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Apr 18, 2023Liked by Neil A. Abrams

The shamelessness of the Grayzone dissembler is almost awe-inspiring. On the very day that Russian anti-war activist and journalist Kara-Murza is sentenced to 25 years, and Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a Moscow courtroom, Klarenberg shows up here to explain that when he was writing Russia-friendly articles for Russian state media, they never attempted to censor or control him. Imagine that. (Further context: All independent Russian media - all of it - has either forcibly gone silent or fled the country, and Reporters Without Borders classifies Russia as the most dangerous country in Europe for independent journalism).

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"Klarenberg shows up here to explain that when he was writing Russia-friendly articles for Russian state media" - I said nothing of the kind. They weren't "Russia-friendly", any more than a BBC World Service journalist writing about the country they're based in or are from is "British-friendly". Although, BBC World Service is openly referred to by the Ministry of Defence as a soft power weapon, and its output is confirmedly influenced heavily by British intelligence and the Foreign Office, which isn't something I ever encountered while writing for RT/Sputnik. I wholeheartedly condemn the treatment of Kara-Murza and Gershkovich. Do you condemn the jailing of Sputnik/RT journalists elsewhere in Europe? Or is that completely different, because reasons? What about Julian Assange?

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Apr 19, 2023Liked by Neil A. Abrams

A list of your contributions to Sputnik/RT: https://sputnikglobe.com/author_kit_klarenberg/

It’s rather a lot, so perhaps you could save us time by pointing to critical remarks you’ve made regarding the Russian state, security services, governance, economic structure, class alignments and inequalities, treatment of ethnic and sexual minorities, corruption, foreign policy, treatment of non-state media, - anything at all would be helpful.

As for the BBC being “confirmedly influenced by British intelligence and the Foreign Office”, you must realize that a) that statement has to be demonstrated, not just asserted, and b) even you must have some vague appreciation for the political and analytical distinction between, on the one hand, an public broadcaster operating in a democratic context with independent oversight and, on the other, a 100% state-controlled broadcaster operating in the context of a non-democratic state that imprisons/murders/bans non-compliant media. A little context goes a long way. Or perhaps you think this is all lies, that Russian journalists can publish whatever they want free of state harassment or persecution. This is delusional, of course, but if that’s what you believe, pls. just say so.

By the way, who is this “head of RT in Moscow” who is a critic of the invasion of Ukraine? Margarita Simonyan is Editor-in-Chief of Moscow RT, and she routinely hosts exterminationist guests on her show. I encourage you to tune in sometime.

Which Sputnik/RT journalists are jailed in Europe? I am aware of Marat Kasem in Latvia and, as mentioned - and unlike Gershkovich, for example, let alone Kara-Murza and countless other imprisoned, murdered or banned Russian journalists - Kasem is an agent of the Russian state. Not “influenced by” or whatever unfalsifiable boilerplate you’re so fond of - an actual representative of the state.

As for Assange, you can’t be serious to imply that he’s somehow an abandoned figure by western journalism. All major western news organizations - the NY Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and El Pais - have called for charges to be dropped against him.

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👏👏👏

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Apr 17, 2023Liked by Neil A. Abrams

Glenn Greenwald would say that RFE "elite journalists" & "Deep State" civil servants are part of the US foreign policy Blob that works with The Globalists/Military-Industrial-Complex. RFE/RL apparatchiks benefit from the US 'liberal international order' (that's actually just 'forever wars' to maintain a US unipolar world). Of course they'd whistle-blow "right-wing socialist" Trump appointees.

Matt Taibbi would say the same thing. Just with slightly less obvious Tankie pom-pom waving.

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Apr 30, 2023Liked by Neil A. Abrams

"But in truth, it’s just a pose designed to mask a laziness-borne allergy to the very idea of examining evidence."

This 100x! Critical thinking should entail not having a knee-jerk reaction like that.

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They say the same about the privately owned media - NY Times, MSNBC, etc. One favorite to "prove" how the "mainstream media lies" is the claims about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. In the first place, the media did not lie; they simply reported on what Bush, Powell et al were saying without investigating. But how the story ended up proves just the opposite of those claims. If the "mainstream media" could and does collaborate with the government and lie and get away with it, then why didn't US forces in Iraq "find" weapons of mass destruction after they went in there? Even with all its crimes, the US is ruled by a capitalist democracy. That leaves the media open to attack if they openly lie, unlike in Russia.

