During a time when Ron Paul supporters are complaining, with some justification, about the major media not giving their candidate’s success in Iowa enough attention, the Texas congressman is getting enormously favorable coverage from a foreign propaganda outlet—Russia Today television.
One of Paul’s leading supporters in the media, if the term “media” is broadly defined, is Adam Kokesh, host of a show, “Adam Vs. The Man,” on Moscow’s English-language channel. On Monday, Kokesh used his show, which reaches many U.S. cities, to complain about the American media not giving Paul more favorable coverage, attacking the newspaper Politico for ignoring Paul’s second-place finish in a headline over a story about the results.
Kokesh uses disparaging language when referring to other Republicans, such as calling Rick Santorum “a homophobic theocrat” and Rick Perry a “Ken doll.” He regularly attacks the “corporate media” in the U.S. without criticizing the Moscow regime that pays his salary.
Commentators have typically described Paul’s second place finish in the Iowa straw poll as the result of “college kids” supporting him. AIM has noted the major media’s reluctance to credit Paul for his success in presidential primaries.
But the advent of Russia Today (RT) television, which has been accused of serving as a vehicle for Russia’s intelligence services, puts the question of media coverage of the campaign in a new context—one of foreign interference in U.S. politics. The channel is carried in the Washington, D.C. media market by MHz Networks, a subsidiary of Commonwealth Public Broadcasting, which receives $3 million a year from federal and state governments.
Several websites feature a series of videos from RT, not limited to the Kokesh program, that are extremely favorable to Paul’s campaign. The channel features attractive female anchors who speak flawless English and claim to have America’s best interests at heart. Many observers agree the channel is far more effective than the heavy-handed Soviet propaganda of the Cold War years.
But RT has been such an enthusiastic supporter of the Paul campaign that some observers think the channel, which is registered as a foreign corporation in the U.S., has violated U.S. election law. Foreign corporations are prohibited from “contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly,” according to the Federal Election Commission.
On June 6, 2011, Kokesh ended his show with remarks that go beyond merely reporting the news to endorsing Paul and highlighting a “money bomb” and fundraising for him. The transcript reads as follows:
“Kokesh: I’d like to end tonight on a note of some good news. We have some good news from the front lines of the Ron Paul “LOVEalution” with our money bomb on June 5. I was happy to donate to that. Yesterday we raised over one million dollars for the Ron Paul campaign. And I’m starting to figure out what electable means, because electable or non-electable is really a code word for ‘if this person wins, I’m not gonna be able to get as much money from the government.’ But if you want electable, please support the reelection campaign of President Barack Obama. If you want a President who’s going to honor his oath to the Constitution and your freedom; I urge you to support none other than Congressman Ron Paul.”
Kokesh publicly endorsed Paul, saying, “I urge you to support none other than Congressman Ron Paul,” and mentioned that he was “happy to donate to that [Ron Paul money bomb].”
A disgruntled U.S. Marine veteran who openly acknowledges his current role as a paid agent of Moscow, Kokesh says his program is an example of “libertarian television.” He has been backing Paul—and Paul’s organization has supported him—since Kokesh unsuccessfully ran for the Congress in New Mexico in 2010.
But Tim Sumner of 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America said Kokesh is masquerading as a conservative-libertarian in order to lure viewers into accepting a far-left agenda. Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin called Kokesh a “smear merchant” who wears “GOP clothing.”
Nevertheless, Kokesh continues to advertise himself as a Republican supporter of Ron Paul. “Ron Paul trampled the competition with logic and reason at the Ames debate,” Kokesh insists. During the debate, Paul said he would not object to Iran getting nuclear weapons and called for trade relations with Communist Cuba. Paul also complained about “war propaganda” designed to lay the groundwork for military action against Iran.
“Rep. Paul, who is excellent on many other issues, reveals both a shocking naÃ¯vetÃ© regarding Cuba and Iran, and a deep misunderstanding of the principles of free trade, when applied to belligerent nations,” countered anti-communist blogger Trevor Loudon, a prominent critic of Russia Today.
On the Big Peace website, writer and researcher Spyridon Mitsotakis called Paul the Republican Party’s Henry Wallace, a reference to the Democrat considered so naÃ¯ve about the communist threat that he ran for president on the ticket of the Progressive Party, which was dominated and manipulated by the Communist Party.
Some political observers think Paul’s campaign has the potential to undermine the Republican Party as it goes into the 2012 campaign and help guarantee Obama’s re-election. Conservative columnist Douglas MacKinnon says, “I spoke recently with a senior Democrat strategist who offered up a quite logical and incredibly frightening scenario for those who are desperate to vote Barack Obama out of office in 2012. His theory goes like this: That the Obama White House and the Obama re-election team are going to work overtime behind the scenes to push enough of Texas Republican Ron Paul’s ‘libertarian’ buttons to eventually have him declare as a third-party candidate.”
This theory holds that Paul could attract enough votes away from potential Republican voters to throw the election to Obama.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at [email protected].