The propaganda network RT this week suffered a mortal blow when DirectTV FINALLY dropped the outlet known for offering pro-Putin lies and ridiculous spin. On Thursday, CNN explained that “RT America will cease productions and lay off most of its staff.”
It was eight years ago today that one journalist bravely resigned from RT to protest the network’s Putin propaganda in the wake of the (first) Russian invasion of Ukraine. Yet, bizarrely, one of the smug hosts of The View responded to Liz Wahl's actions with derision.
But first, here’s Wahl on RT as she announces her resignation, March 4, 2014. (Click “expand” to read more.)
Last night, RT made international headlines, when one of our anchors went on the record, and said Russian intervention in Crimea is wrong. And indeed, as a reporter on this network, I face many ethical and moral challenges – especially me personally, coming from a family whose grandparents – my grandparents – came here as refugees during the Hungarian revolution – ironically, to escape the Soviet forces.
I have family on the opposite side – on my mother's side – that sees the daily grind of poverty, and I'm very lucky to have grown up here in the United States. I'm the daughter of a veteran; my partner is a physician at a military base, where he sees, every day, the first-hand accounts of the ultimate prices that people pay for this country. And that is why, personally, I cannot be part of a network, funded by the Russian government, that whitewashes the actions of Putin. I'm proud to be an American, and believe in disseminating the truth. And that is why, after this newscast, I'm resigning.
Here's the video.
One would think this would warrant praise, but then-View host (and co-creator) Barbara Walters haughtily responded on the March 6, 2014 show: “I think what she [Wahl] did is fine, it's a personal choice, but don't make her a hero for protesting. She is working for the government.”
Walters’s comments still make little sense. “She is working for them?” No, Wahl resigned to protest RT, later writing a piece for Politico called “I was Putin’s pawn.”
After the other co-hosts offered sympathy and support, Walters huffed:
She is working for a Russian network. Therefore, she is protesting the Russians. It is not like if I were angry at ABC and I came out and said terrible things about ABC, I don’t think I’d be here tomorrow. Maybe I would. She is protesting. She's working for them.
Walters has a history of telling others to just shut up. In 2012, when Mimi Alford, a former mistress to John F. Kennedy, came forward publicly, the View host derided, “She’ll make a lot of money!” and that the tell-all book “did not have to be written.” The hypocrisy of this was amazing. Walters had an affair with Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke in the 1970s and came forward with a — you guessed it — tell-all book.
For ABC, it's okay to speak out... some of the time. Just check with Barbara Walters first.
To see the TOP FIVE examples of RT lies, propaganda and spin on the second Ukraine invasion, go here. For more examples from our FLASHBACK series, which we call the NewsBusters Time Machine, go here.
A transcript of the March 6, 2014 View segment is below. Click “expand” to read more.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: She's the anchor of the Russia Today network's Washington bureau. She cited her family history of fleeing Soviet forces in Hungary, and that’s what she – that’s the entire –
BARBARA WALTERS: But she is working, as she said, she is working for the Russian network.
RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: Barbara, we agree on something!
WALTERS: Why would you make it a battle between you and me?
CAMPOS-DUFFY: No, it's not. I’m just saying you're right, you're right.
GOLDBERG: Here we go, here we go, here we go -- go ahead, baby.
WALTERS: She is working for – [laughs]
GOLDBERG: Don't stop.
WALTERS: No, I'm laughing at you. She is working for a Russian network. Therefore, she is protesting the Russians. It is not like if I were angry at ABC and I came out and said terrible things about ABC, I don’t think I’d be here tomorrow. Maybe I would. She is protesting. She's working for them.
GOLDBERG: Here's my question, she's been there for two years. Putin has been, he’s been -- and so I understand that she felt this need, but I just kind of think if you’re –
JENNY MCCARTHY: Do you think it was outside pressure, Whoopi?
GOLDBERG: No. I just think she thought about her parents and something snapped.
SHERRI SHEPPARD: But that’s what I’m saying – even though she was working for, it was Russian, but she's saying it’s still every day I’ve got to do this, I'm not feeling good inside. It's violating what I'm feeling, so it's okay.
WALTERS: What I'm saying, I think what she did is fine, it's a personal choice, but don't make her a hero for protesting. She is working for the government.
MCCARTHY: Do you think it will hurt her getting another job somewhere or help her?
WALTERS: It depends on what kind of a job she wants
SHEPPARD: She can go do a commencement speech. She'll be all right.
CAMPOS-DUFFY: She's got pretty good publicity.
WALTERS: If you have a job where you give your opinions, then, you know, then you're open to their disagreeing with you. If you have a job the way many people do where you are reading the news off the teleprompter, that's a different thing.
SHEPPARD: Have you ever felt as a journalist when you were doing interviews -- you've done interviews with people you did not agree with what they were saying. Did it make you –
WALTERS: Like Yasser Arafat.
SHEPPARD: Like Yasser Arafat.
WALTERS: Like President Assad.
SHEPPARD: Like President Assad. Did you ever feel like, I can't, this is making me sick inside?
WALTERS: No, because what I do feel is I'm a reporter and it is my job to point out why you may make everybody sick. It's not my job –
[cheers and applause]
GOLDBERG: Got to love that. We will be right back with more hot topics. Well said, Barbara, well said.