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In the spirit of bloody minded optimism, and never taking calumny lying down - particularly when it’s codified in a Substack article, rather than an avowedly “excruciating” tweet thread - I’ll bite.

Neil, your (as ever disingenuous and distorted in extremis) “analysis” crumbles because you predictably fail to acknowledge that RFE, in keeping with all other BBG/USAGM assets, is subject to stringent restrictions on broadcast and operation in the US - precisely because it’s defined as propaganda under the Smith-Mundt Act.

While there have been changes to the Act in the past decade, USAGM entities remain unable to create or disseminate material targeting US citizens. Because it’s propaganda. Again unmentioned by you, Donald Trump’s administration - that enemy of media independence so righteously and sincerely opposed by the diehard truth obsessives at USAGM - got in trouble for flouting the Act’s revised rules, when in July 2018 RFE/Liberty advertisements were purchased on Facebook specifically aimed at Americans.

My output for Sputnik/RT was not “controlled” in any way. Not once was I ever told what topics to cover, or how. I pitched every article I wrote, would’ve written the exact same things anywhere else, and am very proud of some of the things I did there. Nonetheless, in keeping with several other dissident Western journalists who contributed to these outlets, my journalistic interest - namely, Western intelligence services - precludes me from working for most Western outlets. In particular US state propaganda organs, such as RFE or Voice of America.

Luckily, I had the privilege of other forms of income besides journalism to sustain myself - as you do, in order to keep your personal “disinfo desolation” crusade going, in lieu of literally anyone being willing to pay you for it (although trading futures and options, really?). By contrast, in the very poor (comparatively speaking) countries USAGM operates, where foreign-funded media dominates the market and there are few if any truly independent local outlets, it’s extremely difficult to make a living as a journalist anywhere, so the need to march to a tune is very readily accepted and internalised - and that tune needn’t be openly stated, or take the form of direct daily orders from the CIA or State Department.

Although, as I noted to you on Twitter and received crickets in response, in August 2018 USAGM’s then-chief John F. Lansing spoke of his “urgent focus on the agency’s global priorities, which reflect U.S. national security and public diplomacy interests.” Are you seriously suggesting employees of RFE et al aren’t expected to “reflect” those “interests” at all times? That applicants to these outlets aren’t rigorously assessed to screen out potential troublemakers? That those who fail to “reflect” those “interests” wouldn’t be fired?

Here in Serbia, several friends of mine work for US-funded media outlets. They frequently strongly disagree with their employers’ editorial stances (to say nothing of Washington’s activities at home and abroad), and know there are things they simply can’t say or report on - and conversely have to say and report on - as a result of taking NED or USAGM coin. As it happens, someone I know some years ago worked at RFE locally, while simultaneously maintaining a popular pseudonymous Twitter account promoting content highly critical of the US. They knew they’d be fired if that were discovered, or they were honest about their political opinions in the office.

Mainstream Western journalists are also victims to such chilling effects, although they invariably refuse to admit it at the time. Consider the example of British journalist David Aaronovitch, a long-time left-basher, war propagandist, and long-time Rupert Murdoch employee. Over an 18 year career at The Times, he was a vigorous opponent of any suggestion his employer had any bearing on his editorial output. After being put out to pasture by The Times in March, he launched a Substack. The most recent post is an attack on Fox News’ coverage of Seth Rich’s murder, which contains this remarkable passage:

“I am not sure I could have published this in The Times, where I worked for nearly 18 years up until the end of February. I’ll talk more about the far-from-terrible-but-complicated business of being a Murdoch employee on here another time. Some aspects of this new freedom are exhilarating. Others are trickier - like earning a living to keep on writing. So if you can afford to become a paid subscriber (there are extra benefits, I promise) please, please do.”

In other words, an outright personal admission from Aaronovitch he was indeed constrained in what he could say by working for Murdoch, but was willing to accept that tradeoff as he had bills to pay, and deny any such constraint existed while a Times salary was dependably hitting his bank account. He coincidentally in 2009 wrote an extraordinarily bad book, Voodoo Histories. One of his many ad hominem, strawman arguments against “conspiracy theories” was people perpetuating them didn’t really believe them, but were in it for the money.

