Accuracy in Media

The Russia Today propaganda channel, which has just cancelled the “Adam Vs. The Man” show featuring American Adam Kokesh, has come to the assistance of the brutal Assad regime in Syria. “A media delegation from the Russian channel ‘Russia Today’ visited the Military Hospital of Tishreen in Damascus and listened [to] the truth about Syria’s events from the injured soldiers and law-enforcement personnel,” reports the official Syrian news agency.

According to this bizarre account, the human rights demonstrators in the streets being shot and killed by the regime are “armed terrorist groups” that use “machineguns, snipers and grenades with the aim of killing.”

Meantime, on his August 22 show on Russia Today, Kokesh aired a “Happy Birthday Ron Paul” segment that included “an update from Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign” about his fundraising success. The next day, however, he announced he was being terminated by Moscow management and that Paul’s campaign was no longer cooperating with the broadcast.

Politico’s Keach Hagey is now reporting that Kokesh’s on-air fundraising for Republican presidential candidate Paul, an apparent violation of U.S. law against foreign contributions to U.S. political campaigns, may have been a factor.

Russia Today, or “RT” as it likes to call itself in order to camouflage the Russian sponsorship and funding, is not only brazenly defending the Syrian regime, a long-time client state of the old Soviet Union, but is attacking NATO over its military campaign against the Gaddafi regime in Libya. NATO was a long-time target of the old Soviet Union because of its original role as an anti-Soviet alliance.

The channel has been described as a front for Russian intelligence activities.

Yvonne Di Vito of a group called “Libyan friends” told RT that the Gaddafi regime, a notorious dictatorship, had a good record on human rights. She insisted, “Differently from other countries that went through a revolution—Libya is considered to be the Switzerland of the African continent and is very rich and schools are free for the people. Hospitals are free for the people. And the conditions for women are much better than in other Arab countries.”

But with Gaddafi apparently on the run, RT has been concentrating on Syria. RT quotes a researcher as saying that the U.S and Israel are behind the unrest there.

One RT story carried the headline, “Western media lie about Syria—eyewitness reports.”

Another RT story featured the views of James Corbett, who describes his “Corbett Report”  as providing “breaking news and important issues from 9/11 Truth and false flag terror to the Big Brother police state, eugenics, geopolitics, the central banking fraud and more.” Corbett suggested Russia could intervene in Syria to prevent a collapse of the regime.

RT also featured “the journalist Simon Assaf” condemning the U.S. for trying to weaken the Syrian regime. Assaf is a contributor to international Marxist publications such as Socialist Review.

As strange as all of this may seem, the Moscow-funded propaganda channel had developed a significant viewership of Ron Paul supporters in the U.S. who regarded the Adam Kokesh show as a vehicle for airing their theories nationwide. Reacting to accounts of Paul collaborating with the channel and having foreign policy views that benefit Russia and its allies, a John Birch Society writer went to Paul’s defense, saying that he had been an anti-Communist Congressman from 1979 to 1985 (Paul is still a member of Congress but has announced he will concentrate on running for president and will not seek re-election to the House).

Suddenly, however, Kokesh announced on Tuesday that his own show had been cancelled.

While some of Ron Paul’s supporters are attempting to blame this columnist, for filing a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint over Kokesh’s on-air fundraising for Paul’s presidential campaign, others are citing Paul’s refusal to recently appear on the network and the influence of his campaign manager, Jesse Benton, who reportedly said, “Ron Paul does not do interviews with Russia Today…You’ve got Adam Kokesh on the air beating his chest every night…and no one watches you guys anyway.”

It is illegal for a foreign corporation such as RT to interfere in U.S. elections by providing campaign support for any candidate. The FEC complaint is being investigated and has not yet been resolved by the agency.

Politico quoted Benton as saying, “Our campaign accepts only legal contributions, but we are declining interviews with Russia Today until they resolve this situation.”

Paul had appeared on the Kokesh show on May 4 and in 2009 was on the channel calling for an end to NATO and attacking former President Bush’s anti-terrorism policies. During another 2009 appearance on RT, Paul called sanctions against Iran over its nuclear weapons program an “act of war.” In 2008, Paul gave Russia Today another interview, saying, “It’s great that the Cold War has ended. And I would want to continue the process of [a] peaceful relationship but not threaten Russia in any way because I don’t think it’s necessary.”

Paul supported Kokesh’s 2010 run for Congress, saying, “Adam Kokesh has dedicated his life to fighting for Liberty. He has set himself apart as one of the bold young leaders our Country sorely needs as we strive to restore our Freedoms and what has made America the greatest nation in history. I am very happy that Adam has decided to run for Congress and wholeheartedly endorse him.” Paul’s political organization gave Kokesh $3,000, his biggest financial contribution.

But in the wake of Benton’s comments, Kokesh had gone on the air on RT on August 23, his final show, noting that he had repeatedly been trying to get Ron Paul back on the air and that the disparaging remarks from Benton had been the only official response.

At the Daily Paul, a website that supports the candidate, one blogger cited the FEC complaint and said Kokesh had made a mistake “by linking his efforts on RT to the official campaign, thereby placing the PEC (official campaign) in potential legal jeopardy. Regardless of whether or not you like RT or like and agree with Kokesh as I do, I’m sure the campaign did not appreciate having to deal with this potential legal headache and potential media nightmare.”

The blogger faulted Kokesh, a former congressional candidate, for his “complete lack of political sense and understanding of even basic concepts of law and regulations regarding campaigns.”

However, Kokesh reportedly says the FEC complaint had nothing to do with the termination of his show and that he will have more to say about the controversy when his relationship with the channel is worked out. He said on the air on RT that he could return in a different “format.”

Kokesh, who freely admitted being a “paid Russian agent” while on the air, had claimed total freedom and editorial control over his RT program.

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