By Peter Pomerantsev, The Atlantic.com, Sept.9, 2014
[....] “If previous authoritarian regimes were three parts violence and one part propaganda,” argues Igor Yakovenko, a professor of journalism at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, “this one is virtually all propaganda and relatively little violence. Putin only needs to make a few arrests—and then amplify the message through his total control of television.” [....]
Now Russia is exporting its reality-reinventing model through the hundreds of millions of dollars that it spends on international broadcasters like the rolling, multilingual news channel RT (Russia Today) [....]
Organizations like the Ukraine-based StopFake.org have been working hard to expose disinformation in Russian and foreign media. But for every ‘fake’ they catch, Kremlin-allied news outlets produce a thousand more. These news organizations don’t care if they’re caught in a lie. They care only about clicks and being compelling.
Like its domestic equivalents, RT also focuses on conspiracy theories—from 9/11 truthers to the hidden Zionist hand in Syria’s civil war. Western critics often snigger at these claims, but the coverage has a receptive audience [....]