"There hasn’t been any significant shift in coverage of Russia under the Biden administration," Cawood said. "The only difference is that Russia has become less of a focal point, and that’s because it’s become less valuable as a political weapon in domestic issues."
US media are painting Russia in a negative light and omitting key facts that would help Americans contextualize the situation in Crimea, he added.
"For example, the American media outlets we analyzed consistently left out facts from their reporting such as the reality that Crimea is home to an ethnic Russian majority, that Crimeans overwhelmingly support reunification, and that what happened in 2014 closely resembles what happened in Kosovo which the United States recognizes," Cawood noted.
Such one-sided media coverage affects everyday Americans' views on Russia, he acknowledged.
"It gives Americans the impression that Moscow is the aggressor, the alpha and omega in creating chaos, and that the United States is fully justified in sanctioning Russia," he said.
However, Cawood added, this does not mean the negative media trend is entirely politically motivated.
The Ru-PAC founder expressed confidence that getting together positive voices on Russia in mainstream US conversations is the only way to change the current situation.
"I believe that starts with organizing and that’s something Ru-PAC is currently doing," he said.
In a recent study, Ru-PAC revealed systematic bias in media coverage of Crimea from 2014 to 2020.
"More than 97 percent of the articles analyzed from CNN and The New York Times used negative framing to describe events. In comparison, The Washington Post used negative framing in only 83 percent of its articles," the report said.
Crimea rejoined Russia on March 16, 2014, after over 95 percent of voters backed the move in a referendum, which followed a violent power change in Ukraine. Two days later, an agreement on Crimea's accession to the Russian Federation was signed. Since 2015, March 18 is an official holiday on the peninsula.
Ru-PAC is an independent, non-profit and non-governmental organization dedicated to developing and strengthening the relationship between the United States and Russia through education, dialogue, and policy recommendations that promote the interests and security of both countries, the organization’s website reads.