The Russians tried to ship renegade RT (aka Russia Today) television host Abby Martin off to Crimea yesterday, after Martin let loose with an on-air blistering attack on the Russian invasion and occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula.
RT, which serves as a quite anti-American mouthpiece of the Kremlin, told the UK’s Channel 4 that Martin was “mislead by American mainstream media” (so Martin doesn’t even watch her own network?), and that they would help her learn the truth by shipping off to the war zone on the outskirts of Russia.
In a sign of a potential fissure between Martin and her Putin-serving bosses, Martin told Buzzfeed that, despite RT’s claims to the contrary, she had no intention of going to Crimea, as she didn’t want a “vetted PR experience.”
Martin added, to the Telegraph, “I am not going to Crimea despite the statement RT has made.”
Martin seemed undaunted yesterday, repeating her criticism of Russia’s military intervention to Buzzfeed, telling the publication that Russia’s “pretext to use military force to protect an ethnic people in a different land” was “bizarre.”
In her previous on-air segment, which was aired on RT’s American propaganda channel, Martin noted:
“Just because I work here at RT, doesn’t mean I don’t have editorial independence. And I can’t stress enough how strongly I am against any state intervention in a sovereign nation’s affairs. What Russia did was wrong…. I will not sit here and apologize or defend military action.”
Martin’s off-message broadside somehow got left off of Russia Today’s official YouTube channel.
Glenn Greenwald praised Martin as an example of what more US media should do. Glenn provided some cases of American media figures who, after they were critical of US wars, either lost their jobs or were demoted. The thing is, those American reporters and/or anchors made their criticism of US policy in English on American television, while Martin made her criticism of Russian policy in a language most Russians don’t speak, and on a TV network broadcast in America, but not in Russia.
While Martin’s Kremlin overlords can’t be thrilled with her anti-war freelancing, they’re a lot more forgiving when it happens outside of the Russian public eye. Take Russia’s response to a TV show host who came out on the air last year – he was immediately fired.
Yet Russia Today had no problem having an openly gay “culture” correspondent last year. The correspondent, who was British, even tweeted me a few times, claiming that he had even come out on the air with no repercussions. When I asked him if he had come out in Russian during a broadcast aired in Russia, rather than in English in an American broadcast, of RT, he demurred.
I’m not going to defend any punishment that American networks gave correspondents or hosts who were critical of any particular American military venture. But I think it’s a seriously flawed false-equivalence to suggest that the independent American media comes anywhere close to RT in terms of its rah-rah propaganda ethos. The only American network that comes even close to RT in its obsequiousness to its political overlords is Fox News. And no one in their right mind considers Fox real journalism anyway.
I like Glenn, he does good work, but on this one, we’re going to disagree. I have about as much respect for Abby Martin, an American working for a Kremlin propaganda outfit, as I do gay reporters who write for the Washington Times, the Moonie-founded ultra-right-wing gay-hating “paper” here in DC. It’s nice if a rare employee speaks out, but if they had any actual scruples they wouldn’t be working for these outfits in the first place.
Below is Martin’s full on-air criticism of her Russian bosses. And by the way, she’s a full-blown 9/11-truther as well.