BBG Media

TIME magazine has an article on Russia’s external media outlet RT, which was quickly countered with what looks like a lady doth protest too much op-ed by Margarita Simonyan, RT’s Editor-in-Chief.

Both articles include budget figures (some contested) for international broadcasting operations by RT, BBC, and BBG. Both have references to U.S. international media outreach through the Broadcasting Board of Governors.



Inside Putin’s On-Air Machine | TIME

Putin founded RT in 2005 with a budget of about $30 million and gradually ramped it up to more than $300 million per year by 2010. (By comparison, the BBC World Service Group, which includes TV, radio and online news distribution, has a budget of $376 million for 2014–15. The BBC’s International Service is the biggest broadcast newsgathering operation in the world.)

In a direct response to Russia’s propaganda efforts against Ukraine, the U.S. Congress passed a bill [BBG Watch: U.S. House of Representatives passed it, but there was no vote in the Senate; the bill did not become law.] in July to make the state-funded Voice of America a more direct mouthpiece for U.S. foreign policy, shifting away from its mission of providing uncensored local news in places where it’s hard to find. “We are trying to counter Russian propaganda—and that of our adversaries throughout the world—with one hand behind our back,” said Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as he urged President Barack Obama to support the legislation.





RT Twitter Logo

Once upon a TIME | RT

Now, I can empathize with the challenge of trying to write an honest-to-goodness sad-sack story about the outspent (and new favorite epithet, ‘outgunned’) Western media at a time when RT is broadcasting multiple 24/7 TV channels around the world for the mind-blowing sum of $225 million, while the UK’s BBC World Service and the US’ Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG, which includes Voice of America and Radio Free Europe) – both running predominantly online and radio services with small and sporadic television presences in a handful of regions – receive $375 million and $721 million respectively.

The problem is that BBC’s “International Service” isn’t a thing in and of itself. It is the newsgathering department of BBC News (budget – $530 million), which is part of the British Broadcasting Corporation (budget – over $7 billion), funded through the license fee that is charged to every UK household with a TV.