CBC National News Spreads Russiaphobic/Sinophobic Covid-19 Conspiracy Theory

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CBC National News Spreads Russiaphobic/Sinophobic Covid-19 Conspiracy Theory

The CBC National News story central here was linked a month ago in another thread, yet it warrants a thread of its own to look at its claims and look and the issues in context .

In what borders on an Orwellian-timed "two minutes of hate" with flashed on screen visuals, the CBC's lauded investigative reporter Katie Nicholson delivers a piece representative of the New Cold War and the bias and misinformation it thrives on.

It’s not that the CBC is at unusual here in its tactics, unfortunately far from it. Yet as a top trusted news brand in Canada it illustrates that political news from any source, and from any political perspective should be looked at carefully rather than automatically trusted.
The video, as of this post, can still be seen on the CBC site here:

Russia and China are spreading coronavirus misinformation on social media to further their own national agendas, using officials, bots and state-run media.



Part 1: The Russian Plot to Infect Us with Covid-19

Most inflammatory in the video, and certainly a great boost to the growing political censorship campaign against non-US aligned journalism and online media under the guise of “guarding public safety”, is the alleged Russian state conspiracy given by the CBC’s stand-in expert, Ron Nehring, who states that the Russian government is conspiring to use state media "to prolong the coronavirus in non-Russian countries as long as possible".

First, a little background on Ted Cruz’s campaign manager, Nehring, and his organization, The Leadership Institute which the CBC generously describes as “conservative leaning”:

In the latest sign that the U.S. Religious Right increasingly views its anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice activism as part of a global culture war, American activists will be part of the training team at next month’s European Advocacy Academy, which is designed to make European advocates for “traditional views on sex, gender and family more effective”and to make them a part of an international network that transcends country borders.â€? U.S.-based Religious Right groups have actively promoted anti-LGBTQ equality measures in Europe under the banner of protecting the family.

Among the speakers at the November 22-25 training session:

    Ron Nehring, director of international training at the Leadership Institute, a training organization founded in 1979 by right-wing activist Morton Blackwell. The Leadership Institute reported spending $15.8 million in 2016. A longtime right-wing activist, Nehring was national spokesman for Ted Cruz's presidential campaign....


See also:

Admittedly, Nehring does have real world expertise in toxic foreign political interference:

Conservatives poised to take back Alberta

With the left in control in “the Texas of Canada” conservatives in Alberta are gearing up for a comeback.

On Saturday, January 21 the Leadership Institute trained 223 activists, elected officials and future candidates with an intensive program that brought participants from throughout Alberta and as far away as Edmonton.

Leadership Institute Director of International Programs Ron Nehring and expert faculty member Bill Faulk of New York led the program....


Ironically, a major funder of the Leadership institute is the DeVos family which also, from early days, funded covid-19 spreading anti-lockdown protests in the US:


Still, the political activities and orientation of Nehring in themselves do not in themselves invalidate the specific allegations made here by him and the CBC, though it does raise the question of why the CBC selected him as an expert spokesperson.

What, then, is the hard evidence of this Russian media conspiracy for the CBC and Nehring?

[Please Note: My comments here are not a claim of any blanket reliability of the Russian-funded media with its own inherent biases and clickbait advertising. Detailed pros and cons of RT are better elsewhere. Only the specific accusations are addressed here]

To support that core accusation, the CBC flashes an image from RT News as an example of Russian state media plot to infect people by "dissuading them from hand washing". The RT "story" linked below is more of a clickbait ad for a Larry King interview from back in 20 March, 2020 titled:

You can wash your hands all day' but Covid-19 still can get you with ONE cough, medical expert tells Larry King

Appearing on RT America's Politicking, Doctor Bob Arnot, former chief medical correspondent for NBC and CBS news, said that the current emphasis on washing hands was perpetuating a myth that has yet to be substantiated by evidence..."Elbow handshake doesn't work because you want to be six feet or more away from other people," he noted. He stressed that self-isolation was by far the most prudent tactic for avoiding the illness, and speculated that if everybody stayed indoors for three weeks, the virus would "burn out" completely.


Note that the blurb, and the Bob Arnot interview, emphasize the most effective way of stopping the spread, social distancing, yet the sensationalist ad can be fairly said to be misleading since it echoes Arnot and downplays “the current emphasis” on hand washing.

Even though the CDC concurs that touch has not been proven to be a major source of spread, the CDC, and most  sources, prudently recommend a regime of hand washing:

From the CDC:

The virus may be spread in other ways

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads....


Dr. Arnot's elaborates on his opinion that there is a false sense of security by depending on handwashing; he said this in April 20 (to the US Nantucket Magazine):

To calm people, New Yorkers were told to wash their hands when they should have started distancing, canceled schools, stayed off the subway and buses instead of believing that handwashing would save them. We ridiculed using masks until the beginning of April. Our own CDC lost an entire month with a badly flawed test...


PBS must also be part of the Russian plot because Arnot was interviewed there in March and says:

"I thought from the very first day it was A little bit of a fraud" "you can wash your hands all you want" "the stuffs airborne, right" "what you need is distancing"....


Putin is everywhere. Check under your bed.

Yet, perhaps that particular RT/Arnot blurb which also emphasizes the prime means of stopping the virus spread, social distancing, is just a rather weak example chosen by the CBC to illustrate a concerted Russian state media conspiracy aimed at the West to get us infected by not hand washing?  

Surely, given the incindiary provocation of the claim, the CBC’s intrepid fact checkers would at least have taken 10 minutes and surveyed both RT and Sputnik News, the main sources of Russian media directed at the West, to verify the accuracy of this treacherous conspiracy?

Apparently not.  
You can do a bit of looking yourself by Googling--[ site:rt.com washing hands.]  Also, since Google has stated it now de-ranks Russian media in its searches, you may want to try the same with Duckduckgo or other search engines such as Qwant or Bing.

If your results are similar to mine you will find an overwhelming predominance of pro-handwashing references, such as:

'Just wash your damn hands!' Golf influencer Tisha Alyn's dance video warns fans to NOT DRINK BLEACH to 'cure' COVID-19 (VIDEO)


A sensible skywriter broadcast their straightforward message, to “wash your hands” in the clouds above Sydney on Thursday...


Clean up your act! Tech’s answers to the hand-washing solution stopping Covid-19
17 Apr, 2020


Show and tell: Cristiano Ronaldo teaches kids to wash hands as star 'set to join fight against Covid-19' (VIDEO)
22 Mar, 2020


...and so forth. Clearly Putin needs to provide more direction for a co-ordinated assault by his evil minions.

Still at it, the CBC's expert Nehring has tweeted a vaccine plot:

Ron Nehring
1/ INSIDE Russia, Putin’s government aggressively promotes vaccination against preventable diseases as an important public health measure.

OUTSIDE Russia, Kremlin-controlled media outlets aggressively spread anti-vaccine hysteria and fear.   Here’s why...


While keeping in mind that RT and Sputnik News are the main Russian media directed at the West, you should do similar site searches as suggested above using the term "vaccine" to see whether or not that the predominant message is an anti-vaccine. The results, for me at least, were similar to the previous searches.

Decide for yourself who is spreading "hysteria and fear".