RT, previously known as Russia Today, has been in the headlines recently for its anchors being outspoken on Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis. Yesterday, anchor Abby Martin closed out her show, Breaking the Set, and denounced Russia’s “military occupation.” Today, another anchor spoke out on the crisis, and RT, and announced her resignation. Liz Wahl announced today that she was resigning following her show’s broadcast because she disagreed with what she called RT’s propaganda. Wahl has described RT as pro-Putin and anti-American. She said that management enforces a pro-Russian viewpoint and that employees learn to self-censor their work.
RT has responded with a statement,
During a live broadcast on Wednesday, RT America presenter Liz Wahl announced she was stepping down, citing her disagreements with the network’s editorial policy. RT issued a statement following her resignation.
Ms. Wahl’s resignation comes on the heels of her colleague Abby Martin’s recent comments in which she voiced her disagreement with certain policies of the Russian government and asserted her editorial independence. The difference is, Ms. Martin spoke in the context of her own talk show, to the viewers who have been tuning in for years to hear her opinions on current events – the opinions that most media did not care about until two days ago. For years, Ms. Martin has been speaking out against US military intervention, only to be ignored by the mainstream news outlets – but with that one comment, branded as an act of defiance, she became an overnight sensation. It is a tempting example to follow.
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.
We wish Liz the best of luck on her chosen path.
Wahl appeared on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 Wednesday night and spoke about her resignation and responded to RT’s statement. Below, courtesy of CNN: