and influential New Age “spiritual teacher,” Marianne Williamson. She thinks the violent Muslim prophet Mohammad had a positive impact on human history, and believes that a federal Department of Peacebuilding can disarm our enemies.

Still, the Russian connection may prove to be even more of a problem for Sanders. Hartmann regularly features a “Lunch with Bernie” segment on his radio show.

Accuracy in Media has reported that Russia is giving an untold amount of Russian rubles to Hartmann to spout his Marxist rhetoric on RT, which is carried across the U.S. on several major cable and satellite systems. When I asked Hartmann about his backing from Moscow, during an appearance he made at a liberal conference, he tried to doubletalk his way out of it, grabbed my Flip camera and stomped away. He is embarrassed by his Russian connection, but not embarrassed enough to refuse the Russian cash.

The entire exchange, including when Hartmann went ballistic, was captured in a video titled “Progressive Star Thom Hartmann gets rubles from Russia.”

RT reporters Sara Firth and Liz Wahl have resigned from the channel in protest over the pro-Moscow slant. But Hartmann continues to take the rubles so he can promote politicians like Sanders.

RT has a large audience in the U.S. by virtue of the fact that major cable providers provide an outlet for its propaganda. “In the United States,” RT says, “about 85 million people in key urban areas can watch RT in English and Spanish via cable or satellite, including Comcast, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable. Key spots include New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego and Philadelphia metropolitan areas.”

The Department of Justice has not acted on complaints from broadcaster Jerry Kenney that foreign channels, such as RT and Al Jazeera, are operating illegally in the U.S., in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, by not disclosing in their propaganda broadcasts that they are agents of foreign powers.

As a result of this penetration of the U.S. media market, RT has been able to promote the Sanders presidential campaign on a regular basis, mostly through the Hartmann show. It is apparent that RT wants to have a role in influencing coverage of the U.S. presidential campaign. Indeed, the coverage could be a factor in a CNN poll that found Sanders leading all Republican front runners, including Donald Trump.

Jeff Cohen, a professor of journalism at Ithaca College, where he gives lectures to students about the media being too far to the right, was recently a guest on Hartmann’s Russia Today television program touting the “revolutionary” Sanders candidacy.

As we noted in a previous article, Sanders hung the Soviet flag in his office when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in honor of the city’s Soviet sister city Yaroslavl. Sanders, who celebrated the victory of the Soviet-backed communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua, had also made Burlington a “sister city” with the city of Puerto Cabezas in Nicaragua.

The British Guardian had initially reported on how a Sanders trip to Russia “doubled as a honeymoon with his new wife, Jane.”

The paper noted that Sanders “even visited Cuba—a highly unusual journey for any American in the 80s—hoping to meet with Fidel Castro. The encounter did not take place, although he did meet Havana’s mayor at the time.”

Last year Sanders returned to Cuba as a member of a Congressional delegation supporting “normalization” of relations between the U.S. and the regime. After President Barack Obama recognized the regime and removed Cuba from the United States’ list of nations that sponsor terrorism, Sanders hailed the move, saying, “While we have our strong differences with Cuba, it is not a terrorist state.”

Sanders said nothing about terrorist fugitives from justice in the U.S. who are being protected by the Castro regime, such as cop-killer Joanne Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur. She fled to Cuba after escaping from prison with the help of the communist terrorist Weather Underground.

The New York Times noted that Sanders had written an article for an alternative Vermont newspaper on the tenth anniversary of the Castro takeover of Cuba, complaining that “The American press and mass media have been stepping up their usual distorted and inaccurate reporting” about Cuba. The coverage of Castro was apparently not positive enough for Sanders.

By that point in the Cuban revolution, 1969, a Castro agent, Lee Harvey Oswald, had killed President John F. Kennedy, and Castro had hosted Soviet nuclear missiles targeting the U.S. for destruction.

