Whoa. Hungarian-American RT anchor quits on air, blasts Putin (video)

BRA-VO.

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.

rt-anchor-quits

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.”

BRA-freaking-VO.

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.


(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • dula

    The new “government” removed Russian as an official language, so perhaps the ethnic Russians do feel threatened since this sort of thing has happened before, with nasty consequences. The Black Sea is more strategic than Latvia and Lithuania so maybe Putin does feel threatened.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Except the EU isn’t the United States. Russia didn’t invade Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the other former Soviet puppet states that, as soon as they got to make their own choices, sought closer ties to their west than their east. Granted, Crimea is a special case because of it’s high percentage of ethnic Russians, but those people are not being oppressed in Ukraine. Then there’s the already extensive Russian military infrastructure within the region that also was not being infringed upon by the agreement with the EU. Russia doesn’t actually feel threatened by this, Putin just feels slighted because he’s wasn’t invited to the party. So he’s just going to crash it. He just can’t stand that nobody wants to kiss his ass. But you’re right, not that our Congress would ever behave any better.

  • dula

    You can’t fathom Russia’s concern with Ukrainian EU membership? Would the US allow Mexico to have a significant economic union with Russia, including security and defense clauses?

  • dula

    So if Mexico engaged in a similar trade agreement with common defense policies with Russia, the US would be fine with that?

  • Bill_Perdue

    Questions about zionist colonists in Palestine will have to be settled by the Palestinian left and by their allies in the ‘Arab Spring’ which now, after the split with Morsi and the Turkish islamists is a leftist and nationalist movement opposed to zionism, the US and colonialism.

    Opposition to Zionist apartheid, mass murder and ethnic cleansing is not anti-Semitic.

    Merkel and Obama want to control the looting of the Ukrainian economy. Everything else is secondary.

  • Anonymous

    That’s what American/Russian propaganda will do to you. Rational arguments need not apply.

  • http://40yrs.blogspot.com Matthew G. Saroff

    Just a note here, she had to know what RT was when she joined up, or she had to be completely deluded.

    My money is on the latter, she is a 911 truther.

    Still I think that the biggest threat to the Ukraine is neocons like Victoria Nuland, ROBERT KAGAN’S WIFE, funding the neo-Nazi far right in the Ukraine because it is convenient.

    I dop not think that there is much appetite in the Ukraine for secession, but every time the Svoboda furthers its agenda, it becomes more likely. (Like the language bill that Gaius mentioned)

  • Olterigo

    I provided the link to the part of the agreement concerning security in response to dula. EU wants to have Ukraine improve control of armament sales, prevent nuclear proliferation, participate in multilateral diplomacy to improve regional stability. What monsters!

  • Olterigo

    Instead of relying on third person opinions, here’s a link to the text of the agreement that was supposed to be signed, the part talking about cooperation in foreign policy and security (http://eeas.europa.eu/ukraine/pdf/3_ua_title_ii_pol_dialogue_reform_pol_assoc_coop_convergence_in_fsp_en.pdf).

    How diabolical of Europe and Ukraine to agree in general terms to cooperate on security. Next you’ll tell me that proliferation and uncontrolled armaments sales is a great idea too.

    But a more specific point is that military cooperation does not mean joining NATO or even letting NATO to station their missiles in your territory. Especially, since NATO is not the same thing as EU, because it is a separate organization, where the big role is played by the US.

  • Olterigo

    Bill, why don’t you show the same amount of concern for anti-Semitism when your friends blame “al-yahud” (definitely not “Izrahil”; and they don’t even hide behind your fig leaf of “Zionist colony”)?

    As to your main point, if you reread my comment it was about Merkel’s opposition to Ukraine joining NATO, not Ukraine acceding to EU.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    I don’t blame them, but the international community has lost interest, and hasn’t made a peep about it since 2008, going so far as to happily hold the Olympics right on the other side of their border, as if to mock them.

