WASHINGTON, D.C. – Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura is reinventing himself once again, this time as the star of “The World According to Jesse” according to a news release from RT America, a Washington D.C. based branch of Russian state television.
“The World According to Jesse” will tackle both the current news agenda and deeper issues such as government hypocrisy and corporate deception, with Jesse’s distinctive take on stories sidelined by the mainstream media. Ventura will apply his uncensored, bold and bare-knuckled approach to thought-provoking interviews and on-the-ground reporting alike,” states a press release from RT America.
Ventura, who was the 38th governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003, served as a Navy SEAL during the Vietnam War but is most famous for his career as a flamboyant professional wrestler. Ventura used his wrestling popularity to enter into politics in 1991, first becoming Mayor of Brooklyn Park until 1995, which eventually propelled him into the Minnesota governor’s mansion in 1999. After leaving the governor’s office, Ventura starred in MSNBC’s short-lived weekly television show, “Jesse Ventura’s America” in October 2003, but it was cancelled after a few months. He also was host of TruTV’s “Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura” in 2009. The series ran until 2013. Ventura is also the author of several books, including one advocating for the legalization of marijuana called, “Jesse Ventura’s Marijuana Manifesto.”
Perhaps the most recent headline for the former Minnesota governor occurred in 2016 when the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a $1.8 million judgment Ventura was awarded by claiming that he was defamed in the late Navy Seal Chris Kyle’s best-selling book, “American Sniper.” In a chapter of the book, which later became a movie, Kyle claimed to have punched a man at a fallen SEAL’s funeral in a California bar in 2006. Kyle, without calling Ventura by name in the book, referred to a man called “Scruff Face” who made offensive comments about the Navy SEALS. Later on, Kyle identified “Scruff Face” as Ventura. Ventura denied he made the comments, said the scuffle between him and Kyle never occurred and his reputation was ruined in the SEAL community. Ventura eventually sued Kyle’s estate and was awarded nearly $2 Million, however, the federal court reversed the judgment award, claiming it failed as a matter of law.
In a statement about his new show for RT America, Ventura said, “What you will hear from me is opinions, not agendas. I look forward to holding our government accountable. I will be exercising my First Amendment rights with no filters.”
In a promotional video for his new show, Ventura is featured riding down a deserted mountainous highway atop a motorcycle, with his echoing deep voice-over telling viewers, “Everyone in the world should experience freedom, and you get it on the open road. The World According to Jesse. Welcome to my world. Come along for the ride.”
RT America’s website says the network “creates news with an edge for viewers who want to ‘Question More’ and covers stories overlooked by the mainstream media, providing alternative perspectives on current affairs, and acquainting international audiences with a Russian viewpoint on major global events.”
The Washington Post reports RT, which was formerly known as Russia Today, is funded by the Russian government, and says “critics call RT a propaganda tool with poor journalism standards.”
In addition to employing Ventura, RT America is the home to former CNN talk show host Larry King whose new show is called “Larry King Now.” The network also hired Detroit Lakes, Minnesota resident and former MSNBC personality Ed Schultz to host an eponymous show, “News with Ed Schultz”.
According to the RT website, “The World According to Jesse” will air on Friday nights with repeats on the weekend and is carried on Comcast Cable in the Chicago and Midwest region.