Russian media in America and Alyona Minkovski

During the 1970s and 80s, at the height of the Cold War, I used to listen to Radio Moscow on the crackly shortwave band. Of course, Radio Moscow was total propaganda and in that sense it was boring to hear nothing but wonderful things about the worker’s paradise. What I did find interesting about Radio Moscow is that it gave you the a different perspective on things. For example, Radio Moscow saw the Greenham Common peace protesters as freedom fighters who were being brutally repressed by the capitalists, whereas much of the western media saw the Greenham Common women as anarchists, lay-abouts, weirdos and lesbians (Greenham Common was an RAF base. When American nuclear cruise missiles were located there in 1981, a group of women formed a peace camp on the site. The Greenham Common peace protest went on all through the 1980s and 1990s. It ended in 2000 when the RAF base was closed down, making it probably the longest continuous protest in history).

Those who lived through the Cold War might find some irony in the fact that it’s now Russians who are providing Americans with some of their few proper news sources (because the American media has almost entirely been taken over by corporate interests who present a very bland and biased view of the world). Of course there’s also Al Jazeera, although most American satellite and cable networks refuse to carry Al Jazeera and so it’s only available in a handful of places (it’s reputed to be the most watched news channel in the White House). There’s also organisations like BBC News, which is widely seen in America; however, the BBC is so dumbed-down and PC these days that it is no longer a top notch source of news. So let’s stick with the Russians, by which I mean Russia Today, a 24 hour English language news channel that is funded by the Russian government. Russia Today is now known simply as ‘RT’, because they want to get away from the Russian tag. Unlike the old Radio Moscow, RT is not an overt mouthpiece of the Russian government. From what I’ve seen, RT covers the sort of stories that Al Jazeera and EuroNews and France 24 cover; ie, important stories that receive very little coverage from the corporate American media. This news void in the USA leaves a huge market for foreign broadcasters to fill. RT has a big operation in the USA called RT America, based in Washington, and puts out really good programmes like the Keiser Report, “a no holds barred look at the shocking scandals behind the global financial headlines”, and The Alyona Show, “a fresh perspective on US and world politics by covering bold and daring stories no one else dares to touch”. RT America also describes The Alyona Show as “what you wish you could see on mainstream television”. It fills that news void and as such is becoming increasingly popular (you can find all these RT programmes on: http://rt.com/on-air/rt-america-air/). What I find particularly interesting about The Alyona Show is its host, Alyona Minkovski. Alyona is only 25-years-old and is very articulate and intelligent. I can’t think of anyone else so young who anchors a major news programme for one hour, five nights a week.

Last July, Alyona Minkovski was interviewed by C-SPAN, which is a public service broadcaster that covers the Washington political scene. It’s a really interesting interview (that contains lots of clips from The Alyona Show), conducted by 70-year-old Brian Lamb, the founder of C-SPAN. At one point Brian asks Alyona, somewhat increduously: “your mother is a member of the Duma?!” (the Duma is the Russian parliament) Here’s the interview in full…

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