Eight days after the 2016 presidential election, Douglas Schoen — President Bill Clinton’s past pollster and advisor — charged that former defense intelligence chief Michael Flynn was “dangerously pro-Russian” because he participated in the tenth anniversary celebration of RT, the Russian state-owned television network formerly known as Russia Today.
Now a few weeks after Flynn resigned as Donald Trump’s national security advisor, Attorney General Jeff Sessions faces resignation demands from congressional Democrats making similar charges based on two meetings he held in 2016 with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Sessions recused himself Thursday from official investigations of alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election.
But the Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned that a great many liberal American political activists and journalists have much more than occasional meetings with RT. Many of them in fact draw regular paychecks from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s flagship TV network.
It’s rarely reported in the U.S. news media, but many of the liberal activists and journalists who participate in RT programming openly bash the United States and defend Russia.
The American “star” at the Dec. 10, 2015, RT celebration was Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. Speaking on a panel titled “Frenemies,” which challenged the view that Russia was an “enemy state,” Stein condemned “this very simplistic defense of who is our friend and who is our enemy is counterproductive.” RT also was the sole television sponsor of the Green Party event that chose Stein as the party’s 2016 standard-bearer.
Besides Stein, other American participants included Max Blumenthal — son of Sid Blumenthal, who worked with 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Legendary TV host and celebrity interviewer Larry King also broadcast his shows on RT.
Max Blumenthal — a virulent opponent of Israel and U.S. foreign policy — charged Israeli leaders with “war crimes” and publicly praised the Iranian-backed terrorist outfit Hamas for its deadly attacks on Israel. Blumenthal praised RT for its coverage of Moscow’s role in Syria, telling conference participants, “I think RT was trying to do was to introduce an alternative narrative on the drive to war on Syria.”
Before Blumenthal spoke, an RT-produced video charged that “there are reports ISIS was trained by U.S. instructors in a secret base in Jordan to prepare to fight [Syrian President] Assad as ‘rebels.’” No one on the panel challenged the assertion.
Other Americans who spoke at the RT conference included two disaffected CIA analysts, the former mayor of Salt Lake City, who opposed the war in Iraq, an American professor who opposed dropping atomic bombs on Japan to end World War II, and a Christian Science Monitor reporter who denounced Western “disinformation” campaigns against Putin.
Also speaking at the conference was WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who appeared via video from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
RT may be seeking credibility and legitimacy by recruiting American hosts. A year ago, RT hired former MSNBC anchor Ed Schultz as a prime-time host, reporter and political analyst.
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