Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: Kremlin-Funded TV Host Slams Crimea Invasion

Abby Martin, the host of Kremlin-funded TV channel Russia Today, devoted the end of her show Monday to a fierce denunciation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula.

"Just because I work here, for RT, doesn't mean I don't have editorial independence," she said.

"What Russia did was wrong... And I will not sit here and apologize or defend military aggression.

"Above all, my heart goes out to the Ukrainian people, who are now wedged as pawns in the middle of a global power chess game."

Martin also slammed media coverage of the crisis, saying it was "truly disappointing from all sides of the media spectrum and rife with disinformation."

RT Says Martin to Be Sent to Crimea

The English-language channel is widely seen as the Russian government's voice, and its coverage of recent developments in Ukraine has generally reflected Moscow's position.

Russia Today issued a statement Tuesday saying Martin was free to express her opinion. "Contrary to popular opinion, RT doesn't beat its journalists into submission."

It promised "no reprimands" against Martin, but then noted that she would be sent to Crimea "to give her an opportunity to make up her own mind from the epicentre of the story."

Martin herself told the Telegraph of London: "I am not going to Crimea despite the statement RT has made."

Martin appears to reflect the opinion of most Russians, who overwhelmingly opposed intervention in Ukraine's internal affairs in a February survey, as reported here in a previous post.

Another RT Host Quits

UPDATE: Another RT host, Liz Wahl, announced on air on the network Wednesday that she was quitting because she couldn't any longer be "part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin."

"It actually makes me feel sick that I worked there," she later told The Daily Beast.

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