Freddy Gray Freddy Gray

Was Liz Wahl’s on-air Russia Today resignation brave or self-serving?

It’s hard not be cynical about these TV presenters on Russia Today making such bold on-air declarations against their network. The eye-catching Liz Wahl sensationally quit RT yesterday saying she would no longer work for a channel that ‘whitewashes’ President Putin’s actions (see video above), and she is being widely lauded.

‘I’m proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth,’ she said. ‘And that is why after this news cast I’m resigning.’ Liz was going one step further than her colleague Abby Martin, who had said the day before that Russia’s invasion of Crimea was wrong. Lots of other journalists are saying that they are both very brave. Maybe they are. But if these ladies were such passionate believers in journalistic integrity and American values, one wonders why they took a job at the Moscow-funded propaganda channel in the first place? RT has called Wahl’s act a ‘self-promotional stunt’ and you can see what they mean. It could prove to be a smart career move. Who would bet against her soon landing a well-paid gig at Fox News?

The thing to remember about media people is that we are pretty whorish, as a rule. If the balance of hard and soft power were somehow to shift dramatically East I wouldn’t be too surprised to see western TV anchors jump the other way.

Imagine Kay Burley declaring live on Sky News that she had always had qualms about the Murdoch empire’s ethical standards. Or Emily Maitlis announcing that the BBC’s failure to defend traditional family values had long troubled her. Or Channel 4’s Paul Mason telling viewers that he had always been part of an international anti-capitalist conspiracy to undermine … I’ll stop there.

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