How Russian State Media Is Covering the U.S. Election - The Comprehensive Minds

How Russian State Media Is Covering the U.S. Election 

How Russian State Media Is Covering the U.S. Election


The US election is taking up airtime on Russian state television as the ballots are still being counted. Four days after election day, the Associated Press and other media outlets declared former vice president Joe Biden the winner. 


He had garnered the 270Electoral votes needed to defeat President Trump in the race for the White House. But Russia's main television networks are taking extra effort to cast out on Biden's victory in the eyes of its viewers.  


Russian state networks are using the elections as an opportunity to portray American democracy as messy. State media occupies an enormous role in the Russian media landscape. 


In terms of informing people and informing opinions, it does play a very large role. Three main themes are shaping Russian public opinion about US politics, such as election irregularities, the question about who calls the winner, and the stark preview of the new administration. 

There's no apparent coordination between Russian state media and the Trump campaign but Russian media have echoed a familiar line from the Trump campaign about election irregularities. - It's amazing how those mail-in ballots are so one-sided. 


There's been no evidence of widespread fraud but the Trump campaign has turned to the courts, challenging absentee and mail-in voting procedures. While the newscasts appear to support Trump and not Biden, it's ultimately signaling something else to viewers.  

I think that a big part of this is not really to come down on one side or the other but to rather sow doubt in people's minds about the electoral process, about the nature of democracy itself in the United States. 


Russian anchors also have questions about who's calling the results in the US. For over a century, US presidential elections have been called by news organizations before the official results are announced. That's because it can take weeks to certify the results since each state has different rules and regulations. 

Russian media and US election


News organizations based their calls on near-complete vote counts by election officials in each state. Plus the US doesn't have a national elections commission to announce the winner. But in Russia, there's a central Election Commission and so to Russian viewers, the American way of calling the election is unusual. - Whom was it called by? All of them. Oh my goodness. 


All the networks. Biden's critical comments about Russia over the years. "Get out of Ukraine".  Are repeated across different political shows. 


He's portrayed as someone who will not be nice or at least neutral to Russia. Biden frequently criticized Russia's foreign policy and strongly supported sanctioning Moscow for annexing Ukraine'sCrimean Peninsula in 2014.  


The focus isn't just on Biden but also on people possibly being considered to join his administration. That certainly does get across the idea that Joe Biden is not the favorite candidate of the Kremlin, given some of the things that Biden has said about Russia. 


I think the biggest threat to America right now in terms of breaking up our security and our alliance is Russia. But Biden has also indicated a willingness to work with the Kremlin on the extension of an arms control treaty, something that Moscow has also shown interest in. 


Nearly three out of four Russians get their news from television and so the message that state media broadcasts send about the future administration reaches large audiences across Russia.  Beyond who sits in the White House, Russia's rolling coverage of the election has a deeper message about American democracy.  


But with its constantly changing political landscape, it isn't one to be envied. - The more time passes, the more you see differences between the US political system and the Russian political system, which in name calls itself a democracy. 


Things stay very much the same in Russia and I think the idea that they're trying to get across here is that you have this kind of vibrant democracy but it's flawed at its roots and so that in the end kind of leaves the Russian people with no alternative to imagine a Russian political system that could be anything else beyond Vladimir Putin staying in power. 

source: Wall Street Journal

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