Founded in 2005, RT, originally Russia Today, is a television network funded by the Russian government. It operates cable and satellite television channels directed to audiences outside of Russia and provides Internet content in various languages, including Russian. Critics of RT claim they are a source for disinformation and pro-Russian propaganda.
Funded by / Ownership
ANO “TV-Novosti,” owns RT News, which the Russian Government funds. The network is funded through advertising and 307 million USD from the Russian Government as of 2016.
Analysis / Bias
In review, RT News presents news that is generally in line with the Russian Government’s narrative. When it comes to covering USA/International News, they provide right-of-center coverage. They are highly biased in favor of Russia and occasionally run Pro-state conspiracy stories. The Columbia Journalism Review calls RT “The Kremlin’s propaganda outlet.”
In general, most international news stories on RT are factual and relate to true events; however, there are occasional pieces that spin these facts into a different narrative that is misleading. Another concerning aspect of RT is they do not list author information for articles published on the website. This presents a lack of transparency that makes it difficult to verify the information.
A search of Google Fact Check Explorer reveals numerous failed fact checks. Below is a shortlist of many false claims:
- While RT Bemoans Ukrainian Propaganda, it is Russians who Feel the Disinfo Fallout – FALSE
- RT: OPCW Got its Chemical Weapons Samples from ‘Jihadists’ – FALSE
- RT Distorts Disinformation Detective’s Guide to Russian Trolls – FALSE
- RT’s FARA examined. Part I – FALSE
- RT: US Special Envoy Says Russia Seeks to ‘Freeze’ Conflict in … – FALSE
Overall, we rate RT Questionable based on promoting pro-Russian propaganda, promotion of conspiracy theories, numerous failed fact checks, and a lack of author transparency. (5/18/2016) Updated (D. Van Zandt 1/03/2020)