WASHINGTON — The Kremlin-funded news channel Russia Today (RT) has launched an advertising campaign in the United States that implies that the station could have prevented the Iraq War.
The ads have begun appearing in New York and will soon appear elsewhere, an RT spokesperson said.
“The campaign will be comprised of several different posters, and we kicked it off with wild postings in the New York City,” RT spokesperson Anna Belkina said in an email. “Soon it will be extended to Washington, DC, and London.”
Belkina declined to name which ad agency worked with RT on the ads.
“We are working with a number of partners on this international ad campaign, but, as it is still in the roll-out stages, we are not disclosing the details of our advertising partnerships at this time,” she said.
The ads feature a picture of Colin Powell with the tagline: “This is what happens when there is no second opinion. Iraq War: No WMDs, 141,802 civilian deaths. Go to RT.com for the second opinion.”
Another poster says, “In case they shut us down on TV, go to RT.com for the second opinion.”
Asked whether RT believes it is in danger of being shut down on American television, Belkina provided a statement from RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan: “Alternative voices, however rare, are often met with fear, hostility and bureaucratic obstructionism in the attempt to stifle them — because they are inconvenient to the establishment. We want the viewers to know that no matter what, RT will remain THE place to go to for that second opinion.”
RT, which has operated a Washington-based affiliate since 2009, has become an object of fascination over the course of the conflict in Ukraine as its singular take on the news has been thrust into the spotlight. Opinion host Abby Martin from its American network spoke out against Russia’s invasion of Crimea earlier this year, and news anchor Liz Wahl resigned in protest on air shortly thereafter. RT, which generally hews closely to the Kremlin’s line on the news, suffered another high-profile resignation after the network blamed the Ukrainian government for shooting down the Malaysia Airlines plane that went down over eastern Ukraine in July, despite evidence pointing to Russian-backed separatists having done it.