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Meet the true journalists: James Kirchick and Lawrence O’Donnell

Published time: August 23, 2013 23:25
James Kirchick

That was no ordinary day for Lawrence O’Donnell, renowned and globally-respected MSNBC journalist.

Today he will meet his hero – partisan gay reporter James Kirchick, who, sitting in a Swedish TV studio, bravely stood up against Putin’s evil and authoritarian homophobic dictatorship during a LIVE appearance on a Kremlin propaganda machine. And what happens when a real journalist meets a real journalist on air? Right – an explosion of objectivity and balance. 

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Mr. O’Donnell loved the video. He didn’t hide it. He even gave a standing ovation to Kirchick on his show. Because “it is a perfect piece of video,” he says. Because Mr. Kirchick “did a heroic job on Russian television.” Minutes before one of the most anticipated and crucial news announcements in recent years, pure heroism stepped in when Kirchick pulled on his gay-pride suspenders and started blasting off about  the “horrific repression” of gay people in Russia and the “anti-propaganda law”, which, according to Kirchick, “effectively makes it illegal to talk about homosexuality in public” (but not according to the law itself, though who needs fact checking?).

When asked by Mr. O’Donnell if Kirchick had wished RT let him change the subject, the man himself explained that he was eager to talk about gay rights that night. And he did! But the evil Kremlin propaganda network would only let him speak for 2 minutes and shockingly decided to keep on discussing Manning’s sentencing without Kirchick.

A true champion of free speech and a truly professional moderator (WATCH: Lawrence O’Donnell brutally interrupting and kicking his guests off air here and here) O’Donnell invited Kirchick to let him speak out in full. And the discussion was a powerful example of balanced and factual journalism.

Discussing a “meaningless Russian letter” (the one where Deputy PM reassures the IOC of non-discrimination during the Sochi Olympics), O’Donnell slashes it as “full of stupidity”. “It is illegal to say anything positive about gay people in Russia,” proclaims the host. As a true journalist, O’Donnell always knows what he is saying and is always ready to back his statements with proof. In this case, however, he restrained himself from revealing documented evidence of people being arrested for “speaking positively about gay people.” 

The chorusing duo of true journalists then moved on to rip up RT itself. Kirchick, a slave to“fair and balanced” principals, accused RT of broadcasting “completely one-sided, completely staged, utterly cynical conversations” while covering gay rights in Russia (the day before, however, Kirchick proudly stated that he had never seen RT covering anti-gay laws in Russia at all). Finally, Kirchick, as a long-time expert on journalism, tried once again to shame the RT staff: “Foreign” journalists” (here, Kirchick intelligently uses quotation marks), who work for RT “are complete failures in their own countries and can’t get a job at MSNBC, or CNN or BBC", which Kirchick mentions as an example of "respectable news outlets".

Well, James Kirchick has the right and standing to judge his colleagues, because he IS a respected journalist, he knows about journalism more than anyone and everything he says must be taken as gospel.

James Kirchick is a true American patriot, a reporter who always sticks to the highest standards of journalism. James Kirchick, a journalist who proclaimed Manning a traitor for putting the “lives of countless innocent people worldwide in danger” and concluded that the “punishment should be death.” When it comes to the Manning case, James Kirchick knows it like no one else, as he personally covered it from the beginning, visiting every single hearing at Fort Meade.

James Kirchick, a journalist who states matter-of-factly that there is not a single political prisoner in the US. If James Kirchick says it, you’d better believe him ‘cause it’s Mr. Kirchick, who’s been thoroughly investigating issues of indefinite detention in America for years, he’s been to Guantanamo prison many times and certainly knows that not a single person is, for example, being held without trial in America.

James Kirchick, a fighter for justice, who knows very well how journalists are “routinely tortured, harassed and in some cases killed by the Russian government”. He personally witnessed how gangster Putin’s regime declared war on gays, signing the law “that prohibits gay couples holding hands in public.”When it comes to Russia, you can hardly argue with Kirchick, because Kirchick has been living in Russia for a long time. It is Kirchick who arrived in this country to personally investigate human rights in Russia from the inside. Because that what a true journalist does, doesn’t he? But, unfortunately, he does not.

Closing down the segment, it is worth mentioning that if James Kirchick thought his stunt would help Russian gays in the fight for their rights, well, he might be shocked to know that it did not entirely work out. Many inside Russia’s LGBT community, including a leading gay activist Nikolay Alekseev, found the stunt eyebrow-raising. 

Some say that instead of helping the struggle, he helped bolster homophobic sentiment in Russia. The next day after his sabotage of RT, this post titled “Why nobody likes gays” (instead of “gays” a Russian offensive equivalent is used) was among the top trending in the Russian blogosphere, attracting hundreds of comments and sparking a fierce debate.

Gay rights is a long-burning issue in Russia. Alekseev points out that gay pride marches have been banned since 2006 and the LGBT community will continue fighting the “hypocrisy and homophobia of the Russian state”. 


But appearing LIVE on RT, he somehow manages to express himself in a sane and well-grounded manner.

Attracting the world’s attention to human rights issues is one of the main tasks for journalists. But if they do it without dignity, without coherence and put themselves above others – that is the moment where they can lose face. So, I really hope you sleep well at night too, Mr. Kirchick.

Kirill Karnovich-Valua

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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