Without giving too much away, I wrote a bit about RT, Kremlin propaganda, and journalistic ethics over at POLITICO Magazine:
RT didn’t start this way. When the Kremlin first breathed life into Russia Today in 2005, the outlet’s claimed motivation was to share a Russian viewpoint with its audience. According to Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan, Russia Today would provide “a perspective on the world from Russia.” Gone were the bleary-eyed suits bleating about of fishery successes in Murmansk or applauding Tashkent’s cotton output. In stepped fresh-faced anchors, clean lines, swift camera swings. The cynicism enveloping Soviet news—transparent propaganda to audiences near and abroad—evaporated. Russia Today galloped out of Moscow, joining the clamor of international outlets vying for viewership.
And then something shifted. In 2009, the outlet—still funded and backed by the Kremlin—shifted its name to RT, dropping any outlying pretense of a Russian affiliation. As Simonyan clarified a year later, “Who is interested in watching news from Russia all day long?” In lieu of Moscow-centric programming, the outlet broadened, expanding content and viewership alike. Skirts shortened, and legs lengthened. Graphics morphed from informational to inflammatory. Hosts didn’t share the news, but screamed it, demeaned it, wailed along with guests about conspiracies and cloaked enemies aiming for you and your dearest.
Also, more than a handful of recent Diplomat pieces have been piling up. In lieu of piling an awkward list, they can all be found in the run-down here.