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Will RT allow any debate as Russia waltzes toward QR-Coded Paradise?
Judging from my time at RT, "probably nope."
As Russia openly and unapologetically embraces compulsory vaccination and digital “health” IDs, RT.com, my former employer, has taken a courageous stand against the country’s looming Vax Caste System:
“Selfish idiots.” “Refuseniks.” “Anti-vaxxer loonies.” “Holding the country to ransom.” “A menace to their own health and ours.” “They’re like drink drivers.” Just a few of the insults that have been hurled at Russians who, despite the biggest drug promotion campaign in our history, have decided they don’t wish to take one of the new-on-the-market Covid vaccines.
Freedom of choice? Bodily autonomy? They seem to have gone out of the window, along with all the other basic rights we have lost in Russia. The date is 2021, but we’re actually living in Orwell’s ‘1984,’ with its daily ‘Two Minutes Hate.’
Just kidding—I swapped out “UK” for “Russia.”
It makes you think though, doesn’t it? Also, why is RT hurling insults at unvaccinated Russians, while pretending to fight COVID Maoism in the West?
Meduza—the self-described “real Russia, today”—recently published a thought-provoking article highlighting RT’s duplicitous COVID coverage. It is worth reading, even though Meduza is a card-carrying member of the Virus Taliban and wants everyone to get six COVID shots, like their personal hero, Vladimir Zhirinovsky:
When it comes to coverage of COVID-19, vaccines, lockdowns, and other measures designed to halt the spread of the disease, RT’s news coverage differs dramatically, depending on whether it’s in Russian or a foreign language. The network’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, has done an about-face since the start of the pandemic. In January 2020, for example, she claimed that the coronavirus infects only “ethnic Chinese people.” Today, however, she and her subordinates at RT are among the country’s most vocal advocates for mask requirements, remote work, lockdowns, and state-mandated employee vaccinations.
When they’re writing in Russian, RT’s columnists welcome virtually any restriction in the fight against COVID-19, and the network itself has vigorously urged Russians to get vaccinated, denouncing skeptics and uncooperative physicians as “imbecile murderers” bent on “sabotaging” the nation’s recovery.
Russia Today’s English-language broadcasts exist in another universe. In Moscow, the network’s heroes are the doctors and nurses working tirelessly to keep COVID-19 patients alive. In English, RT’s focus pivots to healthcare workers who have protested “medical experiments” and been suspended for resisting vaccine mandates. In Great Britain, for example, Russia Today airs comments comparing vaccine passports and other restrictions on unvaccinated persons to “Big Brother.”
All of this is very amusing and very true.
Will RT allow a single dissenting opinion as Russia whimsically rides off into the Forced Vax, QR Cattle-Tag sunset? Or will it continue publishing fiery op-eds about the Oppressive West, while its made-for-Westerners Russian news section pumps out stories that end with “don’t worry about compulsory vaccination: just trust Putin, bro”?
Guys… maybe we should think carefully before submitting to a coercive, soul-raping jab-and-tag? Maybe this sets a not-so-great precedent? Or is everyone just going to roll over—no questions asked?
Bryan MacDonald, the head of RT’s Russia desk (in English), seems to think (at least privately) that there is room for debate.
That’s what MacDonald told me after I sent him a draft of an op-ed criticizing Moscow’s vaccine mandate, the first of its kind in Russia, introduced in mid-June:
In fact, he even seemed to agree that mandating a drug without any long-term safety data was maybe not such a great idea. Here is a comment he left on my draft:
Obviously, RT never ended up publishing the op-ed. But Off-Guardian was generous enough to run it—it’s a fun read, you should read it.
As a faithful devotee of RT’s Question More ethos, I continued my research into this very important issue. I found lots of interesting things! For example, did you know that Sputnik V immediately reduces hospitalizations, even though the drug typically requires 42 days to build “immunity” against COVID? This is even more miraculous because for some reason, Sputnik V’s life-preserving powers suddenly stopped working immediately after the Duma elections in late September. Very weird.
It’s been fun watching all the mental gymnastics used to argue that COVID Maoism is Very Bad in the West, but Very Good in Russia. C’mon, guys. This is pure cope. Let’s work together and stop this madness before it’s too late. Maybe even Meduza will see the light—miracles sometimes happen! (Sputnik V!)
Riley Waggaman was officially a “senior editor” at RT, but “newsroom errand boy” would have been a more appropriate job title. He has written for various outlets over the past decade. One time he even interviewed Jodie Foster. Why? No one knows.
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