On the subject of conspiracy theory, Eliot Higgins aggressively dismisses accusations that NED funding has any implications for Bellingcat’s topics of interest or output as such. Yet, in an interview with BBC Hardtalk, when pressed on why his organisation’s overwhelming focus was on alleged Russian crimes and misdemeanours, he was forced to admit “we have a side.”

That was by definition a “media event”, although subsequent to this disclosure, The Times published a fawning profile of Bellingcat, referring to how Higgins et al “wisely refuse money from governments” in order to preserve their independence. But sorry, you were saying something about your targets possessing “a stunning naïveté about how the world actually works”?

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So dissemination of USAGM content within the U.S. is prohibited by law, specifically the Smith-Mundt Act.

You know what else is prohibited by law? State interference that violates "the professional independence and integrity of [the USAGM's] broadcasting services" or the "independence and journalistic integrity of the broadcasting entities" (S. Rep. 103-107 (1993). Also prohibited is any such interference that inhibits agency news broadcasts from being “consistently reliable and authoritative, accurate, objective, and comprehensive" (22 USC 6202(b)(1)) or which prevents such broadcasts from meeting "the highest professional standards of broadcast journalism" (22 USC 6202(a)(5)). Finally, 22 USC 6204(b) requires that the head of the USAGM along with the Secretary of State "respect the professional independence and integrity” of the broadcast entities.

Unless you can explain why the Smith-Mundt Act matters while those other statute provisions don’t, then I think we can assume the USAGM by and large operates in accordance with said laws.

We actually know this to be true because USAGM journalists who’ve been fired for political reasons have sued—successfully—under the very provisions cited above, as I explain in my post.

Moving on, I find it interesting that your output for Sputnik was not “‘controlled’ in any way” and that you were never “told what topics to cover, or how.” So you acknowledge that reporters at state-funded outlets can actually operate independently of state interference? Why, then, do you assume things would work any differently for reporters at RFE/RL?

As for Lansing’s statement about how the USAGM’s focus “reflects U.S. national security and public diplomacy interests,” any attempt to compel reporters to adopt a particular point of view will inevitably run up against the aforementioned statute provisions.

Am I seriously suggesting that journalists at RFE/RL aren’t “rigorously assessed to screen out potential troublemakers?” Maybe to the extent that they want to screen out conspiracy-addled cranks like you and your friends who might, for instance, see evidence of Russian atrocities in Ukraine and automatically assume the Ukrainians did it to themselves. Yes, I’d imagine they’d want to screen out people like that. I’d also imagine they might look askance upon any employee who sought to put such batshit claims in their reporting.

Re: David Aaronovitch: No, I do not find it shocking that Rupert Murdoch would try to influence the reporting of his journalists.

Re: Higgins: One thing I do know about Bellingcat is that, despite its funding sources, it routinely reports on issues Western governments supposedly wouldn’t want it to write about—Saudi war crimes, the Ukrainian far-right, etc. One thing I know about The Grayzone is that it’s utterly inconceivable it would ever do the same.

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"Unless you can explain why the Smith-Mundt Act matters while those other statute provisions don’t, then I think we can assume the USAGM by and large operates in accordance with said laws" - if those laws are worth the paper they're printed on, then why is USAGM still banned as propaganda? Surely Smith-Mundt's proscriptions would be wholly negated if RFE wasn't propaganda. The passages of the law you cite wouldn't prohibit USAGM assets from functioning as propaganda. Propaganda can entail distorting true stories, or simply ignoring particular stories. Did any USAGM outlet cover the Snowden revelations, or any WikiLeaks disclosures, for example? How do you account for, in May 2021, RFE publishing a story declaring Moscow was never promised NATO wouldn't expand eastwards, which after an ensuing online backlash was substantively changed to simply muddy the issue while admitting its original headline and content wasn't true? Its editors, and USAGM staff, were not part of that backlash.

"USAGM journalists who’ve been fired for political reasons have sued—successfully—under the very provisions cited above, as I explain in my post" - one of the examples you cite was staff suing for unfair dismissal, nothing related to output. Therefore irrelevant.

