• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Russia Today Anchor Quits On Air Over Ukraine Coverage

Russia_Today_Logo

An anchor for the American version of the Kremlin-backed network Russia Today, or RT as it is apparently now called, quit her job on the air yesterday over the network’s coverage of Russia’s actions in Ukraine:

American journalist Liz Wahl just made Vladimir Putin’s enemies list.

Wahl, an American anchor for RT-America, a cable news network funded by the Russian government, stunned viewers Wednesday, when, at the end of her 5 PM broadcast, she announced her resignation from the channel.

The announcement was stunning. But Wahl’s decision to quit the network was a long time coming. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, she says that, “When I came on board from the beginning I knew what I was getting into, but I think I was more cautious and tried to stay as objective as I could.” Yet repeated attempts by her superiors at the network to censor her work and distort the truth ultimately convinced Wahl that, to keep her integrity intact, she would have to depart.

“As a reporter on this network I face many ethical and moral challenges especially me personally coming from a family whose grandparents came here as refugees during the Hungarian revolution, ironically to escape the Soviet forces,” she said, immediately following a report claiming that the new Ukrainian government, which ousted pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, is composed mainly of fascists and neo-Nazis. “I’m very lucky to have grown up here in the United States. I’m the daughter of a veteran. My partner is a physician at a military base where he sees every day the first-hand accounts of the ultimate prices that people pay for this country. And that is why personally I cannot be part of a network that whitewashes the actions of Putin. I am proud to be an America and believe in disseminating the truth and that is why after this newscast I’m resigning.”

Wahl then stared resolutely at the camera for a full five seconds before the network cut to a commercial break.

Wahl’s announcement comes on the heels of another on-air act of straying-off-the-Kremlin-script. On Monday, RT host Abby Martin ended her program “Break the Set” by denouncing Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. RT management said that they would send Martin to the Ukrainian region of Crimea currently occupied by Russian troops, an offer which she refused. Yet while Martin was praised in many quarters for her independence, she remains an employee of the network, and there are no indications that she has been punished.

Here’s the video of Wahl’s statement:

I suppose the only question I have is what, exactly, did Wahl expect when she took this job? She claims that she went into the position with full knowledge of the network’s connections to the Russian government so, surely she cannot have been too shocked when the network’s coverage of military actions by that government were decidedly pro-Russian.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    Yeah…she should have known….at the same time I wish our journalists and pundits had the balls this woman has.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  2. rudderpedals says:

    A very dramatic exit. Good viewing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. mantis says:

    Rightwingers have been linking approvingly to RT’s pieces for years when they are critical of Obama. They do love their state propaganda. Of course, a lot of then simultaneously deride most American media as “state-run” without a hint of irony.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  4. Jeremy R says:

    @mantis:

    Greenwald has also been a frequent guest of the network over the years. Come to think of it, they also set Assange up with his own show at one point: “The Julian Assange Show”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. Pinky says:

    American intellectuals love foreign news outlets. I don’t recall RT starting out as a propaganda machine, but I’ve increasingly heard stories along those lines.

    Good for her.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  6. rudderpedals says:

    Jeremy R reminded me of the Snowden thing. I wonder if the fallout from the document dump had anything to do with the apparent inability to foresee the invasion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. mantis says:

    @Pinky:

    American intellectuals love foreign news outlets.

    Citation needed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  8. Andre Kenji says:

    I suppose the only question I have is what, exactly, did Wahl expect when she took this job? She claims that she went into the position with full knowledge of the network’s connections to the Russian government so

    Several governments have these international news outlets(The BBC World Service and Voice of America, for instance). Their purpose is soft power, not propaganda.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  9. Pinky says:

    @mantis: Kidding, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  10. ernieyeball says:

    @Pinky: It ought to be easy. Just name the American intellectuals and name the foreign news outlets they love.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Pinky:

    Shouldnt’ be too hard to show some sort of evidence this true, if it is so obvious that he must be joking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. mantis says:

    @Pinky:

    Kidding, right?

    No, I’m not. Is this one of those “truths” that everyone who watches FOX News knows but the rest of us are left wondering what the hell you’re talking about?

    I’m also curious why you don’t seem to understand the difference between state-run media and independent media, but baby steps. Please explain how you define “American intellectual,” why you think they “love foreign news outlets,” and which outlets you think they love.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2