Moscow’s broadcast man in Miami spews right-wing conspiratorial news content

A screenshot of Ben Swann’s January 2017 report on Pizzagate that got him suspended from an Atlanta television station. He was fired one year later.

By Francisco Alvarado,

Ben Swann is one of the “journalists” who gave America “Pizzagate” – the ludicrous conspiracy theory spread during the 2016 presidential campaign that claimed Democrats were using a Washington, D.C. pizzeria to hold Satanic rituals and sexually abuse children.

Today, just in time for the 2024 elections, Swann is again peddling right-wing conspiracy theories. This time out of offices in Miami.

Over a six-month span beginning last September, his Miami-based Truth In Media LLC published a 10-part series amplifying right-wing conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol. Each episode, done in a television news magazine format a la 60 Minutes and PBS NewsHour, aired on Truth In Media’s website, as well as social media platforms such as X, formerly Twitter.

The slick production was the inaugural “investigative” report for Truth In Media, whose founder was fired in 2018 as the evening anchor of an Atlanta television news station for promoting right-wing conspiracies on-air. As Swann ramped up Truth In Media, federal records show he registered his other Miami company, Rebel Media Productions LLC, which lists a primary business address of 66 W. Flagler St., as a foreign agent for Russia’s state-owned TV Novosti.

Ben Swann

Doing the Kremlin’s bidding has been lucrative for Swann. Paperwork he’s filed with the Justice Department in 2022-23 under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) states that Rebel Media has raked in $6.2 million producing content for TV Novosti. He claims that video is only broadcast in India, China and South America.


Swann, 45, also disclosed that TV Novosti is paying him $420,000 a year for part-time work providing “oversight of video production for shows 360 View, Cost of Everything, The M.O. and The Whistleblowers.”

But Swann’s failure to inform his audience about his financial relationship with America’s aggressive nuclear-armed adversary, as well as questions about how he’s funding Truth In Media, indicates he’s no mere right-wing provocateur, but rather a discreet foreign state propagandist.

Swann, who has residences in Miami and Atlanta, did not respond to multiple phone messages seeking comment.

University of Florida law professor Mark Fenster

“I don’t know if we can say the Russians are buying him off,” said Mark Fenster, a University of Florida law professor who has written papers on conspiracy theories. “It would be useful if [Swann] would note on his website how he is receiving financial support because the stuff he’s doing is of a high production value. But there is a good reason for those who don’t like Russia and are skeptical about Russian influence to be worried about his website and what he is doing.”


Between 2013 and 2015, Swann worked for Russia Today, or RT, regularly delivering dubious on-air reports, including parroting the Kremlin’s line denying responsibility for the July 2014 shoot down of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet over eastern Ukraine during the war in Donbas. All 298 persons on board were killed. In November 2022, a Dutch court concluded the jet was shot down by a Russian surface-to-air missile and that Russia was in control of the separatist forces that fired the missile.

Around the same time he worked for RT, Swann launched an early version of his Truth In Media website that he used to espouse divisive right-wing conspiracy theories.

Swann continued posting on Truth In Media during his three-year gig with an Atlanta CBS affiliate, where he parlayed his mainstream platform to further push far-right falsehoods and repost his news segments on his website. In one of his reports, which aired in 2017, Swann gave credence to the fabricated scandal “Pizzagate.”

That report got Swann suspended. The tv station fired him one year later when he again attempted to air segments soaked in conspiratorial content. Four years later, Swann was back on Russia’s payroll. 

ben swann
Ben Swann’s Linked In page

He formed Rebel Media in March of 2022, Florida incorporation records show. In FARA filings, Swann listed Rebel Media’s address in a ninth-floor suite in an office building at 66 West Flagler Street in downtown Miami. However, a security guard informed a Florida Bulldog reporter during a recent visit that no such company is a tenant in the building. Rebel Media is also not listed in the building’s directory.

Between May and July of that year, TV Novosti, the non-profit Russian company that owns RT, made two payments to Rebel Media totaling $609,792 “to pay employees laid off by RT America,” Rebel Media’s Aug. 5, 2022, FARA registration statement shows.


The filing also states TV Novosti entered into an agreement with Rebel Media to provide video production services for four television programs, including a 50-episode show about the “U.S. and NATO continuing to spread war around the world.”

“I believe that TV Novosti [is an] autonomous non-profit organization [that] does receive funding in part from the Russian Federation,” Swann wrote in the registration statement. “Rebel Media does not broadcast nor disseminate the content, rather we are simply the production house for the content. Again, this content is not for broadcast or dissemination in the United States.”

ben swann
Anna Massoglia

The Russian government is known for recruiting disinformation firebrands with journalistic pedigrees like Swann, said Anna Massoglia, editorial and investigations manager at OpenSecrets, a Washington D.C.-based transparency watchdog group.

