Stop Comparing News to Terrorism


Target: Andrew Lack, chief of the Broadcasting Board of Governors

Goal: Cease equating the Russia Today news network with militant organizations like ISIS and Boko Haram.

International news agency Russia Today was included on a list of challenges the nation faces given by the new chief of the Broadcasting Board of Governors that included militant organizations ISIS and Boko Haram, providing us a candid glance into how the government views news agencies that do not bow to mainstream American narratives. Equating a news agency with murderous extremists is a dangerous precedent and entirely inappropriate. Demand that this new chief, Andrew Lack, stop putting news distribution and terrorism in the same camp.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is a federal agency in charge of United States government-supported civilian international news media, like Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks. Russia Today, commonly known as RT, is an Emmy-nominated international news agency funded by the Russian government (comparable to Britain’s BBC) that has become a popular source of American journalism distinct from corporatized and uncritically pro-America sources like CNN and Fox News. Government officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor Hillary Clinton, have condemned RT before, but comparing it to militants who pose actual bodily threats to Americans and others is a whole new spin.

While the American government may be opposed to the narratives RT presents, it is a news organization that has the right to broadcast them. Differing perspectives themselves are not terrorism and should never be considered terrorism. Sign the petition below to demand that Chief Andrew Lack stop equating RT and the news it broadcasts with terrorism.


Dear Chief Lack,

I am writing you today regarding your comments about RT that were recently published in The New York Times. Putting a news agency that is sometimes critical of American domestic and foreign policy on the same level as militant organizations that want nothing more than to kill Americans is entirely out of line.

While it is generally understood that the government of the United States does not support RT, I would hope that such disapproval is not to the exclusion of freedom of the press. Equating RT with ISIS and Boko Haram as “challenges that we face” suggests that they are all of equal danger to the United States and its citizens, and that they should be responded to in similar fashions.

Clearly, the United States cannot send drones to bomb RT bureaus, but it does have legal means at its disposal. Indeed, given the harsh treatment the government has dealt to whistleblowers and the journalists who tell those stories, concerns about the lengths it would be willing to go to suppress RT and the perspectives it broadcasts do not seem unwarranted.

The kind of rhetoric you displayed, whether intentional or just a slip of the tongue, is dangerous and unnecessary. RT is not a foreign combatant requiring government response. I demand that you stop suggesting it is so immediately.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Maiakinfo via Wikimedia Commons

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