RT has somehow found itself the subject of a whole host of scandals this year. Aren’t we naughty? As 2017 comes to a close, here are some of the most memorable occasions we upset the political, media and tech establishment.
1) Anti-social networks
Facebook blocked RT from posting news, videos and pictures on its platform ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of the United States in January.
It handed the news channel a 72-hour ban, but relented after about 20 hours.
The page was suspended as RT broadcast Barack Obama’s final press conference. It is understood Facebook deemed the broadcast a breach of copyright, as identical live streams were being run by other news outlets.
“All the features for this page owner have now been restored. We are looking into the reasons behind the temporary block,” an apologetic Facebook said.
2) The Times vs. RT
The Times reported there is growing concern over the Kremlin’s influence on Westminster, simply because a number of MPs have appeared on ‘Putin’s Pet TV channel’ (we’re pets now, apparently. Cute.)
Rather than embracing the fact that RT UK provides a platform for figures from across the political spectrum to speak freely about absolutely anything, Rupert Murdoch’s pet newspaper (this could catch on!), preferred to ‘name and shame’ all Labour and Tory MPs who decided to contribute to the channel.
It gave a thorough breakdown of the number of times each MP appeared, as well as their contribution fee.
The Russian Embassy was quick to point out the Russophobia and hypocrisy of the Times’ story, tweeting: “@TheTimes: by appearing on RT, British politicians help Putin. Does it mean that by appearing on BBC Russian politicians help May?”
3) Underground ads
RT came under fire over its heinous crime of buying advertising space on the London Underground back in October; our sense of humor was clearly lost on some people.
In yet another example of the Times waging a war against its Kremlin-backed bugbear, the paper reported that the Labour Party had called on Ofcom, Britain’s broadcasting regulator, to investigate the “provocative” ads.
It quoted Tom Watson, the shadow culture secretary, as saying the posters amounted to a “tacit admission that RT is the mouthpiece of that state.” Er… Tom? That was the joke. Aren’t Brits supposed to be known for their dry wit?
4) Block on Twitter ads
It wasn’t just subway advertising we apparently got wrong. Twitter blocked RT from advertising on its platform as it prepared to testify to Congress over alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
Saying the measure will be “effective immediately,” the social network cited US intelligence community allegations that the Russian media helped Moscow interfere with the presidential election.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova branded the step an “unprecedented attack” which prevented the Russian media from doing their job.
Blocking the ads was also considered pretty hypocritical of the US company, given that it has previously called on RT to spend big money on its US election ad campaign, only for the news channel to turn it down because of its cost. Do you want our business or not??
5) Boris Johnson vs. RT
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson loves a good crack at Russia, despite his conciliatory language when he visited Moscow before Christmas. He’s also not afraid to use the Russian bogyman to attack his opponents. He told the House of Commons it is an “absolute scandal” that members of the opposition Labour Party “validate and legitimate” Kremlin propaganda by appearing on RT.
Earth to Boris! Your own dad has been on the channel! Gaffe-prone Johnson seems to have forgotten his dear papa Stanley appeared on RT’s Going Underground just a month before he made the remarks. Christmas must have been aaaawkward…
Let’s see who we offend in 2018.