Fox News Echoed Putin. Then Russian Media Used Fox News Content to Mock US.

The Kremlin tone surrounding the summit was echoed by Fox News. Fox news was then amplified by the Russian-state media, which cited Fox News viewers, readers, and media personalities.

Highlights:

Leading up to the summit Russian state media published pro-Kremlin content asserting that Putin would “wipe his feet with Biden.”4 This message was later echoed by Fox News, which was then amplified by the Russian state media, citing Fox News viewers, readers, and media personalities themselves.

Previously, it appeared Russia was merely adopting and amplifying far-right American political views, but in this case, the narrative begins with Russia.

Sputnik news reported:5

Readers of the American media concern Fox News did not appreciate Biden's desire to defend the interests of Ukraine. In their opinion, a politician should discuss the United States with Putin, and not other countries.

This reflects the view that Putin would prefer the US to assume.6


After Fox News called into doubt the President’s account of the summit, the Kremlin quickly amplified that, citing Fox News and Tweets from the Daily Caller specifically.7

Translated title reads: “Fox News (USA): Biden's claims about harsh conversation with Putin about his "soul" raise doubts among the media given his penchant for fables”


The post-summit commentary mirrored that which came before the event. Fox News roughly echoed the Russian-state media in the lead-up to the event, during the summit.

Ria Novosti, an outlet restructured under Putin and populated with loyalists,8 collected comments from the Fox News reader section,9 and these were featured on many of the Kremlin-controlled media outlets. We cannot say with certainty whether the quotes are authentic. Fox News would likely be able to aid in determining that.

That said, fabrication would undermine the Kremlin’s motivation for shifting toward highlighting authentic American voices.10 Coopting voices with cultural fluency improves an audience’s receptivity to the Kremlin’s message.11 False quotes are certainly possible, but it would be unnecessary.12 Plenty of real Americans share the Kremlin’s worldview, something that is deeply concerning on its own.

Ria Novosti has a history of publishing vaccine misinformation, some of which spread rapidly through US anti-vaccine communities.13 RT (Russia Today) specifically, is popular in anti-vaccine groups, demonstrating how effectively state-funded media narratives resonate among those receptive to conspiratorial thinking.14


The above clipping quotes Pravda, a paper that was the propaganda arm of the former Soviet Union.15 It undermines claims about the summit made by President Biden, although his claims were largely supported by heavy documentation that surrounded the meeting.16


In response to the Time cover featuring Biden on June 11, another Russian paper quoted Ria Novosti’s Fox News reader quotes. Russia has shifted toward elevating and amplifying native voices that reflect their preferences as this is far more successful than Russian content.17

The article quotes Fox readers:18

"This is similar to the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Obama: do not wait until the Biden do something worthy of the title" - says Oubai Shahbandar, transfers RIA Novosti .
“He is wearing sunglasses because he is asleep,” Josias Teofiofo sneered.
“Even Biden himself would have laughed at this if, of course, he remembered that he won,” wrote Jay Patel. According to the user with the nickname flswingvote502, this is "some kind of alternative universe." “Alas, no airbrushing and no filters can hide the destruction,” he stated.
“Biden's brain was stuck in the 80s. He still thinks Top Shooter and Tom Cruise are still the tough guy. Shame, "- outraged mansplainer383.
“They cleverly covered his eyes with glasses to hide the frightened look of a deer in front of the wheels of a truck,” the users summed up.

This article,19 much like the others, quotes Fox News readers.

Ex-leader of the USA Donald Trump noted that Washington received nothing from the meeting of Russian and American presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, whilst for Moscow the summit went well.
Trump said in an interview with Fox News: "We got nothing, we gave the stage to Russia, we got nothing."
Trump added that the US was unable to stop Nord Stream 2, which was important to do, in his opinion.
According to the ex-president, Russia won from the summit. “I think it was a good day for Russia,” he said.
Trump also said the US-Russian relationship could be "incredible." "They need the economy, and we need the things that they have. They have very valuable land in terms of mineral resources," he said.
In addition, the former head of the White House made a statement that he got along well with Vladimir Putin. "But no one was tougher with Russia than me," Trump said.

That last sentence conflicts with the former President’s actions, which drew condemnation from his party. Today the party appears to have shifted from criticizing their opponent, to siding with an adversary, even though that adversary is hostile toward the US.


