60 Minutes: RT Chief Makes Fool of Polish Journalist Supporting Repression of Russian Media in US

Olga Skabeeva: Now let's move to a very important issue, a sensational one. Watch carefully this ground-breaking report. After a long search, the US TV channel NBC has finally found the Russian 'troll factory', the one which was set up by Putin and which ultimately elected Donald Trump. NBC even managed to catch one of the trolls involved. It's a real scoop, watch it.

The 'troll factory'. Vitaly Bespalov, 26, is one of dozens of 20-year-olds who make up fake stories inside what he calls 'a factory of lies'.

- Did you create fake accounts? Yes, he says.


Clint Watts NBC News national security analyst: “These 'troll farms' can produce such a large amount of content with hashtags and headlines that it destroys normal user conversations”.

Really eye-opening stuff. Of course, when we followed up on the report ourselves, we found an empty building and when we searched out “Vitaly” we found a trendy Sobchak fan who enjoys clubbing, getting tats and being a liberal metrosexual. But nothing about a Kremlin trace.

Still, it’s enough proof to justify shutting down our media in the US. Speaking of which, Margarita Simonyan is our guest today.

Margarita Simonyan: Here's the letter received by the head of RT America saying that Congress unanimously voted to withdraw our accreditation so we would not be let in Congress and the Senate, and in the US it has greater importance than here. Not only are you shut out of information, but other accreditations to get an access elsewhere are issued based on this accreditation. So, if you have it, well done, you're welcome in other places. It actually prevents us from operating as media. Even in this studio, I said that recognizing us as a foreign agent would entail further limitations to our work as news media. This letter clearly states that our accreditation is withdrawn because we're registered as a foreign agent. All our liberal colleagues here kept convincing us, the country and the world, both in private conversations and in your studio, that nothing bad would happen, that it would only mean openness and transparency, like, register, show your budget, show your staff, why not? Like, "nothing will change in your work, nothing threatens you". Moreover, over this short period that we've been registered as a foreign agent, every day we've received letters from our partners, in which our longstanding partners, whom we cultivated relationships with for 12 years, say: "Dear friends, we love you, we never had a single problem with you, we do value our cooperation, but we can't cooperate anymore because you've been registered as a foreign agent." Or other partners with fewer reputational risks write us: "Dear friends, we love you, but now we'll interact on different conditions, which are far worse for you, because you've been registered as a foreign agent." This happens every day. That's all I can say to those who told me that nothing bad would happen if we registered as a foreign agent."

Jakub Korejba, political scientist, Poland: Don't you think it's logical and to be expected? In recent years you've been actively declaring to the world that you're different from Europe, the USA, the West, that you have your own values, style, including in foreign politics, your own rules, that you aren't vulnerable to pressure, don't share certain values that are fundamental in the West. So why do you expect to be treated like everyone else? You don't want to assume responsibility, but think that you should receive all the same privileges. Your country is a rogue state, and so is your media...you stand for different values, so you're treated differently.

Margarita Simonyan: May I ask the hosts a question I'm asked every day by people who know I go on your program? Why do you let this man on?

Evgeny Popov: He expresses the Western position on topics quite honestly.

Margarita Simonyan: You know, if Russia went by the values attributed to us by this man, the US authorities and others, then, he'd have been extradited right now, at best, or just arrested and imprisoned, if we went by the principles they claim we have.Olga Skabeeva: The US and, in general, Western actions stem from what the honorable Jakub Korejba, who represents Poland, is saying. So, it's important for us to understand him. Jakub with all his heart, absolutely for free, comes here to tell us what the Westerners think of us.