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Why German Media Fears RT

How dare they invite the wrong people and cover the wrong topics

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One of the first casualties of the economic war against Russia is reportedly “Putin’s propaganda industry.” After RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan told Vedomosti newspaper that RT will have to slash spending and likely give up on expansion plans due to the devaluation of the ruble, Western media breathed a sigh of relief and began to celebrate.

Especially German media has been awash with articles celebrating the news.

Staunch pro-American newspaper Die Zeit and the German edition of The Huffington Post lost no time in explaining to German readers why “Putin’s propaganda industry” has taken a hit and Der Tagesspiegel wondered if this signifies the end of RT’s German-language offering RT Deutsch.

Since November of last year, RT Deutsch has been challenging the status quo in German media with a German-language website and a half-hour news program called “The Missing Part,” which airs on weekdays. The online offering was intended to be the precursor to a full-fledged television channel but these plans have apparently been scrapped.

Although the means of the small and young RT Deutsch team are limited, they have managed to make their established colleagues very nervous.

Even before RT Deutsch started its work, Germans had been warned of RT’s dangerous Kremlin propaganda and conspiracy theories. And as soon as RT Deutsch went online, the attacks intensified.

This begs the question of why German media is concerned about a few “Kremlin propagandists.”

For one, most newspapers and broadcasters have become increasingly unpopular with the German population due to their abysmal reporting during the Ukraine crisis. Many people have realized that they are not being told the truth. RT Deutsch is now reporting the stories that other German media outlets won’t touch, the missing part, if you will.

The treatment of German independent journalist Mark Bartalmai is a perfect example of this. Bartalmai and his team have been doing an outstanding job of covering the war in Ukraine. RT Deutsch and other alternative media outlets helped him getting the information out, while German mainstream media refused to touch it.

Likewise, RT Deutsch dared to interview German law professor Reinhard Merkel, who has written a very important and much-noticed article about the so-called “annexation” of Crimea. Merkel argues that there was no annexation but a secession followed by a referendum and the accession to the Russian Federation. This was in violation of the Ukrainian constitution but not against international law. According to the well-respected law professor, all the talk about the annexation of Crimea is just propaganda.

Although mainstream media outlets have interviewed Reinhard Merkel about different topics in recent months, nobody was interested in his opinion on Crimea. Well, nobody except for the “Kremlin propagandists.”

German newspapers and broadcasters are not forced into line but different mechanisms ensure that the public is told only one side of the story. RT Deutsch is threatening this status quo, much to the dismay of Washington’s fifth column in Germany, which wields massive influence over politics and media in the country.

That is why they fear “Putin’s propaganda industry.”

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