Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
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.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
David Swanson
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
James McEnteer
Eugene, Oregon and the Rising Cost of Cool
Norman Pollack
The Great Debate: Proto-Fascism vs. the Real Thing
Michael Winship
The Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears
John Steppling
Fear Level Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail