A recent bill introduced by a Senate Democrat may have ignited a feud with Russia that has resulted in the Russian parliament’s decision to investigate numerous American media outlets operating within the country, including CNN and Voice of America, to determine if they are following Russian law.
The decision came down from the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, which announced on Friday that it would carry out an “audit” of U.S. media outlets like the Voice of America, Radio Liberty and CNN.
The move is largely considered a retaliatory blow against the U.S. for a bill introduced by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) that would grant the Department of Justice increased leverage to investigate whether RT America, a state-owned Russian media outlet, has violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
“We have good reason to believe that RT News is coordinating with the Russian government to spread misinformation and undermine our Democratic process,” Shaheen said in a statement. “The American public has a right to know if this is the case. RT News has made public statements boasting that it can dodge our laws with shell corporations, and it’s time for the Department of Justice to investigate.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova fired back at Shaheen by suggesting that the lawmaker should have also offered up a list of books to burn, insinuating that the effort is merely meant to clamp down on dissenting journalism.
RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan offered a similar assessment of the situation last week, accusing Shaheen of channeling the spirit of former Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who infamously stirred up a culture of making unsubstantiated accusations of communist collusion back in the 1950s. (Sound familiar?)