Saturday, March 15, 2014

BREAKING. South Africa's Thabang Motsei on Russia's RT goes on a jaw-droppingly one-sided, Russian propaganda-fuelled news rambling.

South Africa's anchor and reporter on RT (DStv 407) Thabang Motsei is shockingly going along and damaging her own brand and credibility anchoring the one one-sided, Russian propaganda-filled story after another on the RT news channel - which has seemingly overnight changed into a heavy slanted, extremely biased 24-hour TV news channel.

The once highly respected Thabang Motsei who knows the history of, and comes from South Africa where an apartheid government used extreme nationalist and media propaganda to destroy a nation and its people, is now spouting eye-popping rhetoric, slanted and biased stories, and jaw-dropping unproven statements suddenly masqueraded and presented as "news" in surreal TV broadcasts on RT.

Her shocking behaviour - coming across as a puppet saying whatever she is told to say - is evaporating Thabang Motsei's reputation and credibility as a real journalist and TV reporter.

At issue is wall-to-wall coverage on RT about Russia's military invasion of the Ukraine, and the region of Crimea which will soon "belong" to Russia after residents in Crimea vote in a "referendum" to join Russia. No "no" vote can be marked on referendum ballots.

RT's shocking sudden change in hardline propagandist news coverage favouring Russia and trashing Western Ukraine and Kiev since a week ago is breathtaking to watch in South Africa as reporters and anchors like Thabang Motsei suddenly turned into on-air robots, saying the most unbelievable things.

Anchoring RT's news coverage on Saturday night, Thabang Motsei, usually level-headed, informed and impartial, anchored, read and talked for story after story after story about Russia and Crimea - all with the same narrative refrain: the Ukraine and the rest of the world is bad and Russia is standing and helping residents in Crimea.

The news coverage and the words coming out of Thabang Motsei's mouth, smiling and friendly - yet blatantly one-sided - is clearly helping to incite division in Crimea and the Ukraine (and possibly even violence) as she says unsubstantiated and unproved things.

Watching RT the past week it is as if somebody has flipped a switch editorially and turned RT into an English speaking propaganda TV channel for a specific subject (Ukraine and Crimea region) for Russia. 

The interesting part is how blatantly obvious it is, moreover due to the lack of basically any stories positive about West Ukraine or telling the other side of a story, and with the abundant availability of other 24-hour TV news channels covering the same story with wide additional perspective.

It is as if RT wants to convince somebody that Russia is justified to invade an annex a certain part of another country. 

Yet RT's global audience - viewers for instance who can watch RT in South Africa - can very plainly see through the shocking and badly done propaganda slant - since RT is flanked by numerous other TV news channels to the left and the right of it on the channel line-up grid. 

It's surprising how quickly RT which used to be much more balanced and fair in terms of stories, suddenly took a sharp and blatantly biased editorial position, one of being pro-Russia and is demonising everything and anything regarding the Ukraine "which is a state falling apart", except for Crimea wanting to be a part of Russia - its the same refrain, the same narrative, the same theme in basically every story.

Looking viewers straight in the eye, Thabang Motsei tells them about neo-Nazis from Kiev threatening lives in Crimea and post-revolt Ukraine, how "Russian reporters are coming under attack from radicals", and how "satellite providers have refused to work with RT over anonymous threats".

It's unbelievable, yet really happening. 

South African academics and lecturers should watch and record RT and anchors such as Thabang Motsei to show their students in media and TV studies how once credible reporters have become - seemingly overnight - part of a vast propaganda machine. It is jarring to watch.