Russia Today Correspondent Quits Over Malaysia Airlines ‘Lies’

London-based Russia Today correspondent Sara Firth has publicly resigned from her job with the network, making a series of serious allegations about the outlet’s integrity on her way out.

Firth was candid in a tweet sent about her decision, saying first:

She added:

Firth spoke with BuzzFeed about how the Malaysia Airlines crash catalyzed her career move, explaining that as the story unfolded, Russia Today’s direction of the narrative made her uneasy — and that it wasn’t the first time:

“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… 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.’”

Firth adds:

“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 any more. Every single day we’re lying and finding sexier ways to do it.”

BuzzFeed obtained an official response from Russia Today over Firth’s resignation, saying that the correspondent left not over the slanted reporting, but a competitor’s offer. Anna Belkina, head of communications at Russia Today, began in a statement:

“We were not surprised by Sara Firth’s decision to leave RT after 5 years as a Moscow and London correspondent, as she has recently informed us that she was likely to take an offer from another firm… The plane crash is an absolutely terrible tragedy, there are a lot of questions that surround it and everybody is looking for answers.”

Belkina continues:

“Sara has declared that she chooses the truth; apparently we have different definitions of truth. We believe that truth is what our reporters see on the ground, with their own eyes, and not what’s printed in the morning London newspaper. In our coverage, RT, unlike the rest of the media, did not draw conclusions before the official investigation has even begun. We show all sides of the story, even if everyone else has already decided which side is to blame.”

In later tweets, a fellow Russia Today correspondent asked what the outlet’s journalists were allegedly “spreading,” to which Firth replied “lies, hun,” adding that reporters “are asked on a daily basis if not to totally ignore then to obscure the truth.”

[Image: @Sara__Firth]