Sara Firth

  • Aired:  07/29/14
  •  | Views: 15,712

Sara Firth describes the lack of truthful reporting that led her to resign from her correspondent position at RT. (6:01)

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT SPENT FIVEYEARS AS CORRESPONDENT FOR RT,

RUSSIA TODAY.

PLEASE WELCOME SARA FIRTH.

HELLO.

NICE TO SEE YOU.

[APPLAUSE]THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

SO, SO YOU WORKED, YOU JUSTRECENTLY LEFT THIS... IT'S

CALLED R.T., RUSSIA TODAY.

>> YES.

>> Jon: YOU'D BEEN THERE FIVEYEARS.

>> I HAD, YES.

>> Jon: WHY, WHY DID YOU JUSTLEAVE?

>> IT HAD BEEN A REALLY LONGTIME COMING.

BUT WE'D BEEN COVERING SOMEBIG STORIES, WHAT I THOUGHT WAS

A COMPLETELY WRONG WAY, AND I'DSEEN IT HAPPENING FROM THE

INSIDE, AND I COULD SEE ITHAPPENING AGAIN WITH THE MH17

COVERAGE, SO I CALLED TIME ONIT.

>> Jon: AND YOU LEFT.>> YEAH.

>> Jon: YOUR FEELING OF THEWRONG WAY, YOU FELT THAT THE

KREMLIN WAS INTERFERING TO THEEXTENT THAT YOU NO LONGER

FELT THAT YOU HADTHE INDEPENDENCE?

>> YES.

I THINK WHAT R.T. DOES IS ITVERY MUCH MIRRORS THE KREMLIN

LINE, SO, YOU KNOW, WHATEVERTHEY'RE PUTTING OUT, WE'RE

KIND OF THE SHIELDS FOR THOSELIES BASICALLY.

>> Jon: HOW INVOLVED IS THEKREMLIN?

LIKE EVERY NOW AND AGAIN A PHONECALL?

ARE THERE SERIOUS DIRECT E-MAILSDIRECTLY FROM THE KREMLIN?

OR NO?

>> WE, I CERTAINLY NEVER SAW THEMESSAGES COMING FROM THE

KREMLIN.>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> YOU GET THERE'S THIS SORTOF... WE JOKINGLY NICKNAMED IT

THE MINISTRY OF FEAR, BUT IT'STHE KIND OF EDITORIAL BODY AT

THE HEART OF THE CHANNEL, ANDTHEY'RE THE ONES WHO KIND OF

GIVE THE DIRECTIVES.

AND THOSE ARE VERY MUCH IN LINEWITH WHAT THE KREMLIN LINE IS

AT THE TIME, SO YOU CAN PRETTYMUCH TRACK WHAT R.T. IS SAYING

TO WHAT THE RUSSIANGOVERNMENT IS SAYING, AND,

YOU KNOW, THAT THEY STICK VERYSTRONGLY TO THAT LINE, AS WELL.

>> Jon: SO IN SYRIA, THEIR LINEWOULD BE, WE HAVE TO SUPPORT

ASSAD.

THESE REBELS ARE BAD PEOPLE.

YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO HELP THEMIN ANY WAY.

IN MH17, IT WOULD BE, NO THISWAS UKRAINE.

THERE'S BEEN NO EVIDENCE OFRUSSIAN INVOLVEMENT.

>> YEAH, IT'S ABSOLUTELY. YOUKNOW, AS I SAID AT THE TIME

I RESIGNED THAT THE SORT OFDEFAULT

SETTING ON STORIES LIKE THAT ISIT IS NOT RUSSIA'S FAULT, SO...

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> EVEN WHEN IT CLEARLY IS.

>> Jon: IT'S DIFFICULT BECAUSEIN THIS COUNTRY, TRUTH IS ALL

THAT MATTERS TO OUR NEWSNETWORKS.

[LAUGHTER]AND SO TO SEE YOU STRUGGLE WITH

THAT, IT REALLY SHOWS ME JUSTHOW DIFFERENT RUSSIA IS.

IS THAT, IS IT SOMETHING THATBECAUSE YOU STARTED, YOU KNOW,

THERE WAS A CERTAIN IDEALISM,WERE YOU SURPRISED BY IT?

BECAUSE IN THIS COUNTRY, THEUNITED STATES, THE WHITE HOUSE

PRESSURES NEWS ORGANIZATIONSCONSISTENTLY.

THERE ARE METHODS OFINTIMIDATION, MAYBE SUBTLE, THAT

THEY USE.

THERE ARE NEWS NETWORKS THATWE HAVE THAT JUST PROMOTE THEIR

OWN AGENDA, AND IF TRUTH HAPPENSTO BE PART OF IT, GEE, WHAT A,

WHAT A NICE BONUS.

>> I KNOW, BUT JON, I THINK...I STILL REALLY BELIEVE, AND I

THINK MAYBE THAT IS IDEALISTIC,TOO, BUT I THINK THAT'S WRONG.

AND YOU KNOW, OF COURSE I'M, YOUKNOW, YOU'VE GOT TO GET

INTO THESE THINGS WITHYOUR EYES OPEN.

