This post from CAP alum Zaid Jilani on the RT-ness of CAP has been making the rounds lately. before I say anything further I do want to emphasize that it took no small amount of courage to make these kinds of disclosures about his former employer and that kind of courage (assuming the disclosures are true) is to be commended.

But methinks his conclusion – in which RT stares deeply into CAP’s eyes and says “We’re not so different, you and I” – is at once too naive and too cynical.

Institutions are institutions. They have processes; they have hierarchies; they have external pressures; they have revenue sources to maintain. To some extent, indeed, they are all alike. In this way no media institution is truly “independent” and in this way of course CAP is like RT.

But in so many ways that matter CAP is totally unlike RT. RT is propaganda. RT spews a steady stream of distortion and untruth. CAP doesn’t! There may be internet conflicts between ideological progressives and politically-minded institutionalists but to use the beleaguered football field metaphor, they’re fighting between the 40 yard lines while RT is in the red zone. CAP was fighting over how strenuously to stress a difference with a President over war; RT’s position is, automatically, Putin’s position, 100%, always.

One of the best posts I’ve ever written was this one, about how differences in degree become differences in kind. Comparing CAP to RT makes a point about the nature of institutions, but it’s a much shallower one than Jilani thinks it is, and it obscures the differences and those are actually the more important part.

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