Demonstrating a hallmark of Russian disinformation, a lack of commitment to coherence, we see a narrative that says Biden is losing his political position with Republicans—perhaps meaning their respect—because of the sympathy and trust of President Putin.

Ahead of the meeting Russian media depicted an America that had little faith in Biden, but this article now says his political standing is slipping.

Context of Conservatives Relationship with Russia

Republicans lifted sanctions on Russians in Jan 2019. The sanctioned parties were involved in transnational criminal activities. In April 2019, the Russian aluminum giant RUSAL invested nearly 200 million dollars in Kentucky, the home of Senator Mitch McConnell.

Oligarchs gave over 7 million dollars to Republicans from 2015 to 2019, most of which came from Leonard Blavatnik.


Increasingly we are seeing Fox News readers and pundits being amplified and featured on the Russian state media.20


The comments reflect the views of current Fox News pundits, which is something worrisome. The network appears to be systematically supporting a recognized hostile actor over the leader of the United States.


The elevation of Trump in the Russian State media is a fairly common occurrence. This article uses Trump’s words to show the Russian people that Putin bested the US.21 The implication is that even the former President thinks so. These are not policy-based arguments but constructs built on emotion.


Another article using quotes from Fox News views gathered by Ria Novosti.22


Earlier in the year when Putin challenged Biden to an on-air discussion, incredibly Fox News again supported the Kremlin’s narrative, seeming to be on the side of our adversary.23


Fox aired footage of Putin hunting while shirtless seeming to imply superiority.24 Worthy of note, neither the current or former President hunts while shirtless. Is the implication simply that they support Putin? This was how Russian state TV portrayed the clip.

Perhaps most worrisome among the narrative reinforcement between Fox News and the Kremlin was the revision of what took place on Jan 6, 2021, when a woman broke into the Capitol and was fatally shot climbing through a window attempting to enter the Speaker’s chamber.25

In the aftermath, we learned the woman had radicalized in a very short period of time into an extremism movement known as Qanon.26 Qanon was influenced by Russian state actors no later than Jan 2018 and Iranian state actors no later than Nov 2017, when accounts amplified Qanon content.27

At the summit Putin echoed the revision on the death of this woman,28 implying that it was similar to the wrongful imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, an anti-corruption activist from Russia.29

Inauthentic amplification surrounding this revision appeared the day the Republican Senate blocked an investigation into the attack on the capitol and Russian state-controlled Twitter accounts amplified complementary content.30

The Twitter activity shown in the spreadsheets suggests bot activity and coordinated inauthentic activity on May 28, 2021, following Republicans’ block of a Jan 6th investigation, after Democrats had agreed to all requests made by Republicans.


Other similarly demeaning content quoting Fox News’ audience

Other quotes taken from Fox News readers reported on Innov.ru:
Biden has shown his weakness again,” pilot012 said.
DonQu1xote noted that "stock markets are falling - that's all you need to know about Joe's work."

There were also such comments, apparently, some users were not satisfied with the lack of specifics in the words of the President of the United States.

“Before Biden in administrations, subordinates understood the goals and objectives of the president, but under him, the opposite is true, so he can only answer questions vaguely,” wrote Mowerman.

RIVERSIDECO reacted harshly: “Will Putin agree to Biden's warnings? Yes. Will Putin Follow Biden's Warnings? In no case. A warning from Biden is like threatening with an empty water pistol. "
Some have compared Biden and Trump as presidents.

“The greatest president we have had for a long time ... courageous, confident, strong, is called Donald Trump,” joked FREEDOMACROSSAMERICA.


Quotes from Fox News readers:

Mr. Putin will eat Joe for lunch”;
“Biden and Putin agree on this. They will both put Russia first. Don't be surprised if Biden agrees to the annexation of the USA by Russia ”;
“The meeting will probably be about giving up Alaska”;
"Putin will like it," the Americans wrote.

The anti-American rhetoric happens in other languages as well. RT Arabic tweeted on May 21, 2021, saying: Fox News: Biden Administration ‘considers blatant racism’ justice.31

The article quotes Tucker Carlson, a Fox News media personality known internationally for his penchant for misleading and inaccurate statements.

