In the current panicked mood about all things Russia, it’s hard to drive this point home hard enough: no one really watches RT. Our own Karina Orlova noted all of this early last year, and pointed out that RT is not just lying to the outside world when it misreports its impact figures; it’s lying to its own government in order to secure funding for itself.Or, more to the point -- reach does not equal grasp, as the Economist points out:
RT has a clever way with numbers. Its “audience” of 550m refers to the number of people who can access its channel, not those who actually watch it. RT has never released the latter figure, but a 2015 survey of the top 94 cable channels in America by Nielsen, a research firm, found that RT did not even make it into the rankings. In Britain last month, it captured just 0.04% of viewers, according to the Broadcast Audience Research Board.I would wager more people saw the Green RT logo on the latest SNL spoof than have ever seen any RT, ahem, programming. I only hope the Voice of America is more effective.