Russia Today anchor speaks out against invasion of Crimea, now faces assignment in Crimea

In the U.S., it’s all too common to hear journalists and talking heads freely spout their opinions on national TV. But in Russia? Not so much.

Until Abby Martin, a news anchor with RT, formerly Russia Today, seemed to break rank.

Martin, host of the English language news program "Breaking the Set," ended the show with a brief editorial on the situation in Ukraine's Crimea, where Russian forces have all but taken over.

Martin said, "Just because I work here for RT doesn't mean I don't have editorial independence, and I can't stress enough how strongly I am against any military intervention in sovereign nations' affairs. What Russia did is wrong."

Martin, a native of California, works from RT's Washington bureau.

In the past, RT has been accused of being a mouthpiece for the Russian government, and specifically Vladimir Putin. It is funded by the Russian government.

Martin continued, saying she will not "sit here and apologize or defend military aggression." Martin then criticized the news media in general, expressing disappointment with the Ukraine news coverage "from all sides of the media spectrum," and said it was "ripe with disinformation."

Martin concluded the editorial, saying, "All we can do now is hope for a peaceful outcome for a terrible situation, and prevent another full-blown cold war between multiple superpowers. Until then, I'll keep telling the truth as I see it."

During her editorial, Martin admitted that she doesn't "know as much as I should about Ukraine's history or the cultural dynamics of the region." That may soon change — RT is shipping her to Crimea.

Via Huffington Post UK:

"Contrary to the popular opinion, RT doesn’t beat its journalists into submission, and they are free to express their own opinions, not just in private but on the air. This is the case with Abby’s commentary on the Ukraine.

"We respect her views, and the views of all our journalists, presenters and program hosts, and there will be absolutely no reprimands made against Ms. Martin.

"In her comment Ms. Martin also noted that she does not possess a deep knowledge of reality of the situation in Crimea. As such we’ll be sending her to Crimea to give her an opportunity to make up her own mind from the epicentre of the story."

Journalist Glenn Greenwald praised Martin's words, writing, "For all the self-celebrating American journalists and political commentators: was there even a single U.S. television host who said anything comparable to this in the lead-up to, or the early stages of, the U.S. invasion of Iraq?"

Martin's monologue also drew praise on Twitter.


But not everybody on Twitter was buying Martin's bravery. At least one person pointed out a previous editorial on Israel using "Hitler's methods."

Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (@mikekrumboltz).

Related: Putin softens Crimea stance.