"So you acknowledge that reporters at state-funded outlets can actually operate independently of state interference? Why, then, do you assume things would work any differently for reporters at RFE/RL?" - I'm not sure if you can read (serious doubt here), but I made clear my experience as a comparatively wealthy Westerner was for substantive reasons very different to a staffer for a USAGM outlet in a poor country. In that context, when your only opportunity one way or another to be a journalist is to write for RFE, VOA, or RFA, and your livelihood is heavily dependent on toeing a line, there's no need for direct interference.

"As for Lansing’s statement" - why did he say this then? Just for show, and in reality all USAGM reporters are let loose to do and say whatever they want? It's not about forcing people to adopt a "particular point of view". It's about hiring people on the basis of their existing views, and/or their continued employment being contingent on "reflecting" a set of views in their reporting.

"Maybe to the extent that they want to screen out conspiracy-addled cranks like you and your friends" - right, so overtly pro-Castro journalists will find no difficulty finding work with Radio and TV Marti, and members of the Chinese Communist Party can be found in profusion in the offices of Radio Free Asia? Yeah?

"Re: David Aaronovitch" - you're missing the point. This is someone who spent his 18 year career at The Times dismissing as ludicrous any suggestion Murdoch told him what to write, and he did anything other than express his own sincere opinions, who upon leaving admitted that in fact he was well-aware there were things he couldn't say as a result of working there. Despite this, he could plausibly still argue he wasn't compelled to adopt a particular point of view. It's just that he implicitly understood if he expressed a different point of view, he'd be unemployed. And he's far from the only establishment journalist who has suddenly announced the gloves are off after a launching a Substack, having hitherto denied there was any glove wearing inherent to working for a corporate outlet, while working for one.

And sorry, you find it inconceivable that The Grayzone would "routinely report on issues Western governments supposedly wouldn’t want it to write about—Saudi war crimes, the Ukrainian far-right, etc."? That's our entire MO. In fact the two examples you cite I and the outlet more generally have a pretty impressive track record reporting on.

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"if those laws are worth the paper they're printed on, then why is USAGM still banned as propaganda?" Because, even if these outlets are not required to publish state propaganda and aren't leaned upon to do so, the government rightly doesn't want to create the *appearance* of disseminating state propaganda to a domestic audience. The fact that Smith-Mundt is still on the books doesn't mean RFE/RL is publishing state propaganda or that the state is compelling it to do so.

"The passages of the law you cite wouldn't prohibit USAGM assets from functioning as propaganda. Propaganda can entail distorting true stories, or simply ignoring particular stories." What they prohibit is the government *compelling* these outlets to publish propaganda.

"Did any USAGM outlet cover the Snowden revelations, or any WikiLeaks disclosures, for example?"

A search for "Wikileaks" in the RFE/RL archives yields 436 results: https://www.rferl.org/s?k=wikileaks&tab=all&pi=1&r=any&pp=10.

A search for "Snowden" yields 226 results: https://www.rferl.org/s?k=snowden&tab=all&pi=1&r=any&pp=10.

Examples of RFE/RL reporting on the content of the Snowden revelations are numerous. Some examples:

https://www.rferl.org/a/explainer-prism-us-surveillance-program/25013898.html

https://www.rferl.org/a/us-spying-eu-snowden-surveillance/25032570.html

https://www.rferl.org/a/25040801.html

Re: Backlash to 2021 RFE/RL story on NATO expansion. If you're referring to this one-- "Did The West Promise Moscow That NATO Would Not Expand? Well, It's Complicated"-- I'm not aware of any backlash. But the story is correct - it *is* complicated. Gorbachev himself stated that the promise concerned NATO's eastward deployment *within Germany*, not Europe as a whole, although he did consider that the subsequent decision to expand it into Eastern Europe violated the spirit if not the letter of the agreement. See https://www.the-american-interest.com/2018/03/12/gorbachev-not-hear/

Re: Staff suing over politically-motivated dismissals: "one of the examples you cite was staff suing for unfair dismissal, nothing related to output." Yeah, and the other example I cited *did* involve staff being fired for output. They sued - and won. I stand by my argument.

"when your only opportunity one way or another to be a journalist is to write for RFE, VOA, or RFA, and your livelihood is heavily dependent on toeing a line, there's no need for direct interference." This is utter bullshit. There are *tons* of highly-professional investigative journalists in *all* of these countries who are at least as good as any of their peers in the West and who would immediately tell anyone trying to meddle in their reporting to fuck off.

