July 23rd, 2014
02:06 PM ET

See Chris Cuomo Challenge RT Anchor

What is propaganda and what is fact when it comes to the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 investigation? Depends on who you ask.

"New Day’s" Chris Cuomo and Russia Today’s Peter Lavelle debated the question in a conversation that ended up offering more heat than light.

"You are obsessed with clearing Russia from culpability. That's okay," Cuomo said.

"I am focused on talking about … how this plane and its victims were treated."

The host of RT's show "Crosstalk"  maintained that it was 'ludicrous' for Cuomo to ask why Russia hadn't condemned the treatment of the crime scene in eastern Ukraine, and told Cuomo he sounded like a representative for the U.S. State Department.

The conversation grew louder and more contentious as it went on.

In the end, Cuomo apologized to the audience after the interview saying "the emotion sometimes gets the better of you ... I apologize for getting involved with what became more about emotion than reason there for a moment."

What do you think? Is Russia Today simply toeing the party line despite the evidence? Or is it too soon to pass judgment?


RELATED: Propaganda war: Russia offers alternate takes to what brought down MH17

RELATED: Sara Firth: RT was 'pushing a narrative'

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Filed under: News • Videos • World News
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Jerom

    Until recently I was not aware of the existence of "Russia Today". It just appeared between other channels on my television. Just like that. Like having a peaceful walk in the countryside only to discover that a fat blood sucking tick has attached to your body. Sucking your blood and poisoning you with Borrelia burgdorferi. I did not ask for it, RT, and thank god I am not paying for it! It just appeared on the cable. But. I must admit very entertaining this news channel! Somehow reminds me of Monty Python.
    I think this discussion, the video, is exemplary for the whole contents of “RT”. No original news stories. Just reacting on news from “the West”. Especially reacting on CNN stories.
    I would suggest the following experiment to CNN. And, by writing this I am ruining the whole experiment.
    What if CNN would make a item stating that RT is right? Praising them for a great piece of journalism. What would happen then? Will they (RT) ignore it? Or would they have to react to it by saying that CNN was so wrong about stating that RT was right?

    July 27, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  2. Maxine K.

    You have to give firm validated evidence before condemning someone. CNN are being completely slanderous. I also think you should allow people being accused equal opportunity to reply to all allegations being hurled at them...

    CNN Reporter:
    Your honor we the prosecution point blame at Mr Putin. He is guilty because we have a mountain of evidence – so much that we will not waste the courts time with showing any of it! Whilst I am also unable to clarify the nature and integrity of any of this evidence I can at least share with you my personal opinion that it's pretty convincing stuff.

    We also ask that we hold the trial in a virtual courtroom conducted in the media so that the people we heap blame upon are unable to respond. We also ask that no one photographs or interviews the ordinary people living in the cities and townships currently being bombarded by the Ukraine military lest our jury audience identify with them in anyway. We ask that you only photograph scruffy unshaven soldiers with tattoos brandishing a weapon so that we can place incriminating & derogative headlines above them.

    Is that how CNN works?

    July 26, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  3. hawaii guy

    Funny how Cuomo tows the line that the Freedom Fighters, disgraced the crime scene. Here are the facts, The Donetsk PM immediately offered a 50 mile radius cease fire around crash site, within an hr I believe of the crash. Kiev Refused. after 48+ hours, the freedom fighters carefully started placing bodies in body bags, videotaping all of it for evidence, then placing them on refrigerated trains. They also started gathering personal belongings from the massive crash area and brought them to a central location within the crash site, again videotaping and cataloguing all the evidence. They also had multiple moments of silence and prayers for the victims of the crash site. They gathered the black boxes and turned them over to the Malaysian dignitaries. The only thing Kiev did in the 4-6 days following the crsah was to continually bomb the area, even bombed the area where the bodies were knowingly loaded on the trains and where OSCE observers and Dutch authorities were. Lavelle is one heck of a journalist, Cuomo needs to quit as he really sucks at his job.

    July 25, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  4. hawaii guy

    Once again CNN's "journalists" get there but t's handed to them by actual journalists! Peter Lavelle used facts and on the ground knowledge to make Cuomo look like the child he is. And what did Cuomo do? went "CNN propaganda child tirade" in leu of facts, either because he didn't know any or he isn't capable of processing beyond teleprompter input. A+ RT and Lavelle, D- CNN and Cuomo, but that was a given.

