18 September 2016: It was a pleasure speaking at the Václav Havel Library in Prague on the state of our media, the relativization of truth in a post-fact world, and (my favourite topic) the dangers of Russian disinformation. The full video of the panel discussion in which I partook is available below; the crux of my argument begins at 27:07.
On 19 April 2015, twenty-five year old Freddie Gray of Baltimore, Maryland, died from spinal injuries sustained during a police arrest. The riots that followed triggered a state of emergency in the city of Baltimore, making national as well as international headlines. As these events unfolded, I turned to YouTube to explore the news coverage: a quick search for ‘Baltimore protests’ yielded everything from live footage to reports to talk show segments detailing the crisis. But between first-page hits from familiar sources like CNN and ABC News, several news reports came from a channel inconspicuously named RT.
By now, the world is well-versed in the events that followed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s withdrawal from the November 2013 EaP Vilnius Summit (at which Ukraine was scheduled to sign a highly-anticipated EU association agreement along with several other countries) in favor of a $15 billion aid deal with Russia. Since the first public protests to this unilateral decision erupted in Kiev’s Maidan Square, the West – in this context, demarcated by those countries possessing NATO and EU membership – has expressed unusually vocal criticism of Russia’s role in the crisis.