Head of Russian-Funded Network Says Anchor Quit as a Stunt

Liz Wahl appears Wednesday on “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” on MSNBC.
Liz Wahl appears Wednesday on “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” on MSNBC.msnbc

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The top editor at Russia Today, a Kremlin-funded cable network that airs in the United States, said Thursday that an anchor who quit live on the air was engaging in a “self-promotional stunt.”

The anchor, Liz Wahl, said during a broadcast on Wednesday that she could no longer be part of a network that “whitewashes” the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Days earlier, another RT anchor, Abby Martin, had criticized Russia’s takeover of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine and was quickly assigned to Crimea. She refused the posting and still has a job.

On Thursday, Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the channel, said that RT journalists faced bullying by the Western press for defending Russia and telling the truth. She questioned why they would put up with it.

“Some will fail to find the answer and quietly resign,” she wrote on the RT website. “Others will perform their resignation on-air in a self-promotional stunt, perhaps securing fantastic career prospects they wouldn’t have dreamt of before.”

She closed by saying: “Standing out from the crowd is hard, sometimes unbearable. I wish the best of luck to those who can’t take it. To those who continue to do their best for RT, who know they are right even if the whole world says otherwise, I have to say I’m proud of you. IMMENSELY PROUD.”

— Erin McClam