Russia Today, a Moscow-headquartered news network aimed at enhancing Russia’s image in the West, is not known for its level-headed approach to the news. Since its founding in 2005, the network has endlessly touted 9/11 conspiracy theories, questioned President Obama’s place of birth, quoted “journalists” from unhinged “news” sources like WorldNetDaily, and even, in one case, interviewed a well-known white supremacist about Obama without mentioning his racism.
But there’s more.
Thanks to a June report by Adam Holland in the online Interpreter magazine, which specializes in translating and reporting Russian news, we now know that Russia Today regularly uses one Ryan Dawson as an “expert” on a whole plethora of subjects — the U.S. role in Yemen, Russia’s role in the Ukraine, disputes between China and Japan, and more.
He’s been identified there as an author, a “journalist specializing in Asian affairs,” a “political blogger and peace activist,” a writer for WhatReallyHappened.com, an “analyst,” and a “human rights activist.”
Dawson may be some of those things. But he’s something else, too.
According to Holland, Dawson has for more than a decade been a Holocaust denier, a conspiracy theorist about Israel’s supposed role in 9/11, and a promoter of the idea that Judaism sanctions pedophilia and rape. This January, he did a friendly interview with Michael Collins Piper, who writes for the Holocaust denial journal The Barnes Review and other radical publications. More recently, he and another interviewee laughed at the idea that the Nazis killed Jews in gas chambers.
Russia Today, Holland says, mentions none of this.
It isn’t only foreign networks that like to use extremists as commentators. Over at Fox News this June, frequent Fox guest Gavin McInnes, a co-founder of Vice magazine who left in 2008, went on a rant against Neil deGrasse Tyson, a well-known black astrophysicist who hosts Fox’s “Cosmos” program.
“I hate this guy,” McInnes said. “White liberal nerds love this guy so much, he could defecate on them … and they would dance in the streets.” He went on to mock Tyson’s account of being racially profiled as a youth, saying Tyson “had a huge Afro and a cutoff shirt” and concluding, “Sorry, you fit the profile.”
Media Matters, a liberal watchdog group, reported that McInnes used to write for the racist VDARE.com web site, has referred to Asian Americans as “slopes” and “riceballs,” and said Muslims are “stupider” due to inbreeding.
Even PBS is not wholly immune to this sort of thing.
In June, Bonnie Erbe, host of the public television network’s “To the Contrary” program, accepted an annual journalism prize from the Center for Immigration Studies, an allegedly “nonpartisan” think tank that has never found any aspect of immigration that it likes, despite publishing scores of studies. As she has in the past, Erbe lauded the group, which, like her, promotes the idea that immigration depletes natural resources and contributes to global warming. In her acceptance speech, Erbe complained that “in the journalistic community, if you dare raise any negative impact of mass immigration” then “you are shunted aside.”
If that’s true, Erbe is a notable exception to the rule.