News that the TV news network RT, also known as Russia Today, has had its banking axed in the UK is another embarrassment for previously respectable staffers who defected to the channel – including US personalities Larry King and Ed Schultz.
King and Schultz joined RT — widely considered a Russian propaganda outlet– after they lost their perches at CNN and MSNBC respectively. The two hosts are taking the Kremlin’s money and adding star power to its output in the United States.
King hosts two shows – Larry King Now and Politicking With Larry King – while Schultz anchors an evening news show.
Former Minnesota governor and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura, who co-starred in the hit 1980s sci-fi film “Predator”, also hosts a show on RT.
The moves from mainstream media to RT for these men are regarded as embarrassing sell-outs.
Just saw an RT ad that ended with Jesse Ventura, Larry King and Ed Schultz standing with arms folded in the "toughest team in politics" pose
— Tom Gara (@tomgara) October 9, 2016
They are higher-profile scalps than the British employees who may be directly affected by RT having its finances cut off.
In the UK the only famous figure to regularly appear on the network is George Galloway – a former member of Parliament and contestant on the UK’s Celebrity Big Brother — who famously praised Saddam Hussein and is widely regarded as a stain on public life:
Despite being well-funded and active all across the world, RT has been plagued with staff who refuse to toe the party line.
Sara Firth, an anchor in the UK, quit live on air after condemning the “disrespect for facts” and pro-Putin “lies” affecting the station’s coverage of MH17 – the airliner shot out of the skies over Ukraine.
I resigned from RT today. I have huge respect for many in the team, but I'm for the truth. pic.twitter.com/mZ1g0R7N0D
— Sara Firth (@Sara__Firth) July 18, 2014
Two years earlier, US anchor Liza Wahl did the same, condemning the way the network “whitewashes” the actions of Vladimir Putin:
The latest turn can only make the US newsmen’s choice of employer even harder to justify.