Earlier this week, Europe and Canada dropped the Russia Today (RT) television network, a Kremlin-run news network. On Tuesday, AT&T’s DirecTV announced it had severed ties with RT in the US as well.
“In line with our previous agreement with RT America, we are accelerating this year’s contract expiration timeline and will no longer offer their programming effective immediately,” DirecTV said in a statement.
Take a look at RT’s final moments on DirecTV’s airtime:
Here were the final moments of RT (Russia Today) as @DirecTV removed it at 1:00 p.m. Eastern over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
RT ran a Medicare ad & five promos (including one that said RT doesn't "skew the facts") before a message read, "This channel is no longer available." pic.twitter.com/QYGLBEZMJY
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) March 1, 2022
Tech companies Facebook, TikTok and Google have also all announced restrictions on RT’s content.
However, DirecTV’s exclusion of RT doesn’t remove it from all American homes. DISH, America’s other major cable distributor, continues to carry the network.
According to Mediaite, DISH is not ready to make a call on RT’s future, saying it will instead “closely monitor the situation.” Ultimately, I suspect DISH will drop RT.
The yanking of RT has caused debate about what a “free press” truly means. Fox News contributor and former national security official KT McFarland says companies should not pull RT off the air.
“I believe in freedom of the press, even if the press outlet is the propaganda arm of the Russian government,” McFarland told Fox News Digital. “However, I strongly encourage dissident Russians, Ukrainian freedom fighters and others around the world who are standing up to Putin’s aggression to counter with their own online podcasts and programming.”
RT is pushing the lie that Ukraine is killing Russians and that there is no invasion of Ukraine. Last night on NewsNation, a Florida-based US pundit for RT claimed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy fled Ukraine earlier in the invasion but quickly returned after RT called him on it.
That’s an obvious lie. Zelenskyy famously refused the US offer to evacuate him during the invasion. “I need ammunition, not a ride,” Zelenskyy said.
If you are going to lie, don’t lie about a hero.
Americans still have access to RT.com.