If you have cable service, you may have a channel that preaches, among other things, Russian propaganda.

One of my readers called me a few days ago, incensed by the fact that her cable service carries a channel called Russia Today or RT for short.

I told her my cable supplier doesn’t carry a Russian channel and I knew nothing about Russia Today.

She said she called her cable service to complain about the channel and was told she wasn’t charged for the channel.

It’s free, the cable representative said. That didn’t satisfy her. She wanted the channel removed entirely from the service. The representative said that wasn’t going to happen.

The whole idea of a Russian channel piqued my curiosity.

I learned that not only does the Russian government supply a cable channel, it offers an associated internet channel called RT.com. If you have internet access, you can see it for yourself.

There’s a lengthy essay about Russia Today on Wikipedia. Yes, it is a Russian state-owned and state-operated information system for many nations in many languages, including English for America.

The whole idea of Russia Today is to try to convince the world that Russia is not such a bad place and, in fact, is “one of the good guys.”

Oddly, the service offers considerable objective news, but some of it is offered with commentary as seen by the Soviets.

The service offers Russian documentaries, glimpses of Russian culture and a giant ad for a country that is unquestionably an enemy and a nuisance to the United States.

So how does the Russian channel show up on one, and possibly more, cable companies? Wikipedia says that the Russian government pays cable companies to carry the channel.

If you tune to Russia Today on your TV, you can be certain that the oligarchs of Russia are footing the bill.

But let’s face facts. Every cable channel that offers news and commentary has its own ax to grind, at least part of the time.

Those of us who watch those channels must always keep that in mind and not be lulled into believing that everything one sees on a news channel is completely objective.

We live in a country where information — fake or real — is offered to us without most restrictions. Our job is to judge that information for its accuracy and the reason it is being offered to us.

I doubt the cable companies that carry Russia Today are going to cancel the channel. As a subscriber, you have the right to accept or reject the channel. But if you watch RT or any other channel, you must be careful what you believe.

Dave Peyton is on Facebook. His email address is davepeyton@comcast.net.

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