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The Abby Martin Ukraine Incident will forever be looked at as a turning point in which RT began to draw scrutiny from the US left
To summarize: Abby Martin hosted a popular program on RT in the early 2010s called Breaking the Set. March 2014, she denounces Russia's invasion of Ukraine on air. It causes an uproar in the media, many defending her, others demonstrating it showed RT doesnt censor, but the real
weird shit was RT's response which was to say Abby Martin had free speech on their network but would also be getting sent to Crimea to learn "the truth firsthand." Martin denied this & pushed back against the weird mafia-esque "let's take a walk" shit.
She went on Joe Rogan, Adam Kokesh, she got interviewed by GG, hell even some MSM outlets boosted her. Anywhere she could she told her story & it was basically that RT was some weird shit but "at least I can say what I want." That was ultimately her take on the situation.
But what it did was acknowledge that RT was in fact some weird shit. Up to that point, it was treated like any other foreign network cuz at the time Russia was very much looked at as a "problematic ally" to the US. Congressmen, think tankers, policy people lawyers, respectable
normie members of the political & media establishment frequented RT as guests. The Ukraine Incident got many of those guests to re-examine that relationship & suddenly they began to lose mainstream access. What followed was a steady but sure descent into full Infowars mode
RT's coverage of Ukraine was verbatim the same as Fox's coverage of Iraq in 2003. RT began to have less lefty antiglobe voices & substituted them for more conspiracy theorists, grifters & white supremacists. Richard Spencer, David Duke, Matt Heimbach & many future figureheads of
the alt right were platformed. Martin played into this too staying on for over a year after the incident. She platformed now lead QAnon pusher Lionel & had a whole episode devoted to fluoride truth. By Aug 2015 she leaves RT for Telesur to start her Empire Files. A friend of mine
who was hear first producer left before the first episode when aired over "differing definitions of empire" (his, a function of capital, hers, good state v bad state). By 2015, the general vibe about RT & Sputnik on the left was that they were obviously sketchy & mediocre but
Folks still bought the line that it was the ONLY place for lefties to get their voices out in the media discourse. It took some Sputnik whistelblowing leaks & a few more incidents of clearly not having a prog/left agenda for that mood to shift further.
By 2016, the consense was that RT was a state propaganda outlet for a rightwing regime. Its "anti-americanism" was informed solely by a desire to boost "alt" voices no matter if they came from the left or the right. As in, any indie media head looking to build something outta
their work like Unicorn Riot, SubMedia, or IGD did could not accomplish this thru a network like RT. Others dutifully sold out cuz the money was good. And I suspect still others are true believers. By the time of the White Helmets pieces & the Fall of Aleppo the indie media's
opinion of RT was overwhelmingly negative. There were attempts by RT employees with connections to the activist scene thru PSL & WWP to salvage this, strengthened by the CIA's Russiagate memo which solely cited Abby Martin's show & only the left/prog content as examples of
interference. (Reasons for this can be expounded on in another thread; fash existence must be denied).

Basically, by the time of Charlottesville, it was clear RT was gleefully promoting the alt right, defending the Trump regime, & pushing reactionary bs. The lefties & old OWS
heads who stayed on essentially became quislings, it was the first split, the first acknowledgment of redbrown collusion & really set the stage for the DSA, Dirtbag, "conservative socialism" discourse to come.
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