Ukraine

'We're Lying': RT Reporter Resigns Over Malaysia Airline Coverage

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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

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  1. Russians really don’t know how to do journalism. Here in the land of the free, slanting your coverage to support government lies is the focus of your junior year in J-school.

    1. Arm’s length journalism. One hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing, but somehow, they are acting in concert. Somehow.

    2. Right. These things take time. You can’t just start off going down on the president during prime time, you have to work your way up to that.

      1. Lot of good it does me for you to post that an hour later squirrels.

        What the hell man?

  2. Accusing the state-run Russian media of dishonesty is a hefty charge! I bet next you’re going to try to convince me that this Pravda article is wrong about the five year plan over-fulfilling all of its quotas?

  3. That was a good fact sheet. Both sides have Buk Missile Launchers, but the Ukraine has no reason to use theirs, as the rebels have never claimed to be in possession of military aircraft.

    Is Russia still denying the basic facts here?
    It seems pretty clear that:

    1) The Russian Rebels did it with Russian provided hardware
    and
    2) It was an accident, and they though they were shooting at a military transport.

    1. Pl?ya Manhattan.|7.18.14 @ 1:13PM|#
      “That was a good fact sheet.”

      Agreed. You can say X with certainty and Y with some probability. Nicely done.

    2. Didn’t they have a tweet from a guy claiming responsibility, or has that been retracted?

      1. He deleted, and claimed that it was second hand info.

        1. Lame, it was nice having something that straight forward for once.

    3. 1) The Russian Rebels did it with Russian provided hardware

      Yeah just like those two old tanks were provided by the Russians.

      Right now ISIS is driving around the Syrian desert in US made Humvees…but yeah it is impossible for Ukrainian Rebels to have acquired Ukrainian military equipment.

      Give me a fucking break.

      1. I didn’t say it was impossible. I’m merely stating what the evidence shows.

        The evidence points to the Russians providing the rebels with the Buk system sometime in the last month.

        In addition to there being zero evidence that the Ukrainian Rebels (whoever the hell they are) stole hardware from the Ukrainian Military and used it to shoot down a plane that was ostensibly on their own side, the theory is flat out stupid.

        1. The evidence points to the Russians providing the rebels with the Buk system sometime in the last month.

          Oh really?

          http://www.breitbart.com/Breit…..0-missiles

          the theory is flat out stupid.

          So my stupid theory turns out to be absolutely true…what does that say about your theories that Putin invented cancer?

    4. The Russian Rebels did it with Russian provided hardware

      I find it highly unlikely that those “Ukrainian separatist” missile launchers are being run by Ukrainian separatists.

      More accurately, the Russian Army did it with Russian Army missile launchers located in the Ukraine.

      1. That’s another way of saying what I was trying to say. The “rebel commander” is widely suspected to be a high ranking member of Russian intelligence.

        1. That and he’s from Moscow.

          1. They should add that to the fact sheet.

    5. There’s also the possibility that they were shooting missiles they’d captured from the Ukrainian armed forces. (Yeah, I know its a Russian source, but unless they backdated it, I don’t think they made the article up in order to cover up having given the missiles themselves.)

  4. Two Pravda editors meet in the corridor, one just coming on shift

    Incoming duty editor: “What happened yesterday?”

    Outgoing duty editor: “I don’t know. We haven’t decided yet.”

    Soviet era joke. It seems everything old is new again.

  5. Reason writers still going on RT? Getting paid for it?

    1. Lyle|7.18.14 @ 1:13PM|#
      “Reason writers still going on RT? Getting paid for it?”

      Gee, Lyle, I’ll bet you thought that had some relevance!
      Well, no I don’t; you just randomly shot a post out of your ass like you commonly do.

      1. What are you talking about? Reason people don’t go on RT? They aren’t used as props?

        1. Knotting is a popular trend in fan fiction. It involves men having sex with men like wolves. And it often leads to male pregnancy, which leads to male delivery. And the people giving birth to feces-covered babies are often members of One Direction.

        2. Lyle|7.18.14 @ 1:45PM|#
          “What are you talking about? Reason people don’t go on RT? They aren’t used as props?”

          Gee, Lyle, I’ll bet you thought that some sense!
          Well, no I don’t; you just randomly shot a post out of your ass like you commonly do.
          Buzz off.

          1. You haven’t answered my questions man? Don’t Reason writers go on RT? Are they not used as props by RT?

            And oh the irony of a libertarian telling someone to buzz off. I’m going to comment however I god damn please. Don’t ever tell me to buzz off again.

