It’s a really weird gift.
RT, the Russian government-funded English-language news channel that played a big part in Russia’s campaign to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election, is now openly trolling Western news outlets in Moscow.
Last year, the US government forced RT to formally register as a foreign agent in the United States over its involvement in the 2016 election meddling. In retaliation, Russian President Vladimir Putin made it so foreign news outlets — like NPR, which is partially funded by the US federal government — had to identify themselves as foreign agents, too.
But that clearly that wasn’t enough retaliation for the uber-trolls at RT. NPR reporter Lucian Kim showed up to work Tuesday morning at NPR’s Moscow bureau to discover a tongue-in-cheek “Foreign Agent Holiday Care Package” from RT that included RT-branded milk and cookies — yes, milk and cookies.
— Lucian Kim (@Lucian_Kim) January 9, 2018
It looks like RT, an abbreviation of its former name, Russia Today, is still a tad miffed that many in the United States — especially in the intelligence community — don’t consider it a legitimate news channel, but a Kremlin propaganda mouthpiece.
RT’s head, Margarita Simonyan, recently pleaded her channel’s innocence to CBS’s Lesley Stahl on Sunday during a 60 Minutes segment. “There’s nothing illegal that we did,” Simonyan said. “There’s nothing murky. There’s no weird activity that we’re involved in. Nothing.”
RT has gone to great lengths to continue playing the victim. Last September, Vox’s Jennifer Williams spotted this RT banner ad plastered on the side of a car in Washington, DC, traffic: