A U.S. Army Veteran’s Russian Election Interference
By Zak Carter. In 2012 I worked as communications director for the Free And Equal Elections Foundation. We produced a series of two presidential debates that year, both attended by Jill Stein. The CIA lists those debates as evidence of Russian interference in our elections.
As F&E’s communication director, I was tasked with increasing viewership of those debates. In 2008 F&E hosted a presidential debate that was moderated by F&E’s chairwoman and broadcast by CSPAN 2. Nobody knew about it, and nobody watched it. So I reached out to Larry King’s producer at ORA TV and got the ball rolling on Mr. King moderating one of our debates. I then started contacting other television networks to ask them to broadcast, and having Larry King attached to the debates did help open a few doors. We managed to get broadcast commitments from Link TV, Free Speech TV, CSPAN, along with ORA TV as would be expected since their host would be moderating. Missing from that list though were any of the major networks. When contacting FOX, CNN, ABC, CBS and ABC etc, I was either met with silence or told that this was something that they couldn’t broadcast due to their relationship with The Commission on Presidential Debates.
We wanted as many people watching as possible though, so I went to the international media. I managed to get commitments from both Al Jazeera and Russia Today. Other international media ran stories on the debates but did not broadcast. Thanks to Al Jazeera and Russia Today broadcasting the debates, we were inundated with interview requests for weeks by journalists all over the globe, from Switzerland to New Zealand, who had no idea that there was a Green or Libertarian Party in America till then. They thought there was nothing but Republicans and Democrats here.
After that first debate at the Chicago Hilton on October 23rd, 2012, F&E was close to broke (I believe we spent close to $150k on that night) and on a shoestring budget. Russia Today offered to put us up in their studio in DC and have Thom Hartmann moderate, and being broke, we accepted. We drove from Chicago to DC, and thanks to Superstorm Sandy, we delayed the debate till November 5th, the night before the election. After the debate we had dinner with Misha Solodovnikov, Russia Today’s DC bureau chief, so I really must be guilty of something.
What I’d like to know is if the CIA called those debates evidence of Russian meddling in our elections, what else is questionable in that report? And if Jill Stein and I are guilty of anything, clearly Larry King, an icon of our media, along with Thom Hartmann, darling of mainstream liberal talk radio, must be complicit as well, right along with CSPAN and the other American networks that broadcast our debates. Lawrence O’Donnell at MSNBC did a very positive segment on the first debate and should likely be questioned too while we’re at it.
Bottom line for me is, if The Commission on Presidential Debates didn’t block participation from independent and 3rd party candidates, I never would have called Russia Today. Open the presidential debates and I promise I won’t do it again.
U.S. Intelligence Agencies Criticize Russia Today TV for Hosting Minor-Party Presidential Debates
By Richard Winger. Intelligence agencies of the United States have just published a booklet, “Intelligence Community Assessment”, which sets forth evidence that Russia, and the television network Russia Today (RT), intervened in the United States presidential elections of 2012 and 2016. The publication is from the “Intelligence Community”, including the CIA, FBI, and NSA. Here is a link to the booklet.
Annex A, in the second half of the report, on page six, says, “In an effort to highlight the alleged ‘lack of democracy’ in the United States, RT broadcast, hosted, and advertised third-party candidate debates and ran reporting supportive of the political agenda of these candidates. The RT hosts asserted that the U.S. two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a ‘sham.’”
In 2012 RT carried the general election presidential debate between Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Virgil Goode, and Rocky Anderson. In 2016, during the primary season in the first half of the year, RT broadcast a debate between various candidates for the Green Party nomination. It also carried a debate between some of the candidates for the Libertarian nomination. Thanks to antiwar.com for the link. See this antiwar commentary about the report. (For more from the author of “U.S. Intelligence Agencies Criticize Russia Today TV for Hosting Minor-Party Presidential Debates” please click HERE)