            1. That’s not irony.

  6. From the Newsmax sidebar:
    Jay Carney joins $100,000 per speech club.

    The same rules that apply to prisoners should apply to government service: you can’t profit off of your crime.

    1. Who the hell pays to hear that windbag? I mean, I get it when they pony up to hear a former or prospective president or some such, but Carney?

      1. Jay Carney has Access. You pay for some of Jay Carney’s Access, you don’t pay for Jay Carney.

        1. You certainly don’t pay to bask in the brilliance of his insights!

      2. My 3 year old is a better liar than Carney.

        1. He probably throws better too.

          1. That combination skill set is dangerous.

            We still haven’t solved the mystery of the turd stuck to the wall.

            Good throw, solid denial.

            1. the turd stuck to the wall.

              I’m not sure I even want to know.

              1. Leave him there! He can’t post from there.

  7. Now you are going have the Putin boosters drop in and strive to prop up Russia’s position and accuse the Ukrainians of a false flag op, you tools of Kiev you.

  8. “apparently we have different definitions of the truth”. That says it all.

  9. “I couldn’t do it anymore. Every single day we’re lying and finding sexier ways to do it.”

    Poor RT – they keep getting these ethical, resign-y reporters obsessing over so-called “truth.” The American media doesn’t have this problem with *their* reporters!

    After all, what *is* truth, if you know what I mean?

    1. After all, what *is* truth..

      Is truth unchanging law? We both have truths. Are mine the same as yours?

      1. Crucify Him!

        1. +1 Barrabas

    2. If I had any money, I might try to gather all these attractive, anti-establishment journalists with a conscience into one place and start my own news network.

      1. Will it be a competitor for NakedNews.com?

        1. Our tagline could be “We leave more to the imagination.”

  10. I love the heavy-handed press release. “She was quitting anyways, so she would obviously want to make us look bad because that’s what quitters do!”

  11. “she has recently informed us that she was likely to take an offer from another firm”

    Wow, that totally conflicts with her story that she had ethical problems with her RT job!

    1. “I mean, she *says* she had ethical concerns about working for us, but if that’s the case, how come she was looking for another job, huh?”

  12. It’s hilarious how much American conspiracy theorists, who don’t believe anything the US media or government say, will blindly trust RT and Putin. r/conspiracy on reddit is a perfect example of this brand of idiocy

  13. Not to denigrate Firth’s bona fides, nor her candor in quitting, but RT really knows how to staff their on-camera positions.

  14. Now, of course RT is a tool of Putin’s propaganda but a few plane crashes are absolutely worth mentioning in the context of yesterday’s tragedy. See Iran Air Flight 655 and Siberia Airlines Flight 1812.

    1. Did not know the story of Siberia 1812. The fact that a missile over shot its target by 150 km and destroyed a passenger plane is pretty incredible.

  15. citing the network’s “whitewashing” of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion and annexation of Crimea.

    Funny, I remember Reason being very very reluctant to call out Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea.

    And continuing to be very reluctant about Russia’s thinly disguised proxy war against Ukraine, today.

    1. …he said, quoting a Reason writer engaged in the act of calling out Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea.

      1. bzzt. I’m quoting a Reason writer who is paraphrasing a former RT reporter, who is actually the one who called it an invasion and annexation.

        Reason, for whatever, umm, reason, does not use that terminology when referring to last year’s unpleasantness in Crimea.

        1. I was unaware that the invasion of Crimea was last year

          1. Pardon me.

            Last “fiscal” year, then.

    2. “Funny, I remember Reason being very very reluctant to call out Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea.”

      You sure you don’t remember people saying it’s not our problem?

      1. Nope. I tend to think its not our problem, but I get frustrated when Reason writers uncritically parrot the state-sponsored euphemisms and evasions in the service of denying and covering up war crimes.

        1. ” but I get frustrated when Reason writers uncritically parrot the state-sponsored euphemisms and evasions in the service of denying and covering up war crimes.”

          I missed that; any cites?

    3. totally with you MegaloMonocle. Reason has a soft spot for Putin.

  16. It looks like the Russians have picked their lie and they are sticking with it: The Ukrainians were trying to shoot down Putin’s plane as he flew back from the World Cup in Brazil.

    1. “The Ukrainians were trying to shoot down Putin’s plane as he flew back from the World Cup in Brazil.”

      With a stop-over in Amsterdam to see the Night Watch, right?

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