More recently, Sanders endorsed the Iran nuclear deal, saying, “I congratulate President Obama, Secretary Kerry and the leaders of other major nations for producing a comprehensive agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” Later, however, Sanders issued a statement about how the deal would only “limit” Iran’s nuclear program. He endorsed it anyway, after a telephone conversation with President Obama.

Meanwhile, Iran and Russia have since boosted their military ties, with both countries signing a new deal to guarantee delivery of the S-300 air-defense missile system to the Iranian regime.

Sanders “has no billionaires supporting him,” said Hartmann on the show with Cohen. In fact, Vladimir Putin, who pays Hartmann’s salary, may be worth as much as $200 billion.

Warner Todd Huston of Breitbart has commented on the curious nature of the fact that a liberal like Hartmann is critical of the American political system while he is “in business with a network controlled by the leader of one of the world’s re-emerging dictatorships.”

Backed by a multibillionaire, Hartmann is doing his best to promote Sanders for president. But when will the media report on the billionaire in Bernie’s corner?

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  • CursingOldGoat

    All we want is the truth and it seems the oligarchy is everywhere….Feel the Bern!

  • beaujest

    Bernie will use the Internet server in the bathroom out in Colorado for all White House e-mails !

  • John Cunningham

    Well of course they are! Although, just in case, any Democrat will do.

  • marlene

    This is one of the best reasons NOT to vote for sanders!

  • Ted

    Power To The People!

    Go Bernie!

  • Mike Weishar

    What a load of nonsense. Hartmann has had Bernie on as a guest on his shows long before RT even existed. There is no Russian conspiracy here, just Conservative BS

  • Erudite Mavin

    Russia Today (RT) is also a source for Libertarian Ron Paul.
    He is interviewed on RT and uses their sources on his new org. site.
    Typical of the fringe on various levels, Paul and Sanders.

  • Steven Barrett

    I’m for Bernie, and I’ve had the Bern a lot longer than before he decided to run for the White House. BTW, get with the program, Cliff, Russia’s no longer Communist. It’s exactly what the Republicans would love to have more of in our country, a plutocracy more reminicent of the old Romanov days or our Gilded Era! Sure as hell, it comes to economic matters, the good old conservatives, and their partisan mouthpiece, the GOP, love to harp on about the “good old days,” but why don’t you let the people know whose good old days you want to bring back. One more thing, where you you guys when just a few years ago Bernie Sanders was successfully raising hell to the the Smithsonian to start taking orders from AMERICAN ONLY vendors when it came to supplying their gift shops of patriotic gifts, etc.? One more thing . . . I’m a proud Spring 1983 graduate of the National Journalism Center, too.

  • terry1956

    Putin was KGB.
    True, Russia is no longer Marxist and the Marxist in Russia are enemies of Putin and Putinism and vise versa but both think of the US as an enemy.
    Both have that in common with Red China.
    I think Mr. Kincaid for this article and possible research links on Sanders because I suspected he will be the Democrat nominee and Trump will be the GOP nominee.
    Before this article I thought of Sander’s not as a Marxist or even worse A Soviet Union Communist but as a Swedish type democratic socialist that the populist left of center would get behind, with the populist in the center and to the right of center mostly behind Trump.
    On the other hand if Sander’s history shows he was a Soviet agent then I think most of the populist on the left will drop Sanders and back the Governor of Maryland.
    As for me if the primary in my state was held today I would vote for Ted Cruz in the GOP primary but by that time in 2016 it comes down to just Trump,Bush,Cristy,Rubio, the governor of Ohio then I will vote for Trump, throw Rand Paul in that mix and likely I will vote for him, throw Ben Carson instead of Rand Paul in that mix and maybe I will vote for him.
    Of Course who ever gets the democrat nomination I will likely vote for the Republican unless the democrats nominates someone like the last decent democrat president- Grover Cleveland but I’m not holding my breath on that.

  • terry1956

    Sanders is fringe not Ron Paul, if the US Constitution allowed the president to be separate from commander in chief and not deal in foreign affairs Ron Paul would make the best US president since Coolidge.
    The Trouble with Ron Paul is he is so highly naïve when it comes to foreign affairs almost to the point of lacking any common sense.