  • Michael Allbritton

    The Georgians are sure complaining about it.

  • 2karmanot

    But, but Benghazi!

  • 2karmanot

    Exactly so.

  • 2karmanot

    You maybe right, after all, Ukraine was Russian for centuries, until Khrushchev little gift of independence.

  • 2karmanot

    I tend to agree with Kissinger that Ukraine should not be a part of NATO, but remain neutral like Finland for example. The Crimea could remain a semi autonomous state whose population is strongly allied with Russia. If Ukraine joins the EU it will have to live under the austerity of Germany’s heavy hand of neo liberal economics.

  • 2karmanot

    Maybe too many Russians marry their cousins—that might explain it.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Not just the media and not just Republicans. Hillary Clinton, in her 2003 rabidly pro-war speech repeated all the lies used by Bill Clinton to justify missile attacks and the murder of half a million children during his regime. Then Bush used Bill Clintons material and added some MI6 BS about nukes and invaded.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wyCBF5CsCA

  • Bill_Perdue

    Thanks for the link.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Merkel wants to control the looting of the Ukrainian economy by German banks. “The fight for Ukraine has now become a contest between the Russian president and the German chancellor.”
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/eu-grooms-boxer-vitali-klitschko-to-lead-ukraine-opposition-a-938079.html

    Obama wants to control the looting of the Ukrainian economy by American banks. That’s indisputable. That’s why Obama and Merkel supported a fascist putsch in the Ukraine, an event which has been documented time after time, even in the kept press. From the International Business Times “The most controversial element of the anti-government alliance is Svoboda (Freedom), an extreme right-wing political party that not only has representation in parliament, but has been dubbed by its critics as a neo-Nazi organization. Britain’s Channel 4 News reported that Svoboda has assumed a “leading role” in the street protests in Kiev, with affiliated paramilitary groups prominently involved in the disturbances. … The leader of Svoboda, Oleh Tyahnybok, who has appeared at the Kiev protests, has a long history of making inflammatory anti-Semitic statements, including the accusation during a 2004 speech before parliament that Ukraine is controlled by a “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” Miroshnychenko also called the Ukrainian-born American film actress Mila Kunis a “dirty Jewess.” Svoboda is the fourth largest party in the Ukrainian Rada.

    http://www.ibtimes.com/euromaidan-dark-shadows-far-right-ukraine-protests-1556654

    The Ukraine created by a fascist coup doesn’t have to join NATO but they might be persuaded to be an advanced base with radars or missiles. Below is a graphic from the Voice of America which shows new NATO installations in Poland and Romania. http://www.voanews.com/content/nato_continues_plans_for_missile_defense/920174.html

    The solution is the withdrawal of all US military forces, naval and air fleets, mercenaries and spy agencies to US home bases followed by their total demobilization following the convening of a World Peace Congress and an International War Crimes Tribunal to investigate the Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Obama regimes and others implicated in war crimes like Putin, Al-Assad, the Saudis and the leaders of the zionist colony in Palestine.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    I’m pretty sure looking different is highly discouraged in neo-nazi gangs. :)

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Why not? Russia continues to occupy areas in Georgia, and nobody is complaining about that anymore. The world’s outrage has a shorter shelf life than a carton of milk. Putin is counting on our generalized lack of interest. All he has to do is wait.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    A good part of that is that the EU charter calls for common security and defense policy. It would be difficult to have a significant economic union without also having some kind of mutual security agreement, assuming the intent was for Ukraine to move towards full EU membership. Not all EU members are NATO members.

  • emjayay

    Young, hot, and scored a high paying job in DC being on TV. In NYC, people work for Wall Street for big bucks. No particular moral consideration in either case.

  • FLL

    …I think he’s still hoping that someone, anyone, in Ukraine goes violent so he can then say they started it, and roll in.

    The Reichstag fire comes to mind.

  • Anonymous

    Would be interesting if a Russian quit working for FOX News because it made them sick…I’m sure the day will come when FOX uses foreigners as puppets too.

