After anchor resigns on-air, RT's EIC says 'Standing out from the crowd is hard'

RT | The New York Times | Pressing Issues

Liz Wahl resigned from the Russian state-funded network RT on-air Wednesday. "I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin," she said. "That is why after this newscast I am resigning."

RT has put the video of Wahl's farewell on YouTube:

"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," the copy below RT's video says. "But when someone makes a big public show of a personal decision, it is nothing more than a self-promotional stunt."

"These days it takes a lot of courage to work for RT," network Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan writes.

A couple of minutes after Liz made her statement, we found all the major news media in the world - as our exhausted spokeswoman put it, “CNN, NYT, pretty much everyone” – glowing with schadenfreude, as they lined up for official feedback from RT. ...

Standing out from the crowd is hard, sometimes unbearable. I wish the best of luck to those who can’t take it.

Russian television coverage about Ukraine is "a mixture of legitimate perspectives, half-truths and outright propaganda," Ellen Barry and Ravi Somaiya write in The New York Times.

“If you watch some of the shows that go on during the day, it’s harkening back to the heroic deeds of the Soviet Army, liberating the Crimea and Sevastopol,” said Vladimir V. Pozner, host of a political talk show on Channel One. “You begin to be very antsy — is this the buildup to something else? Is this not preparing the population for what ultimately will be the use of force?”

He added that he believed that American and European television channels were also selective in their depiction of the crisis. “There’s a kind of new Cold War going on,” he said.

RT's Abby Martin got a lot of attention for saying Russia was "wrong" to move into Crimea; New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan writes the Times had legitimate reasons to note that Martin is a 9/11 Truther. "It would have better to do so in the context of an overall profile of Ms. Martin; it also would have been better to do so without such disparaging language as 'animating obsession,'" Sullivan writes. But the item "deepened my knowledge about a public figure I had a new and immediate interest in."

Martin accused "all of the TV networks in the U.S. of being equally compliant with U.S. policy" on Piers Morgan's show, Greg Mitchell writes.

"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.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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