FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

When Anchors Go Off Script at RT

by BEN SCHREINER

The Cold War is back.  The Evil Empire has risen.  And the very epitome of evil, that mad dictator Putin, stands poised with a dagger aimed at the heart of Europe.  It’s thus once again time to pick sides: either you stand with the freedom-loving democrats in Ukraine yearning for a piece of that neoliberal European utopia, or you stand with the tyrant in Moscow.

Of course, there was never any doubting just which side the respectable U.S. press was to come down on.  But that’s to be expected, for the newshounds of the fourth estate have always prided themselves on their ability to sniff out just when to mount an attack on behalf of Uncle Sam.  As Dan Rather once stated, “I want to be a patriotic American without apology.”  And with the Red Army—er, the Russian Army—on the march toward central Europe, patriotic journalism demands nothing less than a frontal assault on the Russian barbarians.

Accordingly, any American consuming mainstream news in the past week has been subjected to a universal onslaught of naked Russophobia.  In fact, a regular consumer of the American media would be forgiven if they were to wonder just why it is the evil Russians hate us so much.  It’s probably for our freedoms, she would no doubt soon conclude.

Amid all the Putin as Hitler howls ricocheting through the echo chamber, RT, the Kremlin-owned English language news channel,[*] has come to find itself a favorite target of scorn form the frothing American press. The network’s unabashedly pro-Russian editorial line (RT stands for Russia Today, after all) has been ceaselessly and mercilessly mocked by the American media.  How ridiculous, the professional scribes in the U.S. opine, for a news organization to openly shill for a state illegally violating the sovereignty of a neighboring country.  I mean, who has ever seen such a thing?

It was to the great joy of the patriotic U.S. media, then, to see two anchors on RT buck the Kremlin line live on-air.  It was like watching Ronald Reagan personally tear down that Berlin wall all over again!

First, there was American reporter Abby Martin, host of RT’s “Breaking the Set,” who declared on-air that the Russian intervention into the Crimea was “wrong.”  Martin, needless to say, was instantly celebrated as a hero by the horde of simpletons in the American media.  See, Putin really is evil, and here’s confirmation from no less of a source than his own network!

Alas, Martin’s heroism was to be short-lived; for it was soon realized that Martin was as equally opposed to U.S. interventions as well.  This, despite the fact that American interventions (what those propagandists at RT call “wars”) have always been undertaken for the most noblest of reasons: to protect civilians, to spread democracy, etc.  Anyway, Martin’s apparent unorthodoxy certainly disqualified her from true hero status.  Patriot she is not.

But then the second RT anchor went off script.

In a dramatic on-air resignation coming on the heels of Martin’s own on-air stand, RT anchor Liz Wahl decried her network for “whitewashing” Putin’s crimes in Crimea.  And, importantly, she went on to declare, “I’m proud to be American and believe in disseminating the truth.”  But since when have proud Americans cared about the truth?  No matter, I suppose, as Wahl was to later explain, she really jumped the RT ship because we are “approaching possibly a new Cold War.”  Indeed, time to come in from the cold then, and nestle up nice and tight with the good ‘ol US of A like any good objective reporter.  Now that sounds more like a patriot!

Little surprise, then, that Ms. Wahl was quickly interviewed by the Daily Beast and soon thereafter popped up on both CNN and MSNBC.  Wahl’s television appearances offered up quite the spectacle, of course, as a self-confessed pro-Putin propagandist took to the corporate airwaves to repent in front of none other than two Washington shills: Anderson Cooper and Lawrence O’Donnell.  As if we all hadn’t been subjected to enough shaming of so-called Russian propagandists by our gang of corporate hacks masquerading as reporters.

Wahl certainly didn’t disappoint, though, delivering the goods her patriotic hosts were seeking, as she lambasted RT for being “hostile to the West.”  Just so typical, the average U.S. viewer must have thought, for those philistines in Moscow are always just so nasty to all of us here in the civilized West.  They really do hate our freedom.

Unlike the hero turned once again controversial figure Martin, Wahl will likely come to soon find gainful employment in the respectable U.S. press.  She just gets it.  U.S.-Russia relations may have been reset in 2009, but as no less a figure than Lenin noted, such alliances represent “nothing more than a ‘truce’ in periods between wars.”  And the truce appears over.  Time to hate Russia again.  And time for American journalists to let the hate carry them back home.  After all, either you’re an objective journalist, or you’re a propagandist for a dictator.

The Cold War lives.

Ben Schreiner is a writer living in Oregon.  He may be reached at bnschreiner@gmail.com

[*] Full disclosure: I’ve appeared as a guest on RT.

 

Ben Schreiner is the author of A People’s Dictionary to the ‘Exceptional Nation’.  He may be reached at bnschreiner@gmail.com or via his blog.

May 04, 2016
Kshama Sawant
It’s Not About Bernie: Why We Can’t Let Our Revolution Die in Philadelphia
Conn Hallinan
Baiting the Bear: Russia and NATO
Joshua Frank
Hanford’s Leaky Nuke Tanks and Sick Workers, A Never-Ending Saga
Paul Craig Roberts
TIPP: Advancing American Imperialism
Ted Rall
Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton and Wall Street’s Neoliberal War on Latin America
Leslie Scott
The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits
Ann Garrison
Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon
Tom Clifford
Crying Rape: Trump’s China-Bashing
Lawrence Davidson
Getting Rid of Bad Examples: Andrew Jackson & Woodrow Wilson
Ellen Brown
Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?
Nelson Valdes
Is Fidel Castro Outside or Part of Mainstream Thinking? A Selection of Quotes
Jesse Jackson
Don’t Send Flint Down the Drain: Fix It!
Nathan Riley
Help Bernie Keep His Halo
Rivera Sun
Remembering Nonviolent History: Freedom Rides
Clancy Sigal
Rachel and the Isolationists: How Maddow Blew It
Laura Finley
Changing the Conversation About “The Woman Card”
CJ Hopkins
Coming this Summer … Revenge of the Bride of Sophie’s Choice
May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
Dean Baker
Time for an Accountable Federal Reserve
Ted Rall
Working for US Gov Means Never Saying Sorry
Dave Welsh
Hunger Strikers at Mission Police Station: “Stop the execution of our people”
John Eskow
The Death of Prince and the Death of Lonnie Mack
May 02, 2016
Michael Hudson – Gordon Long
Wall Street Has Taken Over the Economy and is Draining It
Paul Street
The Bernie Fade Begins
Ron Jacobs
On the Frontlines of Peace: the Life of Daniel Berrigan
Louis Yako
Dubai Transit
Bill Quigley
Teacher, Union Leader, Labor Lawyer: Profile of Chris Williams Social Justice Advocate
Patrick Cockburn
Into the Green Zone: Iraq’s Disintegrating Political System
Lawrence Ware
Trump is the Presidential Candidate the Republicans Deserve
Ron Forthofer
Just Say No to Corporate Rule
Ralph Nader
The Long-Distance Rebound of Bernie Sanders
Ken Butigan
Remembering Daniel Berrigan, with Gratitude
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail