As MRC’s Free Speech America noted Tuesday afternoon, DirecTV yanked RT America off its airwaves due to its role as Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s personal mouthpiece in the U.S. as he wages war against the innocent people of Ukraine. And, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, they made good on their promise, roughly 45 minutes after Axios’s Sara Fischer broke the news.
Our Scott Whitlock took a look at some of the worst moments from the past week, so we’ll taking a look at their final hour of programming on one of America’s largest cable providers.
First, the moment itself. Following the end of their business show BoomBu$t, RT America ran a Medicare enrollment ad and then five separate promos, which consisted of two for RT as a network (including one that boasted RT doesn’t “skew the facts” and is a “solid” media “alternative”), one for Jesse Ventura’s The World According to Jesse, and one for The Big Picture With Holland Cooke.
At the moment Cooke’s ended, the screen went black with this message, accompanied by a DirecTV logo: “This channel is no longer available.”
Going back to the programming, the noon hour kicked off with In Question host Manila Chan peddled Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov telling the U.N. that, in Chan’s words, it should be of “the utmost importance” to the world that Ukraine be barred from “acquir[ing] nuclear weapons.”
Chan had two reports from Ukraine and, in one of them, correspondent Maria Finoshina repeatedly insisted the Russian military airstrikes on Kyiv’s TV tower were unverifiable.
However, she undermined herself by promoting a statement from the Russian military defending the airstrikes as hits on “technological objects of Ukraine's security service and telecommunications facilities” that were inflicting harm on the Russian military.
Not surprisingly, Finoshina left out the part about injuries and that it also damaged a Ukrainian memorial for Holocaust victims.
Furthering Putin’s narrative about the people of Donestk and Luhansk being oppressed by the Ukrainian government, Chan lamented that those in Dontesk “are terrified with people's lives and homes still being lost eight years after Ukrainian military and militias began indiscriminately bombing Donbass.”
Of course, it was Russia that invaded in 2014 by backing pro-Russian separatists.
Going later to her panel of former U.K. MP George Galloway and former Pentagon official Michael Maloof, the Russian lies came to the forefront. First, Chan discussed the European Union’s banning of RT, wondering: “Why don’t they not want Europeans to have a choice in what they see?”
Galloway concurred because, in his view, it was a slap in the face to any discussion of “freedom” and “liberty,” at a time when “more and more people are determined to find the other side of the story.”
Before going off with Maloof about the fear of pro-Ukrainian “mercenaries” running roughshod, Chan then gave a plug for their Portable TV app, saying it can be downloaded “anywhere, any corner of the Earth.”
For his part, Maloof said the removal of RT form the airwaves was “an absolute violation of our democratic principles that we claim we’re fighting to...cherish and protect,” adding “it’s insanity.”
After touting RT as the latest example of how “nothing tastes better than the forbidden fruit,” Chan and Galloway explained away Putin’s dangerous (and false) reasoning for invading Ukraine, which was to remove (drug-addicted) Nazis who’ve taken over the country (click “expand”):
CHAN: George, no media here in America is bothering to ask why Vladimir Putin called for “the denazification of Ukraine.” Are Europeans wondering what he meant? I mean, perhaps you can enlighten us to the likes of Stepan Bandera and the Svoboda party in Ukraine?
GALLOWAY: Well, Mike and I have tried to get this onto people's agenda, but with not that great success. The Stepan Banderas, the spiritual leader of the right sector and the right-wing fringe of Ukrainian nationalism. Not all Ukrainians are Nazis, of course, and Ukraine made a heroic stand against the Nazi invasion in the second World War and lost phenomenal numbers of people. But a very substantial number of Ukrainians collaborated with the Nazis and their leader was Stepan Banderas. He was a Jew killer. He had his men fall upon Ukraine's Jews and Polish Jews and massacre them, even before the SS battalions arrived. He then collaborated and putting [sic] them on trains to death camps, where massive numbers were murdered. Industrially murdered. Men, women and children. And his picture is being carried around by the right-wing sector of the Ukrainian armed forces, the ones that are currently hold up in Mariupol. They are the ones who are dipping their bullets in pig fat just the other day, because they expect to be coming up against Muslim Russians from the Chechan Republican and may even now be doing so. They do not hide it, Manila. They fly swastikas, they give hitler's salutes. They wear jackboots, SS insignia. They worship Bandera. Well, if that is your friends, president Biden, Prime minister Johnson, if these are your friends, I would rather be me then you.
And before the show wrapped, Galloway compared the Ukrainians to al-Qaeda and ISIS while Maloof warned of “more treachery” (click “expand”):
GALLOWAY: They've emptied all the prisons, did you know that —
GALLOWAY: — in Ukraine? Any prisoner, a murderer, a rapist, any prisoner who has had military experience is having their sentences canceled and given a gun and sent out onto the street. And some of these groups are killing each other in Kyiv, because the different right-wing groups, as is usually the case, just like with ISIS and Al Qaeda, they kill as many of each other than they do other people. It’s an absolutely desperate situation.
CHAN: Mike, final thoughts on?
MALOOF: Yeah, I think that we’re going to seeing is a lot more treachery. We’re going to see a lot of — a lot more of our — we’re going — we’re going to have greater imposition of — of obstacles put in our way. Our rights are going to be taken away. We’re going to see this all time. We’re —
CHAN: Do you think it’s going to ripple back this way?
MALOOF: — it’s going to ripple back here. Inevitably, it will. That’s what I am afraid of and I’m concerned that by what George and I have been pointing out this morning that with — with this involvement like this, you’re going to ease into an involvement that is beyond anything we want. It would be an implementation of Article IV, if you will, as opposed to Article V in which other members come around and they see what is going on in NATO and decide to engage. Or countries of the willing, as we saw in Libya.
CHAN: Well —
MALOOF: And they were all NATO countries.
And for the final half-hour of RT, BoomBu$t featured host Rachel Blevins — who’s cried uncle over having her Twitter account be slapped with a label denoting she’s with “Russia state-affiliated media” — couching supposedly straight-ahead business coverage with a pro-Kremlin stink (click “expand”):
BLEVINS: [T]he Federal Reserve is days away from its first expected interest rate hikes since 2018. But as the Fed begins to move away from easy money policies it has had in place for nearly two years now, it remains to be seen if and how the latest geopolitical tensions could have an impact. For example, a top strategist from Credit Suisse is comparing the current situation to the 2008 Lehman brothers crisis, warning that excluding certain Russian banks from SWIFT will lead to missed payments, which will be similar to Lehman's ability to make payments due to clearing bank's unwillingness to send payments on its behalf. He went on to say, “history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.”
BLEVINS: Oil prices have continued to rise with the international benchmark for burnt crude rising as much as seven percent to one of five dollars a barrel before settling back around $100 even. While the latest sanctions against Russia have not moved to directly target the nation's energy supply, they've driven concern over their impact on the global economy at a time when demand is still struggling to recover. So, how high will prices go and what will the latest tensions mean for the future of supply?
BLEVINS: Another story I wanted to touch on when it comes to all of the reaction here is the fact that BP announced that it is offloading its 20 percent stake in a Russian oil giant Rosneft, which will cost the British company around $25 billion. I mean, what is behind a move like that? And does it benefit BP in any way?
TODD HORWITZ: Well, it may benefit them from, maybe, looking good, but let's see if this is just lip service or if it is real. You know, a lot of people say a lot of things in the heat of the battle and to make sure that they look like they’re on the right side of the battle. But let's see if it really becomes part of it. Let's see if they’re willing to take that $25 billion hit and see if it doesn’t cure itself out before it is said and done. Again, remember, a lot of people say things they do not necessarily mean at the moment they say them and it could be just for — you know, almost not political, but to make the company look better for the moment until things settle down a little bit.
BLEVINS: Yeah, their PR people are certainly talking there.
Before signing off, she told viewers how they can still watch RT via smartphone apps. Unfortunately for Blevins, the Apple App Store also announced Tuesday afternoon that it would remove RT apps.
To see the relevant RT America transcript from March 1, click here.