RT (aka Russia Today, a Kremlin cable-news propaganda network broadcast on American television) anchor Liz Wahl just quit the network, while on the air, blasting Russian President Putin and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Wahl was a member of RT’s “America” coverage, in English, that isn’t broadcast in Russia. She was based out of the company’s DC bureau.
Wahl announced that she was the granddaughter of Hungarian refugees who fled the Soviet over half a century ago, and that thus she couldn’t continue working for a network funded by the Russian government, and one that “whitewashes the actions of Putin.”
Then she told the Daily Beast just moments ago, “It actually makes me feel sick that I worked there.”
Wahl’s resignation comes on the heels of another RT anchor, Abby Martin, criticizing the Russian occupation of Crimea just yesterday.
Here is what Wahl had to say, video below:
Last night, RT made international headlines when one of our anchors went on the record and said Russian intervention in Crimea is wrong.
And indeed, as a reporter on this network I face as many moral and ethical challenges, especially me personally, coming from a family whose grandparents, my grandparents came here as refugees during the Hungarian revolution, ironically to escape the Soviet forces.
I have family on the opposite side, on my mother’s side, that sees the daily grind of poverty, and 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 funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin.
I’m proud to be an American, and believe in disseminating the truth, and that is why, after this newscast, I’m resigning.
UPDATE: The Daily Beast has a great interview with Wahl, where she goes into far more detail about how RT works on the inside:
Wahl recalls a story she attempted to report about last year’s French intervention in Mali, aimed at repelling an al-Qaeda takeover of the country. She interviewed a Malian msn who “talked about what it was like to live under sharia law, people getting limbs amputated… And I thought it was probably one of the best interviews that I’ve ever done. I was touched by what he said as a first hand source, but he also talked about how the French were well-received there and how they were waving French flags and how they should have come sooner, how grateful a large part of the population was, having seen people being literally tortured and having their limbs cut off.”
That story, however, didn’t fit the RT narrative, which portrays every Western military intervention as an act of imperialism while depicting Russian ones as mere humanitarian attempts at “protecting” local populations, as the network constantly describes Moscow’s role in Crimea. Needless to say, Wahl’s interview with the thankful Malian never aired. “I was told after that it was a ‘weak’ interview,” Wahl said….
Having worked on the inside, Wahl understands perfectly RT’s marketing strategy, which is to appeal to a young, Western demographic cynical about mainstream media outlets and traditional political authority. “I think some of them are kind of like this hipster generation, they just kind of think it’s cool to question authority,” she says. But what the network’s many young viewers don’t understand, or refuse to understand, is that the channel’s message emanates from the most authoritarian of sources: the Kremlin. “I don’t think it’s a service to anybody to push a narrative that’s not true or actively twist the truth.”
“It actually makes me feel sick that I worked there,” Wahl says.
As I’ve written before, I’m not a big fan of any American, or any real journalist, working for the anti-American propaganda organ of a dictator. But damn, if you gotta quit, this is the way to go.
Love this, love her. Liz Wahl’s grandparents would be proud.