Russia Propaganda Network Boss: This Is A 'Media War'

Margarita SimonyanAPEditor-in-chief of Russia Today 24-hour English-language TV news channel Margarita Simonyan speaks during a presentation in Moscow, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005.

The editor-in-chief of Kremlin-backed propaganda network Russia Today wrote a scathing editorial Thursday condemning Western media for “lynching RT journalists” and insisting Russia’s position is the right one.

RT head Margarita Simonyan’s defence of her channel came the day after anchor and correspondent Liz Wahl announced her resignation live on air, saying she couldn’t “be part of a network that whitewashes the actions” of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The editorial also mentioned Abby Martin, another RT anchor who earlier this week used the last few minutes of her “Breaking The Set” show to slam Russia’s military action in Ukraine.

Simonyan described these instances as evidence of a “media war” being waged by the mainstream media against her network. She accused the Western media of “lambasting and lynching RT journalists” and suggested people are “glowing with schadenfreude” as they watch the dissent at the channel.

“And now we’ve got a genuine war going on — no, thank God, it’s not in Crimea. It’s a media war,” Simonyan wrote. “Every single day, every single hour the guys who work for us are told, ‘You are liars, you are no journalists, you are the Kremlin propaganda mouthpiece, you’ve sold yourselves to the Russians, it’s time you quit your job, and everybody is laughing at you, so change your mind before it’s too late.'”

Simonyan also praised the journalists who remain at RT.

“Standing out from the crowd is hard, sometimes unbearable. I wish the best of luck to those who can’t take it,” she wrote. “To those who continue to do their best for RT, who know they are right even if the whole world says otherwise, I have to say I’m proud of you. IMMENSELY PROUD.”

Simonyan, who is Russian, added she believes Russia’s position is right and vowed she “will fight for the truth for as long as it takes.”

RT is an English-language network funded by the Kremlin that’s tasked with improving Russia’s image in the West.

The news network hasn’t painted an unbiased picture of the crisis in Ukraine. Top stories on earlier this week were about about how Crimea doesn’t need governance from Kiev and how thousands of Ukrainians are fleeing to live in Russia.

One article was headlined “Tea, sandwiches, music, photos with self-defence forces mark peaceful Sunday in Simferopol,” while another said Russian “self-defence forces” have provided a “welcome if not unexpected change” in Crimea.

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