Google...is a wonderful resource available to everyone, including you.

"so overtly pro-Castro journalists will find no difficulty finding work with Radio and TV Marti, and members of the Chinese Communist Party can be found in profusion in the offices of Radio Free Asia?" Uhh, yes, actually, I do imagine these outlets might be reluctant to hire people who SUPPORT DICTATORIAL REGIMES, thus exposing their outrageous bias in favor of things like democracy and civil liberties. Inexcusable, I know.

Re: David Aaronovitch: Even if the way things work at Murdoch outlets are representative of the industry as a whole - a big "if - the point I'm making is about *state* interference.

"And sorry, you find it inconceivable that The Grayzone would "routinely report on issues Western governments supposedly wouldn’t want it to write about—Saudi war crimes, the Ukrainian far-right, etc.?" My point it that Bellingcat writes about issues Western governments supposedly wouldn't want it to, while the Grayzone would *never* write about issues which would go against the preferred narratives of the various authoritarian regimes it simps for. For instance, would The Grayzone ever report on Russia's *own* neo-Nazi battalions that have been fighting in Ukraine since 2014? No? I rest my case.

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To my response below, I'd add that your argument about RFE/RL being "propaganda" rests entirely on how you *imagine* things to work rather than any curiosity or investigation into the way they *actually* work. You haven't bothered to learn anything at all about the functioning of these outlets in practice and have no familiarity with their reporting, a fact evidenced by your comical inability to refer to RFE/RL by the name it's had for decades ("RFE?" "RFE/Liberty" Get real). Also revealing of your ignorance is your blithe assumption that RFE/RL would never dare mention Wikileaks or the Snowden revelations when a simple search of its archive reveals literally hundreds of results on each. Not that this comes as a surprise; you've demonstrated over and over again that you know nothing at all about Ukraine or Russia despite having chosen to write extensively on both.

I described this mindset in my piece as a "laziness-borne allergy to examining evidence." Kit, I couldn't imagine anyone who exemplifies this trait more than you.

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Quite amazing - although unsurprising - you can’t see your own conception of how RFE (I’m embarrassed on your behalf you saw me using a truncated acronym as somehow a win here) operates, *and* RT/Sputnik too, is based on how you yourself imagine, and want/need to believe, they work, rather than any experience of working at any of these places, or possessing a basic understanding of the institutional, ideological, and commercial dynamics present in any news organisation, which invariably impact who gets hired, and what they do and don’t cover. Seriously, your assorted scattershot rants here unambiguously show you’ve never read any serious critique of the media and how it functions, literally ever.

You state axiomatically in your original dirge “outlets such as RT are not merely funded and supervised by the state but controlled by it; the state actually interferes in its staffing and editorial content for political purposes.” How do you know? Why has no one come forward to testify to this? Especially when, following Russia’s invasion, a large number of people quit the organisation, or were made redundant because the countries in which they worked banned RT from operating? That makes for a lot of bitter, pissed off people - hundreds if not thousands the world over - with every incentive to tell-all, especially those who quit very publicly and condemned the invasion and Putin’s government. The entire Western media was moreover, as I said to another commenter, absolutely ravenous for insider exposés, and willing to pay handsomely for them. Yet…none have emerged in the past 14 months. In fact, several ex-RT contributors have explicitly denied this was their experience! The current head of RT in Moscow was and remains impassionedly opposed to the war, and makes his feelings clear about it on his Telegram channel daily. One might think he’d have been removed from the post by now if such a degree of Kremlin control over the staffing there exists.

By contrast, you are absolutely certain it’s “utter bullshit” to suggest journalists working for USAGM toe a line. Again, how do you know? You seemed to miss the part when I said “there’s no need for direct interference.” I never said or vaguely implied USAGM outlets were rife with senior officials “trying to meddle in their reporting.” You also engage in absolutely asinine, speculative sophistry to explain away RFE et al being banned as propaganda in the US, because the ever so benevolent and truth-committed US government “doesn’t want to create the *appearance* of disseminating state propaganda to a domestic audience.” What is your basis for this? Revealed to you in a dream? The US government manipulates and misleads its population in a panoply of ways, every minute of every day. But it’s so concerned about its reputation for free, non-state sponsored media, it doesn’t allow RFE etc to craft content for US citizens lest anyone erroneously believe it’s in the domestic propaganda business, even though RFE *isn’t* propaganda?! The intellectual and moral gymnasm required to concoct these conclusions must be doing you long-term physical and mental damage.

