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A nation must think before it acts.
March 27, 2020
Post by Mathilde Venet
A thorough examination of Russian state-sponsored outlets RT and Sputnik News yields interesting insights into the persuasive devices employed by each outlet to advance Kremlin narratives. While both outlets publish outlandish content at times, many articles are written to push narratives between the lines so content will appear reliable to readers. One can observe both of these approaches at work on any given topic. Kremlin narratives about former Vice President Joe Biden offer an illustrative example of these dual approaches.
FIE 2020’s most recent assessment of Russian state media showed 40% of Biden’s mentions were negative. Mentions negative toward Biden vary in context: Some stories push bias openly, some are more refined, disguising negative stories as reliable sources of objective information.
Here are some examples of subtle tactics employed by RT and Sputnik to inject slant through omitted information or one-sided coverage:
By contrast, here are stories in which RT and Sputnik employ sensationalist or inflammatory language to paint Biden negatively:
If Biden wins the Democratic nomination in 2020, one can anticipate that RT and Sputnik News will continue to use these various tactics to push their desired narratives about Biden. By employing both methods—obvious and subtle negative slant—Kremlin content might be more easily accepted as accurate by the audiences it wishes to influence.