The U.S. State Department is doubling down on some harsh words John Kerry had for Kremlin-funded Russian broadcaster RT last week.
KERRY: "The propaganda bullhorn that is the state-sponsored Russia Today ... has deployed to promote President Putin's fantasy about what is playing out on the ground." (Via C-SPAN)
That was the U.S. Secretary of State on Thursday. And RT did not take the criticism lying down.
An article from RT on Kerry's comments outright accused him of having no evidence behind his claims.
On Twitter, RT's editor-in-chief wrote, "Surprising that ... Kerry in this difficult and humiliating (time) for his homeland (has nothing) to worry about except our channel."
And RT focused on comments from Russia's foreign minister backing up the broadcaster. Sergei Lavrov reportedly said, "It’s not civilized to call the media like that."
But Kerry's hardly the first to make this claim. RT has been widely labeled "propaganda" throughout Western media for years.
The Columbia Journalism Review called it that right up top in a 2010 profile.
More recently, former RT employees told Buzzfeed, "Anti-American language is injected into TV scripts by editors, and stories that don’t toe the editorial line regularly get killed."
Since the crisis in Ukraine began, the channel has seen a high-profile on-air resignation. Anchor Liz Wahl said RT had turned into a mouthpiece for the Kremlin.
And don't hold your breath for an apology from Kerry. The State Department responded to RT's complaint in a blog post Tuesday.
It was written by Undersecretary Richard Stengel, who served as TIME magazine's managing editor for seven years. He writes, "From assertions that peaceful protesters hired snipers to repeated allegations that Kiev is beset by violence, fascism and anti-Semitism, these are lies falsely presented as news. ... RT is a distortion machine, not a news organization." (Via U.S. Department of State)
Russian foreign minister Lavrov has levied similar claims that the U.S. and western media are distorting the situation in Ukraine, also claiming Kerry is threatened that CNN and the BBC have competition.