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Russia Today? You Don't Say

If you want some perspective on how the Kremlin views the conflict with Georgia, try the state-funded, English-language television news channel Russia Today.

Want to know the Georgian side of the story? Try somewhere else.

If the pro-Moscow, anti-Tbilisi pontificating gets too much for you, turning the sound off isn't much of a respite. The on-screen banners and text crawls continuously feed out pro-Russian story lines to semidistracted multitaskers.

At the beginning of the conflict, Russia Today had a big banner across the bottom of the screen for much of the day that said "GENOCIDE." In the days that followed, the "GENOCIDE" banner gave way to "DEVASTATION." Oddly, the RT people even left the word up during coverage of the meeting in Moscow between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

There were plenty of smaller banners and news crawls that, almost exclusively, stoked sympathy for South Ossetians and animosity toward Georgians.

To give you a better understanding of Russia Today's coverage, here are some of the many on-screen banners used at the height of the crisis:

* South Ossetia Ravaged By Georgian Attacks, Residents Left Homeless

* South Ossetians Say Georgians Were Killing Civilians On Purpose

* Georgia Continues Shelling South Ossetia Despite Cease-Fire Promises From Tbilisi

* Tens Of Thousands Flee Conflict Zone, Take Refuge In Russia's South

* Russian Cameraman Says CNN Aired Misleading Footage Of Tskhinvali

* Funerals Begin For South Ossetians Killed In Conflict

* South Ossetians Unable To Bury Bodies Of Relatives In Their Homeland

And last, but not least:

* People In Georgia Not Given Full Picture Of Conflict In The Region

They say truth is the first casualty of war. But irony and hypocrisy will always be there on the front lines.

-- Bruce Jacobs

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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