Opinion

CNN vs. Russia: The Battle We’ve All Been Waiting For

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Will Ricciardella Social Media Strategist and Politics Writer

In a bizarre twist in the Russia-Trump collusion narrative, Russia’s media and communications regulator accused CNN International of violating Russian law, and CNN is fighting back.

“CNN International routinely violates Russian legislation,” a spokesman for the Russian federal communications watchdog Roskomnadzor, Vadim Ampelonsky, said Friday, according to Russia Today. “Such breaches are common,” Ampelonsky said, but “it doesn’t mean that we should not react.”

The Russian government did not specify exactly which laws it believed had been breached.

Russia’s allegation may be a response to recent heat on the Russian government in the U.S. because of Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 elections through social media. Twitter announced in a statement Thursday that it “proactively shared” with congressional intelligence committees “a round-up of ads that three RT accounts targeted to the U.S. market in 2016.”

However, there was no indication that RT had done anything illegal or out of the ordinary.

“President Vladimir Putin told a meeting of Russia’s Security Council on Friday that Russian media outlets working abroad were facing growing and unacceptable pressure,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to Reuters.

The U.S. is “demanding” that RT be “registered as a ‘foreign agent’ in the United States,” said a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, according to Reuters.

For its part, CNN is not taking the allegations lying down. After RT issued a tweet Friday containing the headline: “CNN Systematically Violates Russian Law – Watchdog,” CNN anchor Jake Tapper shot back.

“Russia systematically violates human rights and international law – the rest of the world,” Tapper responded in a retweet.

It was an exchange that embodied CNN’s apparent hostility towards the Russian government since the election.

CNN, which fired three journalists for a bogus Trump-Russia story, is notorious for its intrepid coverage of the once-prolific narrative. An undercover video in June caught a CNN producer calling the Russia-Trump probe “mostly bulls**t,” and admitting that CEO Jeff Zucker wanted to crowd out other stories in favor of the Trump-Russia narrative.

CNN has reported diligently on the Russian social media propaganda scandal thus far.

“A social media campaign calling itself ‘Blacktivist’ and linked to the Russian government used both Facebook and Twitter in an attempt to amplify racial tensions during the U.S. presidential election,” CNN  reported in an exclusive late Thursday night.

Russian officials stressed that any move taken “against Russian media working in the United States ‘will get a tit-for-tat response,'” Reuters reported.

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