Journalism is espionage, according to the Director of National Intelligence

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to use the full title, heads the intelligence community in the US. As such, the DNI has been investigating the efforts by the Russians to influence the outcome in the recent presidential election. In a recent report the DNI targets RT America, bemoaning the fact that they increasingly feature “programming that highlights criticism of alleged US short-comings in democracy and civil liberties.” It would be unreasonable to claim that an international news network based in Moscow would do something other than present a Russian perspective, a way of viewing events that might often be less than complimentary to politics in the United States. However, the DNI appears to assume that news media should only engage in sunshine pumping regarding America and all of their stories about this country should be aired with the visual signal filtered with a rose-colored tint.

Among the items that the DNI finds to be so objectionable are:
Reports of “election fraud and voting machine vulnerabilities” and calling into question the trustworthiness of US elections.
Hosting and broadcasting debates featuring third-party presidential candidates and asserting that the “two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population.”
Coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement including describing “the current US political system as corrupt and dominated by corporations.”
Reporting that alleges “widespread infringements of civil liberties, police brutality, and drone use” and is critical of the “US economic system, US currency policy, alleged Wall Street greed, and the US national debt.”

The report only discusses activities that took place in the 2012 election. One assumes that in a mere four years the DNI can tell us about all the anti-American stuff RT aired this past fall. Regardless, only one item above is likely to have not received considerable coverage from major US news outlets during 2012, the third-party presidential candidates. However, considering that the 2016 election featured extensive coverage of alternative party candidates who then received historically large vote totals and of the voting eligible population 40% don’t participate, perhaps others should copy what RT is doing here.

Assume that the US intelligence community was able to somehow force RT to put a happy face on all stories about American politics. We already know that the incoming administration is even more inclined than past administrations to bully the press, how long would it be before the tools used to stifle RT were employed against other networks? Regardless of what one thinks of Russian interference with the US election process via hacks of computer systems or other means, attempts to suppress news coverage by any broadcaster, foreign or domestic, only justifies the criticisms made. And if the Director of National Intelligence isn’t trying to justify suppressing the RT, why devote so much effort to painting them as a nefarious propaganda tool?