According to Tucker Carlson, a Fox News television presenter, Mayor Lightfoot showed that the justice that the current US administration is striving to achieve is just discrimination against whites on racial grounds.
On the day of his inauguration, Carlson stated, Joe Biden signed Decree 13985, which mandates "justice" in all branches of federal power, but that neither Biden nor anyone else in the administration, ever gave an exact definition of that word.
"Today, we finally know what justice means," Carlson said.
We are not talking about the definition of racism given by US Congressman Ilhan Omar and by The Atlantic, no, we mean racism in the literal sense as Martin Luther King Jr. understood it: hurting some and helping others on purely racial grounds. In other words, prejudice and 

The outlet InfoRos spoke fondly of Rush Limbaugh following his death in early 2021. InfoRos is a GRU-linked webiste.32

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2

https://novelscience.substack.com/p/ashli-babbitt-trending-among-kremlin

3

https://novelscience.substack.com/p/russia-amplifying-critical-race-theory

4

https://tj.sputniknews.ru/20210608/putin-biden-nogi-usa-russia-sammit-1040081623.html

5

https://tj.sputniknews.ru/20210608/putin-biden-nogi-usa-russia-sammit-1040081623.html

6

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/russia-ukraine-united-states-standoff-fears/

7

https://inosmi.ru/politic/20210318/249359822.html

8

http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/19805

9

https://news.rambler.ru/world/46639501-za-starshego-byl-putin-amerikantsev-razocharoval-bayden-na-sammite/

10

https://securingdemocracy.gmfus.org/russias-maturing-information-manipulation-playbook/

11

https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Pillars-of-Russia%E2%80%99s-Disinformation-and-Propaganda-Ecosystem_08-04-20.pdf

12

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-115jhrg26880/html/CHRG-115jhrg26880.htm

13

https://firstdraftnews.org/articles/anti-pfizer-vaccine-narratives/

14

https://firstdraftnews.org/articles/rt-fringe-undermine-covid-vaccinations/

15

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/entertainment/books/1987/08/09/the-truth-about-pravda/d0f81468-3ed5-4b6b-a4e4-4fcd53e6c8af/

16

https://port.pravda.ru/news/russa/21-06-2021/53016-putin_ucrania_eua-0/

17

https://rantt.com/russian-state-media-aligns-with-gop-messaging-after-capitol-attack

18

https://vz.ru/news/2021/6/13/1103940.html

19

https://www.oreanda.ru/en/it_media/trump-called-russia-the-only-winner-of-the-summit-in-geneva/article1377388/

20

https://ria.ru/20210617/bayden-1737337666.html

21

https://en.news.ru/world/trump-thinks-us-got-nothing-after-biden-putin-summit/

22

https://en.newizv.ru/news/politics/11-06-2021/fox-news-viewers-dirty-joe-to-meet-with-putin-will-wear-steel-diapers

23

https://en.topcor.ru/19134-fox-news-bajden-zastavil-putina-otkryto-smejatsja-nad-ssha.html

24

https://en.topcor.ru/19134-fox-news-bajden-zastavil-putina-otkryto-smejatsja-nad-ssha.html

25

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-closes-probe-capitol-police-shooting-woman-killed-jan-6-riot-2021-04-14/

26

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2021/01/08/the-journey-of-ashli-babbitt/

27

https://www.io-archive.org/#/

28

https://video.foxnews.com/v/video-embed.html?video_id=6247645118001&ref=tweet.lambda.dance

archived version: https://web.archive.org/web/20210626203007/https://video.foxnews.com/v/video-embed.html?video_id=6247645118001&ref=tweet.lambda.dance

29

https://www.npr.org/2021/02/02/963160053/kremlin-critic-navalny-faces-court-hearing-could-see-3-5-years-in-prison

30

https://novelscience.substack.com/p/ashli-babbitt-trending-among-kremlin

31

https://arabic.rt.com/world/1233755-%D9%81%D9%88%D9%83%D8%B3-%D9%86%D9%8A%D9%88%D8%B2-%D8%A5%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A9-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%8A%D8%AF%D9%86-%D8%AA%D8%B9%D8%AA%D8%A8%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D9%86%D8%B5%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AE%D8%A9-%D8%B9%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A9/

32

https://clintwatts.substack.com/p/russias-disinformation-ecosystem