However, you inadvertently prove my entire point by conceding there’s no space for pro-government reporters at Marti, and RFA. Significant proportions of the Chinese and Cuban populations support their governments - in far greater numbers than Americans support theirs, as it happens. So, if you agree people of that political persuasion aren’t going to be hired, and/or their views reflected in USAGM’s output, then you’re conceding these outlets have a specific, partisan political agenda, which is by definition to undermine and oppose particular governments, states and ideologies, and that will *inevitably* and by design impact what is and isn’t reported upon, and how. This would be where USAGM’s commitment to “reflecting U.S. national security and public diplomacy interests” comes in.

Re Assange and Snowden, I of course checked the RFE website first, but you seem to have missed my point. The tiny handful of articles on Snowden you cited represent the almost total extent of the outlet’s coverage of his exposures. Which is to say a negligible fraction of what was revealed by other outlets. No original reporting. The rest is updates on his legal situation, parenthetical mentions of him in passing, and op-eds with titles such as “NSA Revelations Could Provide Ideal Cover For Authoritarian Governments”.

Likewise Wikileaks. Lots of ‘neutral’ reports on Julian Aassange’s legal troubles, passing references to scuttlebutt contained in cables about foreign leaders and countries here and there, but little to nothing negative about the US, no original, exclusive investigations of WL material, absolutely no content on Vault 7 whatsoever, and no criticism of his legal situation.

There’s an enormous amount of material released by both that RFE could’ve reported on, but didn’t. Total gatekeeping, in other words. Where were/are “the tons of highly-professional investigative journalists in *all* of these countries” when you need them?

It’s clearly futile to continue further. I can foresee your goalpost shifting and bad faith misinterpretations expanding into a maddening, stultifying infinity like an Escher painting, so consider this my last response to you Neil. I’m sure you, and your therapist, will be relieved. I wish your Substack the best of luck. With a staggering 116 subscribers already, you’re clearly going to need it.

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In lieu of the well-known meme, which I'm unable to post here:

I ain't reading all that.

I'm happy for you tho.

Or sorry that happened.

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Do you know what M.

Simonyan, RT editor-in-chief, affectionately and routinely calls V. Putin, president of Russia, in her posts? Начальник, with a capital N.

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"My output for Sputnik/RT was not “controlled” in any way." Russia uses other "famous" and "regarded" people to clean and raise their respect for their outlets. The question is easy here: do you get paid for your articles in Sputnik/RT?

So, you get paid, and thus you get hooked and thus you are first allowed to write "at your will" but then you are made to write at their will half of the time, and then 3/4 of the time, and then 100% of the time.

In sum, "Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of." (Psalms 1).

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FYI I haven't written for either in a very long time and wouldn't do so again. But what you're saying is absolute nonsense. Not sure if you're aware how freelance journalism works, but I was never "hooked" and could've walked away at any time, as I did on February 24th 2022. As I said, I had other sources of income to rely upon, I didn't need to write for them to sustain myself financially.

Each and every story was my own, I was never subject to interference or pressure from editors, and my articles were never edited to remove facts inconvenient from the Russian government's perspective, let alone spiked (in fact, I was even critical of the Russian and Belarusian governments where applicable). If that had happened, I would've eagerly publicised it by now.

Following the invasion, Western media outlets were ravenous for insider tales from RT/Sputnik contributors. I know several people who were offered vast sums by prominent magazines and newspapers to author salacious tell alls about their experience of "Putin's propaganda machine". One took the bait, but their story was rejected because it was so boring, and failed to validate the commissioning publication's preconceived conspiratorial fantasies of how RT operated. Funny that.

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Apr 23, 2023Liked by Neil A. Abrams

"conspiratorial fantasies of how RT operated"

Numerous former RT/Sputnik employees have verified that RT/Sputnik censors or demands self-censorship of their writers: William Dunbar, Liz Wahl, Andrew Feinberg, James Kirchick, Sophie Shevardnadze.

