WASHINGTON — Russia Today America anchor Liz Wahl resigned Wednesday live on air, saying she could no longer work at the Kremlin-funded network after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Wahl said she feels “many ethical and moral challenges” especially since her grandparents fled Hungary during the Soviet era, “ironically to escape the Soviet forces.”
“Personally I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government which whitewashes the actions of Putin,” Wahl said during her show Wednesday afternoon. “I’m proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth, and that is why after this newscast I’m resigning,”
Wahl did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
RT America called Wahl’s move a “self-promotional stunt.” In a statement sent to BuzzFeed, the channel said:
Ms. Wahl’s resignation comes on the heels of her colleague Abby Martin’s recent comments in which she voiced her disagreement with certain policies of the Russian government and asserted her editorial independence. The difference is, Ms. Martin spoke in the context of her own talk show, to the viewers who have been tuning in for years to hear her opinions on current events, the opinions that most media did not care about until two days ago. For years Ms. Martin has been speaking out against U.S. military intervention only to be ignored by the mainstream news outlets — but with that one comment, branded as an act of defiance, she became an overnight sensation. It is a tempting example to follow.
When a journalist disagrees with the editorial position of his or her organization, the usual course of action is to address those grievances with the editor, and, if they cannot be resolved, to quit like a professional. But when someone makes a big public show of a personal decision, it is nothing more than a self-promotional stunt.
We wish Liz the best of luck on her chosen path.
Wahl’s resignation comes the same week that another RT host, Abby Martin, denounced the Russian invasion of Ukraine on her show “Breaking the Set.”
Reached by phone, Martin said she had no current plans to resign like Wahl had done.
“I think we have different jobs here and you’re going to have to ask her why she did what she did,” Martin said. “I honestly have no comment. I’m just going to maintain what I did for now. I don’t know what her motivations were.”
Martin said she had not talked to Wahl about the resignation. Asked if she planned to do the same, she said “No, not at this moment.”
Martin’s show is airing a repeat episode today because she has received an overwhelming amount of interview requests, including an appearance on Piers Morgan Live, and needs time to prepare, she said.