  • dula

    We could have used her during the lead up to the Iraq War, when US media acted as the propaganda arm of the Republican Party.

  • dula

    Really? Then why did the recent trade agreement with EU, which Yanukovych refused to sign, include clauses that integrated the Ukraine into the military structure of the EU?

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/03/05-1

  • quax

    When it comes to Russia women seem to have the bigger balls if Pussy Riot and this anchor woman is anything to go by.

  • Anonymous

    The low quality pictures are unfortunately all we have sometimes…

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Though, in looking through all the photos of the anti-gay neo-Nazi gangs, I noticed that there are a lot of similarities in Russians. I was finding it difficult to tell some of the guys apart, too many features were similar in a wide number of guys that I was investigating. It would be good to have someone Russian, who we trust, look at the photos.

  • Indigo

    I don’t think so. Obama is not as powerful as you imagine and that whole imaginary scenario about drug lords reads like an overheated fantasy. Chicken soup and bed rest; you’ll feel better in a few days.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That’s what you have Gaius for :) I am not a dove, and I don’t believe in non-intervention. I tend to have a thing for kicking bullies hard both here and abroad :) I’m sorry, I’ve read a lot of the articles on all sides and I just don’t buy the argument that we caused this, and Putin is lily white.

    As for those missiles, why would we negotiate Ukraine’s nukes away only to try to get them back? It would have been easier to just leave them there in the first place. But we didn’t. And I’ve been googling this purported effort to add NATO missile defenses in Ukraine, and one Ukrainian ambassador, to Minsk, made the claim, no one else seems to have any proof of it. And I don’t buy it. And the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry is now denying it. http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/foreign-ministry-not-in-talks-on-possible-deployment-of-missile-defense-in-ukraine-338426.html It sounds like more Russian propaganda, and without further proof, I just don’t buy it. I think Reagan would have loved it, but I don’t buy for a minute that Obama would do it.

    I think Putin is a Soviet in his heart, and the country never got over the Soviet years. And overall, I just don’t believe your argument about what “this” is that the US and Europe supposed did on Russia’s border.

  • Anonymous

    Yep, I think one is probably for real, but the rest look similar…

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I’m not sure why Putin shouldn’t roll into eastern Ukraine. It’s not clear that anyone is going to do anything unless he nukes the place. Short of that, he can apparently have what he wants. It’s not terribly clear to me what possible reason he could have for not taking it. Though, so far, I think he’s still hoping that someone, anyone, in Ukraine goes violent so he can then say they started it, and roll in.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Saw that. Some people thought they all looked different. I’d say the lady on the bottom left looks different, the other 4 look the same.

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    I don’t either. Russia has adopted a belligerent attitude toward more than one of its former territories for years now… and that’s Obama’s fault somehow? I don’t like the guy either but, jeez, what a stupid way of expressing it.

  • Anonymous

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/03/05/article-2574131-1C0F186F00000578-456_634x536.jpg

    Same Russia Today actress poses as 5 different pro-Russian Ukrainian women.

  • AnthonyLook

    Even Russian women are stronger and have more guts than American elected or otherwise Republicans and their tea party birther Putin whoreshippers.

  • Anonymous

    Bill_Perdue has the right idea

  • FLL

    Merkel, and German political parties in general, didn’t want NATO bases in Ukraine. Nicho is just throwing in Merkel in the context of NATO as though he were adding seasoning to a stew to suit his taste. What Merkel did was agree to discuss Ukraine’s possible membership in the European Union, which is a completely different proposition. I suppose Nicho feels that Germany and Western Europe are to blame for the current crisis simply by entertaining the idea of Ukrainian membership in the EU. That, I think, is the gist of Nicho’s comment, not that I really understand that reasoning.

  • JLSR

    Then there’s THIS one:

  • Anonymous

    Excellent. I’m tired of Americans playing fantasy murderball with people’s lives and supporting tyranny. These are people’s lives, not a game of Risk. If you have a friend/family member who has lived in a fascist country, you would never support those conditions. And the politicians here who fund those lunatics…they’re sociopaths. This is absolutely right.

    Is it exaggerated? We don’t know if it’s the whole truth…it’s an anecdote. But there are definitely things happening on the streets of these countries that no one should see. Human rights should not be a luxury.

    What strikes me as really hypocritical is how we Americans will take money from these dictators but we complain about them. At the end of the day, politicians want us to believe that these people are our “enemies,” therefore they don’t deserve things like fair wages or human rights. Why? Because it keeps the price of labor there cheap. Sochi anyone?

  • Olterigo

    My acquaintance’s daughter worked at the RT’s Moscow bureau. Why did she take the job? Because she had a degree in acting, spoke Russian well, and the job was paying well. I don’t know Wahl’s circumstances, but I’m guessing they couldn’t have been too different. That’s the thing, we’re not seeing that many people leaving RT offices even now. Wahl had a very personal connection to the Hungarian uprising of 1956, she just felt she couldn’t stay connected to the defense of the same kind of actions.

  • Olterigo

    At least get your story straight. Merkel has opposed any Ukrainian movement towards NATO for years. Merkel knows that Ukraine moving toward NATO might stop/interrupt the flow of Russian oil and gas to German homes. She doesn’t want that.

  • FLL

    I cannot believe I’m reading both Nicho’s request for more positive posts about Putin and the Guardian article that was posted at 4:17 pm (Eastern Time). I really don’t want to be right about this. I would much prefer to be wrong. I’m posting this comment at 8:00 pm (Eastern Time), and it looks like it’s happening at this moment. This excerpt is from the Guardian article (link here):

    Reports that Russian military vehicles had gathered on Ukraine’s border near Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk have triggered rumours that the Kremlin is preparing to pull another intervention in Ukraine’s eastern regions.

    It looks to all the world as though Putin is preparing to roll tanks into the three eastern provinces of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk. At this point, I’m disregarding other AMERICAblog commenters. John… or anyone… keep posting. If Russian tanks actually do roll into the cities of eastern Ukraine, post even more. Ukraine needs to be part of NATO now. The memory of the mass murders in Bosnia is still too fresh. Please. No mass graves. Not this time around. NATO. Now.

  • nicho

    It would be really refreshing to read some balanced accounts of the Ukraine situation here on America Blog. This constant drum banging about how Putin is the sole bad actor has the site about two millimeters from jumping the shark. The whole crisis was precipitated by Obama, Kerry, Merkel, and the IMF. Their goal was to put Nato missiles on the Russian border.

    Imagine that the Russians had paid for a “revolution” by Mexican drug cartels, overthrown the government of Mexico, got the new cartel government to sign a pact with Russia, allowing Russia to build military bases within sight of Texas. I wonder if we’d be hearing all this hypocritical non-interference bullshit from Obama. The US would have invaded Mexico a week ago.

    The US caused this, and Putin is behaving exactly as the US would if the shoe were on the other foot, although if history is any guide, Putin is showing far more restraint than the US would.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    Was Abby Martin quitting? At the end of her own protest bit she said “Goodnight everyone, I’ll see you back here to break the set tomorrow.” Or was that expected?

  • Thom Allen

    I read the Daily Beast’s article. There’s no explanation of why she began working there or why she stayed. Clearly, had she even watched a few of RT’s clips before starting there, she would have gotten an idea that there was a lot of anti-American and anti-West spin and outright propaganda. Yet she started there, in spite of the fact that her family fled the Soviets (I know it’s Russia Today but that’s just a new name for the same old BS), stayed even though she saw what management did, stayed when her Mali piece got criticized and shelved, stayed even though she’s “proud to be an American.” I’m glad she finally took action nut I’d like to hear her rationale for her above decisions to join RT and stay with them.

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