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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

RT Anchor/Reporter Quits on Air--Now RT Responds--See Updates

Thursday:  Lengthy, and angry, response posted at RT.com by the network's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan.  After hitting U.S. media reaction, it concludes:
I can see very clearly why I continue to work for a channel that stands alone (!) face-to-face with thousands and tens of thousands of Western news outlets, showing everybody the other side of the story, under daily attacks from the media against which it can hardly fight back. It’s my country. There is no other choice for me. But the foreign journalists who work for RT across the globe do have a choice. Some of them might be asking themselves, “Why would I have to defend Russia at the expense of my career, my future, my reputation, why would I tolerate humiliation by my fellow journalists?” Few can say “Because I’m telling the truth, and there’s no one else to tell it.” Some will fail to find the answer and quietly resign. Others will perform their resignation on air in a self-promotional stunt, perhaps securing fantastic career prospects they wouldn’t have dreamt of before.
By the way, CNN now covering the leaked phone call mentioned in the post.

Wednesday:  No, it's not Abby Martin, but still... anchor/reporter Liz Wahl speaks out (see video below), says she can't work for TV network that "whitewashes the actions of Putin."   Tuesday night she had tweeted,  "Just spoke to grandparents who came to US as refugees escaping Soviets during Hungarian revolution. Amazing to hear amid new Cold War fears."  It should be noted that she had to know where the RT funding was coming from all this time.   

UPDATE:  Wahl, interviewed by the Daily Beast, claims she's been "disgusted" by what she's had to report--while trying to stay "objective" she's often been overruled by superiors. “It actually makes me feel sick that I worked there,” Wahl says. “It’s not a sound news organization, not when your agenda is making America look bad.”

UPDATE #2  Wahl on Anderson Cooper show tonight talks more about pressure from management--and today she had part of her interview with Ron Paul cut.  She says as a reporter you need to "seek the truth" but RT "not out for the truth" (though she knew that when she signed on) and merely "Putinist."  Says management makes sure their message "is delivered."  Asked how RT will respond, she says she hasn't seen an "official response" but says RT tweeted that she was out for personal gain.  Note:  the "other" RT anchor who protests, Abby Martin, will be on Piers Morgan show tonight.

UPDATE #3  RT responds to Wahl on Anderson Cooper show, just posted on his site.  Excerpt: "When a journalist disagrees with the editorial position of his or her organization, the usual course of action is to address those grievances with the editor, and, if they cannot be resolved, to quit like a professional. But when someone makes a big  public show of a personal decision, it is nothing more than a self-promotional stunt."   Wahl then comes on Piers Morgan and accuses RT of presenting "Putinist propaganda."  Piers asks the question why she went to work for RT to begin with.  She replies, "That's a very good question." No kidding.  She says she didn't think there would be that much "propaganda" and "pressure." Asked if she thinks Abby Martin should quit, she demures, saying she is allowed to speak out--because her "line" in her show is one they like.

Now Abby Martin on Piers and she says she backs whatever Wahl does but she is not tempted to quit.  Claims she has full "independence"--and accuses all of the TV networks in the U.S. of being equally compliant with U.S. policy.  "Corporate media" in U.S. no different than government-funded network, she claims.  Piers pushes back a bit.  She has a point, to be sure, but apparently did not watch MSNBC in the final years of the Bush reign or Fox News every night of Obama's two terms.  Let's see even a sliver of Putin criticism on RT (before this week).  The better point is how the American networks have gone along with so many U.S. official  lies and nonsense--when, unlike RT, they didn't have to.


Anonymous said...

Anyone who ever watched RT before the Ukrainian crisis saw a poorly produced, garish-looking yackfest that had little connection to news or reality.

Kind of like watching Fox News, but on Putin's dime, not Rupert's.

At least now Americans will know the background of the channel with the hot lime logo before they move on after 4 seconds.

Laurence Glavin said...

Her boss was quoted as saying "You picked a fine time to leave me, Liz Wahl".