Fil-Am news anchor quits on air over Russia’s actions in Crimea
WASHINGTON, DC — Filipino American news anchor Liz Wahl quit from state-owned television station Russia Today (RT) while she was live on air Wednesday, March 5, telling viewers she could not in conscience work for a network that “whitewashes the actions” of the Russian leadership.
Wahl, who works with the network’s Washington, DC bureau, is making quite a stir in the social media for her bold resignation in the wake of the current crisis in Crimea.
Wahl, who described herself as being of Filipino and Hungarian-American descent, mentioned her family history as refugees from Soviet Hungary and the poverty of her mother’s family in the Philippines, saying that it has always made working with Russia Today difficult for her.
“I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin,” Wahl said on air, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions against Crimea.
“I’m proud to be an American, and believe in disseminating the truth. And that is why, after this newscast, I’m resigning.”
Wahl cited fellow RT America anchor Abby Martin’s earlier on-air criticism of Putin, which was widely publicized. Martin, a Californian, said on air Monday night she “cannot stress enough” how strongly she believed that “Russia was wrong” in sending troops to Crimea.
“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 personally, coming from my family.
“My grandparents came here as refugees during the Hungarian revolution, ironically to escape Soviet forces. I have family on the opposite side, 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,” Wahl said.
Wahl said said she’s the daughter of a veteran and that her partner is a physician at a military base “where he sees every day the firsthand accounts of the ultimate prices that people pay for this country.”
Interviewed later by CNN’s Piers Morgan Wednesday night, Wahl said she “felt morally inclined” speak up and quit for the sake of truth and because of her personal convictions.
“I mean my grandparents they were refugees, they came to America to seek a better life, had my grandmother not bribed the guard with money and brandy she would have been killed and I — my dad ended up because of this joining the military,” Wahl said.
“My mother in the Philippines, I have family over there, and I see how lucky I am to live in this country because I see the conditions that they’re subjected to. I have family members who know what the daily grind of poverty is like and I feel lucky to live in this country,” she added.
She pointed out that the journalist’s duty is to seek the truth and to report the truth.
“… [W]hat’s become very clear especially in the face of this crisis with Crimea is that the objective of RT has been to promote Putinist propaganda, to promote the conflict as Putin wants us to see and to bash the U.S. and make it look like we’re the bad guys,” Wahl said.
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