In the latest step in an ongoing quest to reach American audiences, Russian propagandists have launched a "news" app that's marketed as a "free streaming service." But the Daily Beast reports that it's actually a porthole to the Kremlin-funded outlet RT -- but you wouldn't know by just looking at it.
Portable.TV was launched in the Apple Store a few months ago and is billed as a “one-of-a-kind free streaming service & TV library of news programs, talk shows, business updates, professional sports highlights and comedy," claiming to have a "uniquely global perspective [that] foregrounds marginalized or dissident viewpoints to give you a clearer picture of the world."
As the Daily Beast points out, the app's marketing language hides the fact that the only shows it offers are produced by RT America, including shows like Redacted Tonight hosted by comedian Lee Camp and The World According to Jesse hosted by former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. "There isn’t a single show on Portable.TV that didn’t originate on RT," writes the Daily Beast's Casey Michael.
“RT has gotten dinged for not attributing its affiliated or subsidiary content in the past,” said Research Manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory Renee DiResta. “In The Now, Waste-ed, and a few other entities were briefly kicked off of Facebook in 2019 for not disclosing their parent relationship. Now their pages have a statement making that relationship clear, although it isn’t always noted when you view the content itself—it’s really hard to tell who’s behind In The Now videos that are shared on Twitter, for example.”
Read the full report over at The Daily Beast.