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A nation must think before it acts.
February 4, 2020
Post by Weston Wendt
As the U.S. presidential election nears, foreign state media outlets have taken the opportunity to further their respective political interests. FIE 2020 has analyzed content from outlets that have been very active in publishing stories on all aspects of U.S. politics, including Russia’s RT and Sputnik News and Iran’s PressTV.
After analyzing thousands of stories from these and other news outlets, similarities became apparent, particularly between the Russian news outlets and Iran’s PressTV. In a broad sense, Russian and Iranian outlets share similar views on hot-button U.S. issues like trade, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), denuclearization and U.S. relations with China, among others. Both outlets paint the Trump administration’s foreign policy efforts as generally inept. More specifically, a trend emerged from our data analysis showing content published on both countries’ outlets that was shockingly similar and, in some cases, a direct repost.
Here are a few examples of similar stories catalogued by our project in December 2019:
The reasoning behind these similarities is twofold. First, since the two nations both wish to sow division within the U.S. electorate and further many shared foreign policy goals, sharing content seems to work in both countries’ favor. Second, the Iranian state-sponsored media outlet appears to have far less production bandwidth than those of the Kremlin. PressTV also periodically reposts stories from U.S. media outlets, whereas the Kremlin frequently self-sources its content. Given these indicators, it seems logical to surmise the Iranians are copying Russian outlets’ content.
As November approaches, we should expect to see further cooperation between Russian and Iranian outlets and the amplification of each others’ content seeing as these allies in Syria share overlapping interests with regard to the U.S., the Middle East and East Asia.