Russia has already indicated that it believes the U.S. is involved in the organizing of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests, allegedly wishing to punish China for siding with the Russians on Ukraine. But now a Russian news website claims an alien force might be behind the mass protests in Hong Kong.
The website of Russian federal channel REN-TV published the sensational story and even added a video (tellingly branded with a Sheeple TV logo!), claiming it showed a UFO soaring above the crowds. The evidence, the channel surmised, was incontrovertible.
The RuNet users were equally amused and upset when they discovered the news story, and here is why. At first glance one might think REN-TV is just a marginal conspiracy theory outlet. But in reality it's one of the largest private federal television channels in Russia, with a network of over 400 stations around the country, and a reported audience of 120 million viewers. Understandably, netizens were aghast at the quality of news reporting.
@ponny1 каааак это может быть федеральным каналом???
— Игорь Никонов (@nikonov_igor) October 1, 2014
How can this be a federal (TV) channel???
On the other hand, reasoned some Twitter users, at least the accusations against the West could now be laid to rest.
@tjournalru ну так хоть американцы невиноваты
— Sergey (@fluffyberserk) October 1, 2014
Well, at least it's not the Americans’ fault.
Yet others remembered an earlier REN-TV masterpiece that claimed the U.S. itself was run by extra-terrestrial beings, and wondered if it was all one grand conspiracy.
— Anisim (@anisim) October 1, 2014
Must be those alien Nazis.
If a popular Russian TV channel with millions of viewers reports on foreign affairs and major pro-democracy protests at such an odd angle, and does so online, it begs the question: how necessary is it really to worry about a kill switch for the Russian web? Flooding RuNet with fakes and conspiracy theories, it seems, might do the job of clogging up the free flow of credible information just as well.