    July 25, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Reply
  5. bitrage

    Lavelle has the arguments on his side in this conversation, Cuomo tries to conflate his stance on the issue with caring a bout the lives lost, which is minipulative. NEvertheless, Lavalle loses me when he argues that seperatists repeatedly refusing to answer the question whether Russia supports them does not strongly indicate a connection...

    July 25, 2014 at 8:16 am | Reply

    PUTIN DID 9/11
    PUTIN DID 9/11
    PUTIN DID 9/11

    July 25, 2014 at 8:14 am | Reply
  7. Logic

    Further investigation is needed to make a conclusive determination with respect to culpability. It is too soon to judge. The truth will come out. Patience is a virtue.

    July 24, 2014 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  8. bruce d.

    I appreciate how Mr. Lavelle was able to articulate that the entire US media and government intelligence agencies are using social media and speculation to sensationalize the tragedy of MH17.
    Chris Cuomo certainly came off as a hack, once again. I appreciate his passion for the tragic occurrence, but his reporting of the incident has been purely based in hyperbole.
    Peter Lavelle must be commended on his assertion that nothing is known yet.
    To admit knowing nothing, rather than taking the path of amateurs shows that regardless of his affiliation with RT news, he remains a true newsman. Take a lesson Chris. Do your job!

    July 24, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Reply
  9. Lewis Black

    Wow Chris Cuomo clearly lost this debate. He seemed to start out asking a question that he thought would put the RT guy on the spot, but seemed to tap-dance (poorly) throughout the entire rest of the interview. The RT guy clearly had his facts and logic in order but Chris Cuomo just seem like very ill informed and even unprepared to go up against the RT reporter. Maybe the Russian channel actually employs journalist and not TV taking heads.

    July 24, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Reply
  10. Stefan Margraf

    Nice job, Mr Cuomo!
    Lavelle may have said also " Standing here on the Eiffel Tower is no proof for the existence of paris!
    Der Lavelle haette wohl auch gesagt " nur weil wir auf dem Eiffelturm stehen, beweist das noch lange nicht die Existenz von Paris!", wenn man ihn entsprechend bezahlen wuerde.

    July 24, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  11. anna

    TO Melissa B.: Dear Melissa! I was just like you– very emotional and very sure of things i knew. Then i found out what i DIDN'T KNOW. Turn off TV and check out other US citizen's opinions: Paul Greig Roberts, Stephen Lendman, Stephen F. Cohen....Speaking of Peter Lavell- check out his CrossTalk show, especially episode " Russophobia". Did you know that the day of plane crush 150 civilians,not separatist, not terrorist, INNOCENT civilians were bombed by Ukranian army in east Ukraine? Is that comprehensible?...They've been dumbing us down SO persistent but WE,THE PEOPLE stiil have big hearts!

    July 24, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Reply
    • Somewhere

      Can you please go check your facts again. It is quite entertaining how russians turn to US boards to continue spreading lies.

      July 24, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  12. Wanderer

    I guess rudeness is in the eye of the beholder, and as I see it, Mr. Cuomo was rude when he used ad hominem attacks on Mr. Lavelle. He impugned Mr. Lavelle's professionalism, for simply being employed by RT, a state-owned media outlet. I guess one could impugn Robert McNeil and Jim Leher on the McNeil Leher News Hours, when PBS was funded by our government. In those days, I trusted the information from PBS. Now, that PBS is corporate sponsored, it's not much different from CNN or any other corporate media outlet. All of corporate media in the U.S. seem to be using the same talking points and promoting unreliable stories to demonize Russia and President Putin. I found Mr. Cuomo's remarks much more biased than those of Mr. Lavelle. In the meantime, I'm less interested in Mr. Cuomo's line of questioning, the lack of condemnation from Russia regarding the treatment of the site of the downed airliner, than I am about Mr. Lavelle's questions about the U.S. government's use of refuted postings from social media to indict the Rebel's instead of presenting satellite data that either confirms or refutes the satellite data that the Russians have made available.

    July 24, 2014 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • Somewhere

      The US has presented more then enough evidence. The way you talk you share the same opinions as lavelle and are completely brainwashed or uneducated on the matter. Like Cuomo said please stop twisting the facts. Intelligence has been presented and supported by many countries who support a free world. Please get off American websites with uneducated comments that are backed by a single media suppressed dictator state. Additionally in russia or not, putin wins if the seperatists win and that is why he has both the ability to influence the situation and holds responsibility. Additionally it is why he has not stopped a flow of weapons and intelligence. Please educate yourself and stop playing games. America is too good for your BS and you know it.

      July 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  13. Jake

    After watching Mr. Cuomo's interview with Mr. Lavelle one can only wonder why CNN would employ such a poor excuse for what is supposed to be a journalist. Mr Cuomo strikes us as a moron and liar.

    July 24, 2014 at 10:42 am | Reply
    • Reyter

      He did resort to outright lies when talking about how the PM of the Donetsk People's Republic refused to answer his question. You can find the clip on CNN. It's not like it's something no one will know about but he said it anyway. The mainstream media just tells outright lies and doesn't care that people know in the slightest. The PM said merely if he has questions about what goes on in Russia (as the question was) he should ask the Russians, not him.
      I suspect his comment about the rebels openly admitting to being from Russia is also a lie.

      July 25, 2014 at 3:31 am | Reply
  14. Purvika Anand

    This from someone who is not too intelligent about either the US or Russia…

    – The loss of life anywhere is too big to ignore. Irrespective of geographical barriers. RIP all those innocently lost.

    – Since there was a representative from RT, I as audience expected a pov or comment on the queries they agreed to answer or address (by being 'visibly' present in the interview with Chris Cuomo). But we all know what happens these days in the media. Too bad, for expecting something meaningful.

    – 'character assassination'??? Really? From someone working in the reporting world to complain about being character assassinated seems like someone complaining about a shoe bite on air! Also, what was that at 5:28 mr. spokesperson???

    – I realize RT or Peter Lavelle do not really represent Russia. Maybe a better spokesperson next time who could mold a conversation into something useful? I really don't know who to direct this suggestion to... You guys or RT! :/

    – 11 minutes and all I got was questions from this side of the screen. ('_') Kudos to Mr. Cuomo for 11 minutes of patience [emotional.. but patient.]. I'd have given up in the first 5.

    What I learned from this interview: experience beats emotions... And how to answer a question with a question!

    July 24, 2014 at 9:59 am | Reply
  15. warrenkat

    "Why hasn't Vladamir Putin come out and condemned how the crime scene was handled", opened the CNN reporter. Perhaos he didn't know but it was kind of Peter Lavelle to explain that Ukraine is not under the control of Russia.
    Talk about getting emotional. The CNN reporter was calling for calm from Lavelle while he was spewing apologetics. "You know there was reasonable suspicion about what Russia knew", says Mr CNN. I saw that interview too. The same journalist was strident and insulting. This bloke is not interested in facts. He is like much of the US media. Doing US and NATO service. Lavelle flogged him publicly.

    July 24, 2014 at 9:11 am | Reply
  16. Trap12

    Are you so convinced by the Ukraine representations including seeing the soldier pull the triggering mechanism for the targeted rocket that brought down the plane, and the intercepted radio messages intercepted by it?

    I currently accept the Ukraine information but await definitive proof. I am an attorney. I dealt with fact gathering and reporting facts to judges and juries. THEN you spin the facts in favor of your client.

    Join the diplomatic corps or political office if you want to be important in the international babble as to what happened instead of playing poser and masticating news and churning out a soap opera. Seriously, news should be totally disassociated from the play acting, leading questions, unnecessary and tasteless interviews, and alarmist first generated at CNN.

    July 24, 2014 at 9:10 am | Reply
  17. Melissa B.

    Bravo to Chris Cuomo!!! I was appalled to watch Peter Lavalle's inexcusable, rude and obnoxious behavior on yesterday's show. I was even more shocked to discover he is US citizen. The innocent lives lost on MH17 is in comprehensible. May God bless the family, friends & love ones of MH17.

    July 24, 2014 at 8:00 am | Reply

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