RT presenter Liz Wahl quit live on air today in the network’s D.C. bureau. In an emotional segment, she told viewers about her Hungarian refugee grandparents who fled Soviet oppression, and stated that she could no longer be a part of a network funded by the Russian government that “whitewashes the actions of Putin”.
Here was her statement:
“Last night RT made 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 many ethical and moral challenges. 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.”
Here’s the video:
Update: RT has released a harsh statement about Wahl’s on-air 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.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.