RT America, the U.S.-based media outlet funded by Vladimir Putin’s Russian government, issued a lengthy statement of condolence on Thursday after the death of American broadcaster Ed Schultz, who was an anchor for the channel since 2016.
“Ed was a champion of the American working class. He saw government as a potential force for good, gave voice to labor unions, spoke inconvenient truths about American foreign policy, and wanted the U.S. to be a role model for the world,” read a statement from the network. “He was praised for his ability to think creatively, ask the tough questions, and give opponents the benefit of the doubt.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Schultz’s bosses, who took care to note his “patriotism.”
“He was an unconditional patriot of his country, an honest and principled man,” said RT chief editor Margarita Simonyan. “When the campaign against RT America began and the channel was forced to register as a ‘foreign agent,’ Ed set an example for all of us, saying: ‘Let them call me what they want, I am going to speak the truth no matter what.'”
RT, formally known as “Russia Today,” had long been derided by media critics as a mouthpiece of the Russian government designed to spew Kremlin propaganda. In November, 2017 it was forced to register with the U.S. government as a foreign agent.
Russia Today's brilliant, ugly, paranoid outdoor advertising campaign in Brooklyn… pic.twitter.com/thMRHjERs8
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) August 15, 2014
Since the launch of their English language “America” bureau, the network sought to enlist high-profile American stars like Schultz and CNN icon Larry King to convey its message.
In a memorial of its own, RT’s sister propaganda network Sputnik tellingly remembered Schlutz for how he “pushed back against claims in the mainstream US media that Russia had interfered in the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.”
Schultz’s unfounded claims fit well into Vladimir Putin preferred narrative, but is broadly at odds with a wide consensus of of United States intelligence agencies and members of both parties.
Before joining RT, Schultz spent six years an an anchor for MSNBC.