RT, a state-run Russian television network that broadcasts around the world in English, was implicated in a recently declassified United States intelligence report that accused the Russia government of meddling in the American presidential election to tip the vote in favor of Donald J. Trump. The Russians are accused of hacking the email systems of the Democratic National Committee and conducting a widespread disinformation campaign that included the propagation of fake news stories on the internet and the airwaves. RT’s coverage of Hillary Clinton “throughout the U.S. presidential campaign was consistently negative and focused on her leaked emails and accused her of corruption, poor physical and mental health and ties to Islamic extremism,” the declassified intelligence report said. RT, formerly called Russia Today, was founded in 2005 as part of the state-owned news agency RIA Novosti. The network describes itself on its website as the first “Russian 24/7 English-language news channel which brings the Russian view on global news.” President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said the network was created to “break the Anglo-Saxon monopoly on the global information streams.”
Though the network is owned and operated by the Russian government, its executives say their journalists are independent. One anchor, however, quit her job during a live broacast in 2014, after saying she could no longer work for a network that “whitewashes the actions of Putin.”
In the United States, RT America is broadcast by cable companies in some cities, is carried by Dish, the satellite television provider, and can be found free online. Larry King, the former CNN host, and Ed Schultz, a former MSNBC host, both have programs on the network.
The role of RT in the Kremlin’s effort to influence the election is covered in more detail than any other part of Russia’s campaign in the report, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Friday. According to the report, the network aggressively uses the internet and social media to conduct “strategic messaging for the Russian government.” RT videos receive more than one million views a day on YouTube, according to the report, and the network’s programming was “aimed at undermining viewers’ trust of US democratic procedures.”