WASHINGTON — Kremlin-funded television network RT will seek an “official response” after Secretary of State John Kerry called them a “propaganda bullhorn” that distorts the reality of the situation in Ukraine on Thursday.
“We are disappointed that Secretary Kerry seems to know so little about what is actually going on on the ground in eastern Ukraine in such a critical time, and invite him to watch more of our news reports,” RT editor in chief Margarita Simonyan said in a statement. “RT shows the facts of what is and has been happening in Ukraine, from the very beginning, even if those facts are inconvenient to the Western political and media establishment, and therefore are disregarded by them despite abundant evidence.”
On Thursday, Kerry said that RT had been “deployed to promote President Putin’s fantasy” of what’s happening in Ukraine and “they almost spend full time devoted to this effort to propagandize and distort what is happening or not happening in Ukraine.”
“RT will be seeking an official response from the U.S. Department of State substantiating Mr. Kerry’s claims,” the statement provided by RT reads.
RT’s response to Kerry’s comments also strikes a conspiratorial note and gloats about winning the “global information war,” mentioning that “U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on the U.S. Congress to increase the funding for Department of State and foreign broadcasting in particular, pointing to the fact that Washington is losing the global information war to channels like RT. Earlier this month the U.S. Congress authorized additional funding for Voice of America and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty to broadcast into Ukraine with the aim of combatting Russian news media influence in the region.”
RT, which is based in Moscow but has an offshoot in Washington and was launched by the Kremlin to combat the Western media, has attracted increased attention over the course of the crisis in Ukraine. Two of its American hosts staged high-profile rebellions, with host Abby Martin condemning the Russian invasion of Crimea and anchor Liz Wahl resigning live on air in protest. Current and former RT employees have described a censorial atmosphere at the network.