IT'S NOT THAT STRAIGHTFORWARDAND THERE ARE...YOU KNOW, IT'S

NOT BLACK AND WHITE.

THERE ARE A MILLION SHADES OFGRAY WHEN IT COMES TO REALLY

COMPLEX SITUATIONS HAPPENING INTHE WORLD, BUT THERE IS STILL A

BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEENA TRUTH AND A LIE.

AND I DON'T THINK YOU SHOULDEVER, EVER WORK TO AN AGENDA

THAT'S COUNTER COMPLETELYTO THE TRUTH.

SO PERSPECTIVE IS GREAT.>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> AND THE MORE PEOPLE YOU CANHAVE OUT THERE ON THE MEDIA

LANDSCAPE GIVING THEIROPINIONS AND TELLING

DIFFERENT POINTS OF THE STORYAND GETTING INTO

UNDER-REPORTED STORIES, ANDTHAT'S WONDERFUL, BUT, YOU KNOW,

THE TRUTH IS STILL THE TRUTH,AND I THINK YOU

NEED TO REMEMBER THAT BECAUSE,YOU KNOW, WE'RE ALL ON THE SAME

TEAM HERE.

WE'RE ALL TRYING TO GET THEFACTS OF THE SITUATION, AND I

JUST THINK SORT OF POINTINGFINGERS IN ALL DIFFERENT

DIRECTIONS AND MISLEADING.

IT CONFUSES US ALL.

AND, YOU KNOW, THE TRUTH ISHARD.

IT'S NOT AN EASY THING TO FACEUP TO A LOT OF THE TIME.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

SO YOU'RE GOING TO I GUESS LEAVETHE NEWS BUSINESS THEN.

[LAUGHTER]>> WELL...

>> Jon: IS THERE A PLACE THATYOU ADMIRE?

IS THERE PLACE THAT YOU FEELLIKE IS DOING IT RIGHT?

OR DO YOU FEEL LIKE THISMENTALITY OF PROPAGANDA HAS

DISSIPATED, HAS GONE INTO ALLFACTIONS OF NEWS?

IS IT, IS IT AN EYE-OPENINGEXPERIENCE THAT MAKES YOU

CYNICAL? ARE YOU HOPEFUL?

WHAT'S YOUR...

>> IT WOULD BE SO EASY TO BECYNICAL.

>>Jon: YES.

>> BUT, BUT I'M, YOU KNOW, I'MA HUGE FAN OF NEW FORMS OF USING

THE MEDIA. I LOVE BEING ONLINEON YOUTUBE AND I OFTEN DO

MY VIDEO REPORTS ONTHERE AND TWITTER.

SO, YOU KNOW WHAT, NO, I THINKTHERE ARE A MILLION MORE WAYS

THESE DAYS THAT WE CAN LOSECONTEXT WITH A STORY AND WE'RE

ALL CHASING SEXY SOUND BITES ANDWE'RE ALL LOOKING FOR THAT BIG

SCOOP AND TO GAIN ATTENTION,AND, YOU KNOW, THERE ARE SO

MANY MORE WAYS TO DO THAT,BUT AT THE SAME TIME, THERE'S

ALL THESE WAYS THAT WE CANALL BE INVOLVED AND GET THE

TRUTH OUT THERE, AS WELL.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> SO I DEFINITELY FEELOPTIMISTIC BECAUSE I THINK

PEOPLE ARE BECOMING REALLYDISCERNING.

AND THAT'S WHAT I FOUND VERYREASSURING ABOUT R.T.

IS THAT A LOT OF THE TIME WEWERE VERY OPENLY BEING CALLED

ON WHAT WE WERE DOING WRONG.

AND THAT CERTAINLY GAVE ME THEENCOURAGEMENT AND...

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> AND, YOU KNOW, THE ABILITY TOLOOK AT THAT AND SAY THAT, YEAH,

IT WAS WRONG. SO I THINK...

>> Jon: WELL LISTEN, I'M VERYIMPRESSED WITH THE SPIRIT OF

WHAT YOU'RE SAYING.

AND IT JUST SO HAPPENS I'M SOONGOING TO BE ACQUIRING A NEWS

NETWORK.

[LAUGHTER][CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

I JUST RECENTLY SET OUT THEMONEY FOR IT, AND I WILL BE

LOOKING FOR SOME PEOPLE.

I LIKE THE CUT OF YOUR JIB.

I LIKE THE OPTIMISM THAT YOUEXPRESS.

I'D HATE TO RUIN YOU BY PUTTINGYOU AT CNN, BUT STILL...

[LAUGHTER]WHAT DO YOU THINK?

ARE YOU IN?

>> I'LL PUT $5 TOWARDS THATPROJECT.

>> Jon: YOU'RE ALL RIGHT.

SARA FIRTH.

GOOD LUCK IN THE FUTURE ANDCONTINUE THE GOOD REPORTING.

IF YOU GET A CHANCE, SHE'S FILEDSOME TREMENDOUS REPORTS FROM

SYRIA AND AROUND THE WORLD.

AND I WISH YOU THE BEST.

I HOPE THAT IT WORKS OUT.

SARA FIRTH, EVERYBODY.

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