Lavelle joined Radio Sputnik's Fault Lines on Wednesday to discuss how the US mainstream media often clouds rather than reveals the truth.
"It's complete bewilderment here in Moscow. I remember when [Sergei] Magnitsky died in prison — it flooded the media, people were talking about it, there were investigations, the liberal media was all over, the state media was talking about it," Lavelle told hosts Garland Nixon and Lee Stranahan. "It wasn't like it was hushed up."
"And then we have this ridiculous Russiagate… the US looks like a megalomaniac drunkard on a binge, and it's scary to watch," he continued.
US special counsel Robert Mueller, who has for more than a year been investigating allegations of Russian collusion with US actors to influence the 2016 election, has accused GRU officers and other Russian actors of interfering in election process — but, the Moscow-based 56-year-old American journalist stressed, the ongoing investigation has failed to support its accusations with hard evidence.
"The attitude towards United States has changed remarkably in the 20 years I've lived here and it's not because of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's propaganda… the most effective thing that the Russian media does is that every time [Arizona Republican Senator] John McCain opens his mouth about Russia, they just translate it; there's no commentary," Lavelle told Lee. This stands in contrast to the ubiquitous commentary that forms much of US media, he said.
The most recent charges initiated by the Mueller probe zeroed in on 12 Russian military intelligence officers who allegedly worked to sway the election. The Russian government has repeatedly denied any and all allegations that it interfered in the 2016 election.
Knee-jerk Russophobia isn't confined to the political sphere: it also painted Russia in a negative lighting when it came to traveling to the 2018 World Cup.
Prior to the end of the games in mid-July, Lavelle explained that he'd spoken to several fans to discuss their opinion of the country and the culture. A group of six men he spoke to were shocked by how well they were received in Moscow.
"I felt like I hit a switch. They were all in unison, were saying, ‘They lied to us about this place, this place is really nice, it's not trashy like London. People are nice, everything is in English, you can get around, there's so much free transportation,'" he recalled the group saying, before noting that friends of the group were "furious" that they had decided to not attend the games.
"Some of their friends are just in complete anger that they didn't come, because they were told it would be unsafe and [you] have to bring your own food," Lavelle added.