Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Unfair and Unbalanced

As a result of the various earthquakes, uprisings and no fly zones going on around the world this year, I've found myself spending quite a bit of time watching various news channels. Whilst the BBC News Channel is reassuringly dull and accurate, and SKY News is unspeakably sensationalist and irresponsible, I found myself more and more drawn to Russia Today. Watching Russia Today is a curious experience, a bit like watching an old Soviet-era propaganda channel. Whether Russia Today is state-financed, I don't know, but there's no doubt that it's main aim is to present a positive image both of Russia and it's government's policies, to the English speaking world. It's adherence to the party line results in it's reporting of major issues, such as the No Fly Zone in Libya, taking on a decidedly unusual slant. Best of all is its idea of what constitutes an 'expert commentator' - more often than not they end up interviewing some crank or other who hosts an internet radio show, and allows them to rant extensively on their favourite conspiracy theory. The concept of 'balance' seems to be entirely absent, as these 'commentators' are allowed to expound their crackpot views unchallenged. It's highly entertaining.

My favourite Russia Today commentator is undoubtedly Max Keiser. The best way to describe this guy is as being the anti-Glenn Beck. Whereas Fox News's Beck will rant on about liberal conspiracies to undermine American values and such like, Keiser spends his time telling us about the evils of the international banking system and 'rigged market capitalism'. Week in, week out, he denounces the financial sector - particularly Wall Street - warning us all of how they are ripping us off. He frequently urges us to take to the streets to protest at their economic mismanagement. The man is quite brilliant! Really, whether you agree with his tone and his often hyperbolic rhetoric, or not, it is so refreshing to hear such a radically different perspective on economics being aired. The best thing is that e actually is a former Wall Street broker, so presumably does have some financial expertise. It's notable that he did once present a show for BBC News, but it was quickly dropped. Anyway, I urge you to try and catch one of his broadcasts. If you can't get Russia Today, then take a look at his web site maxkeiser.com. You won't be disappointed.

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