Russia Today anchor Liz Wahl resigned on air Wednesday saying that she could no longer be part of a network that "whitewashes the actions of Putin."
"Personally I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin," Wahl, a Washington, D.C.-based correspondent for Russia Today, said. "I'm proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth and that is why after this newscast I'm resigning."Wahl also referenced her grandparents, who she had tweeted about earlier, during her comments:
Just spoke to grandparents who came to US as refugees escaping Soviets during Hungarian revolution. Amazing to hear amid new Cold War fears
— Liz Wahl (@lizwahl) March 5, 2014
"I'm resigning due to the network's stance in general," Wahl later explained in an email to The Huffington Post's Luke Johnson. "A network that has an editorial mission to slam the West and promote Russian foreign policy. The coverage of Crimea is the latest and one of the more extreme examples."
"When I started, I knew where Putin stood geopolitically, but did not know that his views would be imposed on the news operation."
Her resignation comes two days after RT anchor Abby Martin condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine on air.
UPDATE: After Wahl's resignation, The Daily Beast published an interview with the former Russia Today anchor in which she explained what motivated her departure.
She criticized the network for manipulating employees, and said she felt sick for working there.
"In order to succeed there you don’t question," Wahl told The Daily Beast. "It’s not a sound news organization, not when your agenda is making America look bad."
Read the full article on The Daily Beast.
RT called Wahl's move a "self-promotional stunt" in a statement issued on Wednesday night:
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.