"Russia Today correspondents in Ossetia found that much of their information was being fed to them from Moscow, whether it corresponded to what they saw on the ground or not. Reporters who tried to broadcast anything outside the boundaries that Moscow had carefully delineated were punished. William Dunbar... mentioned that he was hearing unconfirmed reports that Russia had bombed undisputed Georgian territory. After the interview, he 'rushed to the [RT] studio to do a live update via satellite,' he says. 'I had been told I would be doing live updates every hour that day. I got a call from the newsroom telling me the live updates had been cancelled. They said, "We don’t need you, go home." ' " https://archives.cjr.org/feature/what_is_russia_today.php

"In practice, Sputnik’s mission statement—“Telling the Untold”—means that Sputnik’s content should reflect the Russian side of any news story, whether it lines up with reality or not. When it came to the issue of Crimea (which has been occupied by Russian-backed troops since 2014), we were never to write anything on the subject that didn’t include language noting that 90 percent of Crimea residents voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia. Of course, when I’d include details of the tanks and armed men that lined the streets while the people of Crimea voted in that referendum, it would be removed from the story before it went live." https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/21/russian-propaganda-sputnik-reporter-215511/

“In order to succeed there you don’t question… In a way you kind of suppress any concerns that you have and play the game.”

[Liz] Wahl recalls a story she attempted to report about last year’s French intervention in Mali, aimed at repelling an al-Qaeda takeover of the country. She interviewed a Malian man who “talked about what it was like to live under sharia law, people getting limbs amputated…And I thought it was probably one of the best interviews that I’ve ever done. I was touched by what he said as a first hand source, but he also talked about how the French were well-received there and how they were waving French flags and how they should have come sooner, how grateful a large part of the population was, having seen people being literally tortured and having their limbs cut off.”

That story, however, didn’t fit the RT narrative, which portrays every Western military intervention as an act of imperialism while depicting Russian ones as mere humanitarian attempts at “protecting” local populations, as the network constantly describes Moscow’s role in Crimea. Needless to say, Wahl’s interview with the thankful Malian never aired. “I was told after that it was a ‘weak’ interview,” Wahl said. https://www.thedailybeast.com/exclusive-rt-anchor-liz-wahl-explains-why-she-quit

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2019 is no "a very long time". Everything had already happened, and it was pretty clear back then for everyone who was interested, so why did people ever risk their reputations at all working for the Kremlin? I know the answers, but they are not interesting now.

Back then, they used you to improve their ratings, but now everyone understands that if you had been openly affiliated with them (and you still ar based on the screenshot), your credibility would be shot. However, it's important to note that no serious person accuses you of being a Kremlin asset just because you worked or work for Sputnik/RT.

But because of what and how you write.

You follow the patterns and narratives of the Kremlin and sometimes even risk falling... "prey" to disinformation from Prigozhin's propaganda machine (low-level trolls). Rather than lying or distorting the reality of a particular story, you propagate doubt -- does the truth even exist and can it be even found?!! You and your colleagues present ten or fifty new versions of each new story and use any words or publications available as a trigger to "substantiate" your new versions or even create additional ones, rather than critically analyzing the evidence and assertions, in pursuit of the truth.

Do one thing: do a small investigation that risks being a critical report towards the Kremlin. For example, research Putin's recent visit to Ukraine and investigate all aspects of that visit, such as if he says that this is about "protecting the Donbas", then why he annexed and visited non-Donbas areas of Ukraine, the international law and legal consequences of his visits, relationships with General Lapin (who met him there and who was allegedly outposted in Summer 2022), General Surovikin (where is he?), General Gerasimov (why is it not him meeting Putin there?), and so on.

No, you will never do anything to truly criticize the Kremlin really. Nor will you say anything real or substantial negative about Putin. You might even joke about "Zelensky the narko", but never about Putin.

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"Radio Free Europe" sounds like a very stupid joke.

Europe is a USA colony that is not even allowed to buy natural gas from whom it wants.

Completely enslaved by the USA, just like RFE is their propaganda station.

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The hyperbole makes this comment more funny than it deserves to be. I'm apparently a slave now 😳😄

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There are typos and anomalies in this article. A lot.

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author

Examples?

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Apr 18, 2023Liked by Neil A. Abrams

They are gone after closed "Read allowed". I guess it was my browser problem... Sorry.

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