Brett Kavanaugh Has Huge Opposition in the U.S.—But Russian State Propaganda Loves Donald Trump's Nominee

Russian state media, which delights in presenting a narrative of a United States embroiled in chaos, is taking the case of Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and running with it.

As Senators narrowly advanced the nomination of Kavanaugh, who has been accused by three women of sexual misconduct, Russian state media and propaganda efforts have come out in favor of the controversial judge.

The state-funded outlet RT, which was recently obligated to register its U.S. branch under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, trumpeted the news that the White House had found no proof of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh after reviewing the findings of a time-limited FBI investigation into the allegations.

The same outlet also called attention to the arrest of several high-profile celebrities, actress and comedian Amy Schumer and model Emily Ratajkowski, who were protesting Kavanaugh's potential appointment in front of the Supreme Court on Thursday. “Obstruction of Justice?” the outlet asked.

1042105646-594x594
Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination be an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, focusing on allegations of sexual assault by Kavanaugh against Christine Blasey Ford in the early 1980s. Tom Williams/Getty Images

Sputnik International, another Russian state-funded outlet, ran the same stories along with a third piece that called attention to a Wall Street Journal op-ed, in which Kavanaugh admitted to being overly emotional during a public Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Meanwhile, Hamilton 68, a project launched by the German Marshall Fund that tracks Russian influence operations on Twitter, noted a marked increase in activity around Kavanaugh's nomination. In the last 48 hours, the platform claims that Russian trolls on Twitter used the Kavanaugh hashtag almost 100 times. Only the Russia and MAGA (Make America Great Again) hashtags were used more frequently.

While there is much controversy surrounding Kavanaugh's nomination, Russian propaganda routinely distorts the truth and paints an exaggerated version of events. One columnist for The Guardian spent 24 hours watching RT, and he concluded that the outlet consistently paints Russia as a victim of an aggressive but struggling West.

“Russia barely figures in RT's coverage; its main stories tend to concern the Middle East, or European infighting or social injustice in the US. Its overarching narrative is a tale of the west's unrelenting decline. Its regular financial programme is called Boom Bust,” columnist Tim Dowling wrote last year.

“When Russia does make the news on RT, the Kremlin has little to worry about. Earlier this week, the main story was about a possible blanket ban on Russian Olympic athletes implicated in the doping scandal. Over the course of the day, reports repeatedly cited a “persistent lack of evidence” for a state-sponsored doping regime and sought to characterize the whole scandal as a western propaganda exercise aimed at undermining the next Russian presidential election,” Dowling continued.

On Thursday, the Department of Justice brought criminal charges against seven Russian military intelligence members for having attempted to hack into the computers of the anti-doping agency to steal sensitive information in an alleged effort to discredit the agency on the Kremlin's behalf.