The Russian government-funded, English-language news network RT (formerly Russia Today) today lost a correspondent over its questionable coverage of the Malaysia Airline passenger plane that was shot down in Ukraine yesterday.
Sara Firth, who worked for RT as a London correspondent for five years, told BuzzFeed:
"When this story broke I ran back into the newsroom and saw how we were covering it already and I just knew I had to go," she said.
"It was the total disregard to the facts. We threw up eyewitness accounts from someone on the ground openly accusing the Ukrainian government [of involvement in the disaster], and a correspondent in the studio pulled up a plane crash before that the Ukrainian government had been involved in and said it was 'worth mentioning'.
"It's not worth mentioning. It's Russia Today all over, it's flirting with that border of overtly lying. You're not telling a lie, you're just bringing something up. I didn't want to watch a story like that, where people have lost loved ones and we're handling it like that.
"I couldn't do it anymore. Every single day we're lying and finding sexier ways to do it."
Firth isn't the first to resign in protest of RT's perceived bias. Anchor Liz Wahl quit live on-air earlier this year, citing the network's "whitewashing" of Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion and annexation of Crimea.
RT shot back at Firth with a press release:
We were not surprised by Sara Firth's decision to leave … as she has recently informed us that she was likely to take an offer from another firm. …
Sara has declared that she chooses the truth; apparently we have different definitions of the truth. We believe that the truth is what our reporters see on the ground, with their own eyes and not what's printed in the morning London newspaper.
Exactly how yesterday's airplane tragedy played out is still up for debate, though Radio Free Europe has a good fact sheet on the evidence at play so far.
For more Reason coverage of the ongoing crises in Ukraine, click here.