“Swann has made millions of dollars to produce very divisive propaganda targeted to right wing audiences,” Massoglia told Florida Bulldog. “There is a level of quality in finding someone who is or was a news reporter to be a mouthpiece for Russian propaganda.”

Parallel to his work for TV Novosti, Swann is attempting to create an alternative media network to sow discord in the U.S., Massoglia said. “It’s something we’ve seen Russian propagandists doing in recent years,” she said. “They target alternative or niche audiences with content that intends to pit groups against each other.”


Swann has continued posting conspiracy theory content on Truth In Media, which prominently features the 10-part Jan 6 series. The company is headquartered in an unmarked suite of a converted warehouse in Westchester, a small suburb in western Miami-Dade County. While the Truth In Media website doesn’t have any advertisers or a pay subscription model, the company appears to be doing well financially.

In June, Truth In Media paid $1.8 million for a two-bedroom condo on the 37th floor of The Elser Hotel and Residences in downtown Miami, property records show.

Swann is also CEO of Sovren Media, a social media platform launched in 2021 that aims to become a “space for millions of free-thinking individuals to engage in meaningful dialogue and self-expression without fear of censorship,” according to the company’s website.

Sovren’s website features an online program anchored by South Florida TV and radio journalist Rick Sanchez behind a news desk alongside videos banned on YouTube, Facebook and other social media, including a 2019 clip produced by Swann titled, “Reality Check: If Haiti Is a “S***hole” Country, Who Is Really to Blame?”

Swann’s online media business ventures are part of a pervasive trend of so-called news sites that are based on bogus conspiracy theories, University of Florida’s Fenster said. “It is a lot cheaper to produce professional looking media like [Swann] does,” he said. “It is much easier to recruit and retain an audience.”

Fenster said Swann’s problem is that he keeps his audience in the dark about who is really bankrolling start-ups like Swann’s Truth In Media and Sovren Media companies. “Entities with money using their power to influence the news is always a concern of a free-market media economy,” Fenster said. “The best we can ask for is that there is full disclosure about where the money comes from.”

OpenSecrets’ Massoglia said it’s also hard to distinguish if the content Swann produces is part of Russian propaganda or is genuinely his own work. “He may have other clients and other interests,” Massoglia said. “There is always plausible deniability and he could say [Truth In Media] is unrelated to the work for Russia.”

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Latest comments

  • Right wingers are going to destroy this country if its the last thing these maggots do.

  • “divisive”? Meaning they are true or not? You only give one example. This article gives more inuendo that evidence of its allegation.

  • Yeah…right, Jorge! Just like Biden has been doing by letting all these scumbag illegal aliens enter the United States! THAT will destroy the country! Ever notice that there are NO refugee groups trying to sneak into RUSSIA? And do you know WHY? It’s because Russia would DEPORT them to SIBERIA! Or maybe just execute or imprison them as spies! LONG LIVE DONALD TRUMP’, our next President!!!

  • I have always liked the Florida Bulldog. This article does not meet your usually high standards. I like to see even handed reporting of facts instead of Russia scaremongering and inflammatory words like, ludicrous conspiracy theory, spews, slick, divisive propaganda, etc. I have donated to the Florida Bulldog in the past. With material like this I am unlikely to do so again. You should give Swann the opportunity to respond.

  • Please read the story more carefully, Mr. Citro. You missed this: “Swann, who has residences in Miami and Atlanta, did not respond to multiple phone messages seeking comment.”

  • The documentation is more than adequate to make their point, especially after seeing Tuckered-out Carlson’s “interview” with Putin and his wine and cheese shopping spree in Moscow.

  • Notwithstanding the other points in the article, there was a kernel of truth in the Pizzagate conspiracy theory; namely, there were parties hosted at that venue that were attended by many gay men, some DNC/DCCC and other Democratic party types, and at least some underage gay teens. These teens and the nature of the party may have been the genesis of the conspiracy theory.

    Support your nonsensical claims with actual proof. or it didn’t happen.

  • Fuck Edward Crespo

  • Hey Bill, enjoying the snow today?

    What are you talking about John, it’s sunny and 90!

    Bill, dude, are you on drugs?! Got my parka and boots on!

    Not me John, but your psychedelics must be really good!

    Wait – Bill, are you at your Miami vacation home?

    Yeah John, where’d you think I was? In Minnesota like you?

    Damn Bill, if only I had that missing bit of context, then everything would make sense!

    Context folks. Context.

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