American Anchor of Kremlin-backed Russia Today Unrepentant After Lashing Out at Russian Intervention

American Anchor of Kremlin-backed Russia Today

Martin keeps her job after criticism, promotes RT as delivering an alternative take on news

Has the Crimea conflict found its first media heroine, and in the process boosted the ratings of Russia Today, the Kremlin-funded international news channel?

In an outburst of journalistic independence Tuesday, Abby Martin, the American anchor of Russia Today made an impassioned attack on Russian intervention in the Ukraine Tuesday.

One day later, she reappeared on Wednesday to present the Breaking the Set slot, saying that she stood by what she had said, but, in a promo for her own and RT’s independence, had not lost her job.

“Before we wrap up the show I wanted to say something from my heart about the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s military occupation of Crimea,” Martin said at the end of a Tuesday’s Breaking the Set slot.

“Just because I work here, for 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 nations affairs. What Russia did is wrong,” she continued, before admitting she didn’t know as much as she should about Ukraine’s history or the cultural dynamics of the regions

“What I do know is that military intervention is never the answer and I will not sit here and apologize or defend military aggression. Furthermore, the coverage I have seen of Ukraine has been truly disappointing from all sides of the media spectrum and rife with disinformation,” Martin finished, walking off set.

To date, RT has reportedly towed the Kremlin line, calling the Russian troops in the Crimea “self-defense troops.” Martin’s righteous stand prompted an official response from RT.

“Contrary to the popular opinion, RT doesn’t beat its journalists into submission, and they are free to express their own opinions, not just in private but on the air. This is the case with Abby’s commentary on the Ukraine,” the statement read.

“We respect her views, and the views of all our journalists, presenters and program hosts, and there will be absolutely no reprimands made against Ms Martin.

“In her comment, Ms Martin also noted that she does not possess a deep knowledge of reality of the situation in Crimea. As such we’ll be sending her to Crimea to give her an opportunity to make up her own mind from the epicenter of the story.”

Martin refused via Twitter to accept a Crimea posting. By Wednesday RT and Martin appeared to have a mid-ground which could play to both Martin and RT’s advantage.

Yesterday, I made a personal and heartfelt statement about Ukraine that made some wavesacross the mainstream media to say the least. Here’s the problem now: I speak out about military intervention every singleday on the show, and I have been speaking out about U.S. involvement since the beginning and nne of those comments have made waves in the mainstream.,” Martin said.

“So I guess it’s a kind of sad commentary that my only criticism of Russia’s actions would get picked up when it fits the proper narrative.  She pointed out that U.S. journalists – Phil Donahue, Peter Arnett at NBC – had been fired for going off script in their opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. “RT was created to promote a Russian perspective of world events and clearly my personal statement goes completely out of line with our editorial line. But I do stand by everything I said.” And no, she had not lost her job, she added.

Neatly then, Martin has helped RT’s wishful repositioning, away from an Kremlin mouthpiece, to a channel which delivers an alternative take on nesws, different to incumbent news sources in the U.S. and indeed the U.K. Al Jazeera took that line, RT has gained popularity following suit.

Unfortunately, such interpretations do not make for strong news narrative. Martin’s time in the mainstream limelight may now be limited.

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  1. Foreign military intervention has not worked out well. It is used as a propagandist reason to extend the power of empires. Here is a partial list of problematic interventions by the U.S. 2.1 Communist states 1944–89 (Seperate Section).
    2.2 Syria 1949
    2.3 Iran 1953
    2.4 Guatemala 1954
    2.5 Tibet 1955–70s
    2.6 Indonesia 1958
    2.7 Cuba 1959
    2.8 Democratic Republic of the Congo 1960–65
    2.9 Iraq 1960–63
    2.10 Dominican Republic 1961
    2.11 South Vietnam 1963
    2.12 Brazil 1964
    2.13 Ghana 1966
    2.14 Chile 1970–73
    2.15 Argentina 1976
    2.16 Afghanistan 1979–89
    2.17 Turkey 1980
    2.18 Poland 1980–81
    2.19 Nicaragua 1981–90
    2.19.1 Destablization through CIA assets
    2.19.2 Arming the Contras
    2.20 Cambodia 1980–95
    2.21 Angola 1980s
    2.22 Philippines 1986
    3 Since the end of the Cold War
    3.1 Iraq 1992–96
    3.2 Afghanistan 2001
    3.3 Venezuela 2002
    3.4 Iraq 2002–03
    3.5 Haiti 2004
    3.6 Gaza Strip 2006–present
    3.7 Somalia 2006–07
    3.8 Iran 2005–present
    3.9 Libya 2011
    3.10 Syria 2012–present

    • johntshea says:

      Except the USA is not an empire, anything worth doing is problematic, and most of the interventions you list contributed to the eventual victory over Communism and the end of the Cold War.

      You also omit important US interventions such as World War 2, the Korean War, the 1991 Gulf War, President Clinton’s intervention in Bosnia and his bombing the hell out of Serbia in 1999, all highly problematic but also all highly successful.

  2. johntshea says:

    As a journalist, Abby Martin should not be surprised that only her disagreement with the Moscow party line has ‘made waves in the mainstream,’ Her toeing the Moscow party line is of little interest to any thinking viewer. It seems she now intends to revert to being a tool of Moscow, and so Variety is probably right in predicting that her ‘time in the mainstream light may now be limited.’

    Martin omits mentioning that firing a couple of journalists did nothing to mute loud and widespread criticism of the Iraq invasion in the US media, and that there was simply no ‘script’ that the US government could impose on that media, none of which was or is funded by the US government.

    As for Martin being ‘against any state intervention in a sovereign nation’s affairs’ it’s a pity other states did not intervene, or intervene earlier, in the affairs of sovereign nations like Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, not to mention several African nations more recently.

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