The New Observer Media Comment,Uncategorized TV Rain “Independent” Russia media. Not.

TV Rain “Independent” Russia media. Not.

This short post emerges out of a previous post on how Western media avoids asking invited studio “experts” difficult questions. Writing that I found a clip of an interview with Noam Chomsky in which he gave a very succinct summary of how the US provoked Russia by seeking to put Ukraine into NATO. [1]

However; I then watched the whole clip, an interview with an anchor on Russian media outlet TV Rain. (Дождь TV). TV Rain exited Russia soon after the start of the special operation following a move by the Russian media regulator to restrict access to their broadcasts. I did some research and found out that they are part-funded by the EU [2] and vaguely described “international foundations”. [3] (It is also worth pointing out that any organisation which says that it is supported by ‘private donations’ may well be receiving funding from any kind of source with a political purpose in mind, including intelligence linked sources; are we really supposed to believe that at least some of the people who donate to TV Rain through an online fundraising platform are not sitting at a desk in Vauxhall?). The EU actively supports “independent” media and “civil society” in Russia. [4] TV Rain is acting as a political agent for the EU and certain “international foundations” with the (extraordinary) aim of sculpting Russian society into a way that the EU and those “international foundations” think appropriate. I say extraordinary because to anyone who believes in the sovereignty of nations this is extraordinary. it is not, of course, extraordinary to liberal internationalists who believe that their system is so superior they can impose it on other countries.

In this interview with Noam Chomsky Western liberal TV Rain very dutifully echoes Western talking points; Russia should not have worried about Ukraine joining NATO because Scholz said it wasn’t going to happen soon (a laughable notion especially considering the background of what Russia sees as broken commitments by NATO not to move eastwards after the unification of Germany); according to Chomsky, the anchor misquoted him as saying that Ukraine was a puppet of the US; at another point Chomsky actually catches the anchor attributing to him something a journalist wrote after having interviewed him; the anchor complains that Chomsky draws a parallel between the Iraq war and Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine; she throws Georgia at him – a standard Western propaganda line. But, again, as Chomsky points out that was not a case of “Russia invading”, it was a limited and defensive war by Russia, which Georgia started by moving forces into South Ossetia. And so on. It is interesting to watch “independent Russian media” TV Rain, absolutely unintelligently spewing Western propaganda. At the end, the anchor, having completely failed to move Chomsky one millimetre from his reasoned positions just resorts to a childish line “isn’t it the time to just save the babies in Ukraine and say Russia is the aggressor”, which is clearly the simplistic position she has and wants to get Chomsky to sign up to. She goes on with the emotionalism. Chomsky argues with impeccable logic; if you arm Ukraine to the extent that they push Russia into a corner why would Russia not escalate, either to wipe out Ukraine, or to use nuclear weapons? She tries to sidestep his logic by using the baby blackmail. When challenged she says “I am not insisting on anything”, “I am a journalist just asking the questions”, “I just want this war to end” and “I am just a journalistic putting counter-arguments”. She says this while in fact pressing as hard as she can to get Chomsky to take her anti-Russia side and using the baby blackmail to do so. If Chomsky’s position was as simplistic as hers and “pro-Russia” then she would indeed be “putting counter-arguments”. In fact, she can’t respond to any of his balanced and informed points which are based on realism and logic, and simply retreats to this emotional blackmail.

This comes after a kind of blackmailing attempt where she mentions the thousands of Russians who “have had to leave Russia”. Her naked self-interest is on all too obvious display. She, this “exiled” Russian (or, at least her colleagues), is taking Ukraine’s “side” not because she cares one jot about Ukraine let alone the “babies of Bucha”, but because, no doubt, she, like “exiles” (real and self-imposed) the world over sees a big chance for herself, (or the exiles at TV Rain with whom she is linked). On babies – we can recall the fake story about babies stolen from incubators story at the start of the 1991 Gulf War, told in order to whip up public sentiment in the US. Were the Russian “regime” to fall, the exiles will of course be rewarded with juicy new positions in the new regime. Meanwhile they are cosseted by their Western mentors in the EU. As Chomsky points out the realities of the situation are such that this “support” for Ukraine is absolutely destructive for Ukraine, if not the world.

I was, as I say, surprised by the sheer tackiness and crudity of this “independent” Russian media channel. A crass pushing of Western talking points, while making a desperate attempt to declare that “I am just a journalist asking questions”. Difficult to know exactly what the motivation might be. But crude self-interest (and pleasing the funders) no doubt plays a big part.

This kind of very crude political agitation posing as journalism is what Western media describes as “independent Russian media”. It is laughable.


  2. – (It is, by the way, incredibly hard to find mention of this EU funding of Rain TV in Western media. Possibly because it contradicts the line about “independent” Russian media. I found a page which according to the Google Search description mentioned “EU funding” in an article about TV Rain, but there was nothing in the article, leading to the possibility that there had been but it had been edited out).
  3. More on funding: “Before leaving Moscow, Sauer [ed. a Dutch media entrepreneur] persuaded the Dutch Embassy to issue visas to Russian journalists. About half of the Moscow Times’ twenty-five-person staff joined him in Amsterdam (the rest relocated to Armenia). The paper was cut off from the funding sources that it had relied on in Russia—advertising, subscriptions, events, and private donations—so Sauer proposed building a support network of independent Russian media, beginning with the Moscow Times, TV Rain, and Meduza. “Fund-raising is much easier if you come together,” he told me. The group has been able to secure significant funding from what Sauer called “international foundations.”