The feel-good, stick-it-to-the-man story of the day is freelance journalist James Kirchick being kicked off of TV network RT (formerly Russia Today) on Wednesday for going rogue and accusing RT journalists of ignoring the gay rights abuses going on in Russia. There's one thing though: The Kremlin-funded network Kirchick appeared on isn't (technically) ignoring the issue.
Here's the clip of Kirchick hijacking the roundtable discussion:
Virtual high fives are already taking place on Twitter. (Kirchick's outburst eventually resulted in him being left on the side of the road by his taxi service. Update: A spokesperson from RT and Kirchick now say he was not left on the side of the road, but was actually dropped off at his final destination.) But the question remains: Was this the best way to discuss the issue on RT? It's fair to say that RT producers responded the same way that CNN, MSNBC or Fox News would have if a booked guest went rogue and off script. (He was booked to discuss the sentencing of Bradley Manning.) As for his accusation that the news operation hasn't covered the former issue — "I haven't seen anything on your network about the anti-gay laws passed in Russia," he said today — that isn't correct. A quick search on the RT website results in several stories about the international condemnation of the country's gay propaganda and anti-gay laws, as well as video segments like this interview with Human Rights Watch's Boris Dittrich who argues that an Olympic boycott wouldn't actually help LGBT people in Russia:
A better point for Kirchick to make would have been that much of the coverage on RT has been slanted. (Case in point: the lack of scrutiny on a story like this one: "Anti-gay law controversy ‘invented by media’ – Russia’s sports minister.") But that would have required him paying attention to the TV network's content in the first place.