On November 18, the English-language edition of Sputnik incorrectly reported that a committee of the U.S. Senate had been informed that the U.S. was losing the “media war” to Russia and was incapable of responding to the challenge. Kenneth R. Weinstein, a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, was alleged to have said this in remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the previous day.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is a governmental board that oversees Voice of America, Radio Liberty, and Radio Free, among others.
What Weinstein in fact said was the U.S. was taking concrete and aggressive steps to address the issue of Russian propaganda and disinformation. (His remarks can be found here in their entirety.)
Weinstein said: “The Kremlin is actively using propaganda and disinformation as a tool of foreign policy and to maintain support at home. To counter Russian propaganda, the BBG engages key audiences inside Russia… As elsewhere, we have an appreciation of different audiences that we seek to reach, and want our audiences to be empowered by facts, the most effective strategy for countering propaganda.”
He also discussed the “dramatic increase” in broadcast-media programs by BBG regarding Ukraine: “Since the fall of the Yanukovych government in Ukraine in February 2014, and the ensuing occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea and Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, the BBG has dramatically increased programming to the region. Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty have added or expanded more than thirty-five new programs on multiple media platforms in Russian, Ukrainian, and other languages to reach new audiences in Ukraine, Russia, elsewhere in the former Soviet space, and around the world.”