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YouTube continues its assault on the press, removes 6 years of Chris Hedges' RT show from platform

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On Monday, YouTube removed six years’ worth of episodes of the Emmy-nominated show On Contact by Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges. The show was produced by RT, formerly Russia Today, but Hedges maintained editorial control.

No explanation, forewarning or notice was given by YouTube, the videos simply disappeared, according to Hedges, who wrote about the experience on ScheerPost in an article titled “On Being Disappeared.”

“I received no inquiry or notice from YouTube. I vanished. In totalitarian systems you exist, then you don’t. I suppose this was done in the name of censoring Russian propaganda, although I have a hard time seeing how a detailed discussion of “Ulysses” or the biographies of Susan Sontag and J. Robert Oppenheimer had any connection in the eyes of the most obtuse censors in Silicon Valley with Vladimir Putin. Indeed, there is not one show that dealt with Russia.” On Contact contained interviews with a wide range of individuals. From social commentators like Noam Chomsky and Cornel West, novelist Russell Banks, journalists Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi and human rights lawyer Steven Donziger, among many others, the show provided a platform for many different voices.

RT America (formerly Russia Today America) is funded by the Russian government, not unlike Sputnik News. RT was dropped from American cable networks and YouTube after Russia’s special operation in Ukraine. The EU and the UK also banned RT and in the case of the EU, Sputnik News.

The justification for Russian media’s disappearance in the West was over allegations of “Russian disinformation” being spread, particularly as it pertains to the situation in Ukraine. With the removal of On Contact, the justification has seemingly been expanded to include not just Ukraine but any information with even a tenuous connection to Russia.

On Contact did not discuss the situation in Ukraine, its primary focus was on the multitude of issues facing the West. Hedges, the former New York Times journalist and creator of On Contact, explains.

“I was on RT because, as a vocal critic of US imperialism, militarism, the corporate

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