  • Erudite Mavin

    I read Paul’s site and it is a combination of Neo Nazi and Radical Left. I like to see what the enemy is saying

    Paul has been on Iranian TV and has bashed the U.S.

    There are videos of this.

    Both Ron and Rand Paul have stated, a nuclear Iran is not a threat to the U.S. or Israel.
    Ron Paul when in Congress voted every time against Republican bills that would fence the border.
    He said border fences is to keep Americans inside.

    Ron Paul: U.S. Shouldn’t Have Fought Hitler Just to Save Jews From Holocaust ByPamela Geller on December 26, 2011 – See more at:

    Ron Paul on Iranian TV, 2009 Defends Hamas and Suicide Bombing, Bashes Israel

    ByPamela Geller on December 30, 2011 – See more at:

  • terry1956

    Ok it seems the link of a past article on Sanders hanging a Soviet Flag in his mayoral office does not go there nor does it appear the article at American Survivor like the above article here at AIM links to the flag article.
    Other links to other stories appear to be correct.

  • terry1956

    The Neo Nazi stuff I have seen on the open Ron Paul Forum but it was not by Ron Paul nor the average Ron Paul supporter.
    There is also a group called Jews For Ron Paul and Zionist For Ron Paul or at least there was in 2008.
    I have my concern about a border wall also that it could be used in the future to keep people in as the communist did in East Germany.
    I Think it is better that the miltias of the several states especially the units at the county and local level supplement the federal governments Customs and border patrol.
    We have given to much to the federal government to do and while defense and border protection are things the Constitution demand the federal government do, it does not prevent the states from doing it also but in fact the Founders and the US Constitution expected the state’s to have normally mostly an independent Militia system that the state trained.
    It also has been stupid to count so much on the federal government for defense, customs, immigration checking border and port protection.
    I think that each of the 50 states should have at least one long range nuclear missle and anti missle defense under the command of it’s commander in chief ( the governor) and the state legislator.

  • Steven Barrett

    Hey Cliff, seems like you’re doing a better job of getting more people to see the (real) Bernie Sanders … and guess what? They’re liking him, trusting him and don’t believe for a second he’s the far out lefty boogie man you’ve made him out to be.

    BTW, what does the way AIM’s use of those two (obviously) doctored side-by-sides of Thom Hartmann and Bernie Sanders say about AIM’s dedication towards accuracy and fairness when it comes to artistic treatment of those AIM doesn’t agree with. You couldn’t have run with two more deliberately dis-edifying photos. AIM should have all its “artistic” editorial staff watch one of, (if not the) last episodes of Band of Brothers where Dick Winters who’d proved himself worthy of command before the D-Day drop and replaced his former martinet of a commanding officer, reminded the same loser after he refused to salute Winters, “You salute the rank, not the man.” Nobody’s expecting AIM to be on the same side with Hartmann all the time and certainly not Bernie Sanders. But Thom Hartmann has built his own radio show/blog, became an accomplished author and expert on ADD/ADHD, started up a special academy for learning disabled students (esp. those with ADD/ADHD, among other disorders) . . . all before throwing himself completely into his present radio show and championing progressive liberal causes.
    And need I say what respect Bernie Sanders, as well as all the Republican Senators and his fellow Democrats and Indepenent (Angus King, ME) is entitled to by virtue of his record in Congress as the nation’s longest-serving Independent in history? Suffice to say while most Republicans in the Senate agree with Bernie Sanders on many issues; damn few have gone so far to show him the kind of disrespect AIM has given him thus far. If this is the new standard for conservatives when it comes to covering somebody like Sanders, today’s conservative journalistic leaders and historical commentators have rapidly forgotten the much higher standards set by men like M. Stanton Evans, Wm. F. Buckley, George F. Will, Michael Novak, and George H. Nash to name a few.

