Russian television anchor Liz Wahl said she decided to quit the Russian-funded network on Wednesday – which she boldly did on the air – because of its “propagandist” nature.
Appearing on CNN’s Anderson Cooper AC360 show just hours after quitting, the Russia Today anchor said: “I think the coverage, as we’re in this diplomatic standoff and during the escalation of this crisis in Crimea, I think the propagandist nature of RT came out in full force.”
RT, as the English-language Russia Today is known, has drawn criticism from its own reporters over its pro-Putin bias in reporting the ongoing crisis between Russia and the Ukraine. Russia began deploying troops into Ukraine’s Crimea region last week.
Wahl, based in Washington DC, singled out a question she had asked former Texas Congressman Ron Paul on the network about his stance on his anti-interventionist views, which she said was edited out the broadcast. She also criticized one of RT’s correspondents painting the Ukraine opposition a “having neo-Nazi elements.”
“To portray the entire operation as being part of this right-wing extremist group is going along with the narrative that Vladimir Putin wants to go along with,” Wahl said. She said she is American, but that her family escaped Hungary from Soviet forces.
Cooper asked: “How does it work at RT? Where do directions come from?”
“The direction comes from management and I think there’s a lot of young people that work there, some people inexperienced. and I think they’re eager to please management, there’s a form of self-censorship that you learn,” she said. “Eventually you learn what management likes, what management dislikes, Today, especially with the heightened situation in Crimea, overtly questions are being written — very loaded questions, questions basically to paint the picture and to present the Putin perspective in all of this. And I just think, I would hope as a reporter and in life you should always speak the truth, spread the truth, disseminate the truth and what’s clear is that RT is not about the truth, it’s about promoting a Putinist agenda.”
She added: “It’s also about bashing America.”
Wahl denied her actions were a publicity stunt, as RT has alleged.
Watch Wahl speak out against RT via CNN: