It’s been a strange week for RT, the state-owned Russian news agency.
On Tuesday, on-air anchor Abbi Martin criticized Russia’s occupation of Crimea. And then on Wednesday, fellow anchor Liz Wahl announced that she was quitting the network in protest.
“As a reporter on this network, I face many ethical and moral challenges,” Wahl said at the end of Wednesday’s 5 p.m. ET broadcast. “Especially me personally, coming from a family whose grandparents ... came here as refugees during the Hungarian revolution — ironically, to escape the Soviet forces.
“That is why personally I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin,” Wahl continued. “I’m proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth, and that is why, after this newscast, I’m resigning.”
Many are praising Wahl’s on-air resignation. But at the same time, it’s fair to question Wahl’s sincerity. RT mocked Wahl’s comments in a statement:
“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.”
After all, didn’t she know she was working for a state-owned news agency from the beginning? And if she objected to the network’s editorial stance why did she continue working there for more than two years?
Wahl addressed such criticism in an interview with the Daily Beast on Wednesday. “When I came on board from the beginning I knew what I was getting into," she said, "but I think I was more cautious and tried to stay as objective as I could.”
However, now she tells the Daily Beast, “It actually makes me feel sick that I worked there. It’s not a sound news organization, not when your agenda is making America look bad.”