  • terry1956

    Saving the people in the NAZI camps was the right thing to do and it should have been done sooner and FDR should have taken all of the Jewish refugees instead of turning so many away knowing that Hitler was going to kill them.
    Now the author of the New Dealers War Thomas Fleming makes some good points in the book.
    Also if Japan had not attacked the US and Germany had not been the ally of Japan then a full scale war against Germany under the control of FDR very well may have not been the best thing for the US even to free the end the NAZI camps.
    Usually the private sector and locals can do a better, faster job at a far lower cost in money, property and life than a large government with a natural tendency in bureaucratic and other inefficacies , blunders, missteps, rent seeking and corruption.
    This would have been true even if Grover Cleveland had been alive and president in WW2 instead of FDR but being that it was FDR and that he not only had foolish, nieve New Deal liberals in his administration but also corporate fascist and worse Soviet Union agents made it far far worse.

  • Erudite Mavin

    The millions in the concentration camps would not have been there if Europe and America would have stopped Hitler early on and as he took the Rhineland, Sudetenland, Austria without a shot. He saw no one was going to stop him and he continued.
    My great Uncle in Patton’s 3rd Army was one of the liberators of Buchenwald.
    I saw Buchenwald when in East Germany in 1983.
    I also grew up around tens of dozens or Orthodox Jews who were liberated out of the Concentration camps around 6 years prior.
    FDR and Chamberlain were the enablers of Hitler among others.

  • Erudite Mavin

    This is Paul’s new org. and he and his crowd posts the Anti Israel, Pro Hamas, Pro Iran, etc articles and articles from the Propaganda rag Russia Today supporting Putin’s attacks in other countries.
    I have researched the people who are members of Paul’s organization, noted Neo Nazi propaganda types and Leftists such as Dennis Kucinich and others of that ilk.

  • RMThoughts

    Cliff, your neocon party line poisons your work. Break free. Of course RT has a pro-Moscow slant – its a government news agency that provides more news that all our alphabet networks combined.

    When dealing with the Iran agreement, Kincaid should transcend seving the narrow interest of Israel, the regional hegemon, and look at the agreement from the point of view of American interests first. The political figures who are hesitating and cannot compartmentalize their own personal baggage when participating in the crafting of U.S. foreign policy and are squeamish about defending American interests they should resign and go home.

    Russia and Iran are not signing a new deal for s-300 air defense system. It is delivering on an OLD deal signed and paid for in 2008 but never delivered as a result of sanctions – as Cliff is obviously aware but unwilling to say. Russian decision to supply Iran with their air defense system that has tactical and technical characteristics of the S-300 system mean it can only be used defensively, therefore it will not jeopardize the security of Israel or any other Middle Eastern country.

    Could you provide ANY proof of the net worth of Putin, I can only trace it to NED and Soros funded NGOs and neocon pundits like yourself and false right neoconservative media.

    Could Kincaid explain why Russia with a popular elected government is an “emerging dictatorship” and our own one party two-brand corporate state is the paragon of liberty and democracy?

    Sanders is a socialist and that in itself is reason for repudiation. Kincaid would be better served by making a convincing rebuttal of socialism that neocon red herring arguments. Kincaid produced NO evidence of an endorsement of the “Kremlin”, whoever that is, or anyone else for Sanders campaign.

  • Steven Barrett

    News Flash for Cliff: The Red Empire is gone, kaput, brushed by the Russians themselves into Reagan’s proverbial “dustbin of history.” That they still feel somewhat threatened by our economic and military might shouldn’t surprise Cliff, nor should it disappoint him in the least, either. They’re still grousing about the way Clinton couldn’t wait to push NATO’S easternmost frontiers to Romania’s and Bulgaria’s Black Sea coasts and damn near Tsarkoe Selo, the WIlliamsburg of the Romanovs. So what if RT has a contractural arrangement with Thom Hartmann? It’s not the same outfit any more because Russia has transformed herself far more than all the Russophobes over at AIM can seem to manage comprehending in the first place. Rip van Winkle still lives at AIM.

  • Steven Barrett

    The inner elite of the DNC sure is.