By Mark Wachtler
March 26, 2013. Washington. (ONN) Each year, fewer and fewer Americans trust their TV sets to bring them their daily news. Owned and operated by multi-national corporations with profit-driven agendas, people began noticing that the ‘news’ was suddenly missing from ‘the news’. But hidden among the landscape of establishment network and cable news programs is a diamond in the rough – Abby Martin of RT America.
Abby Martin, host of RT's Breaking the Set.
This column first stumbled across Abby Martin last year when RT America began promoting a new show titled, ‘Breaking the Set’. Anchored by an extraordinarily beautiful woman like most RT shows, the promotional spot seemed like any other on cable or network TV. But it only took two or three minutes of watching the new show before it became apparent that something rare, unique and amazing was happening. It was a genuine news program. And best of all, it was honest, informative and intelligent – and it was on TV. After one episode, this author realized he was witnessing something special – the future of independent media.
For those not familiar, Russia Today, also called RT for short, is a Russian-based news organization with networks, outlets and stations all over the world. Originally created in 2005, the parent company of RT – ANO TV-Novosti – was created to help the Russian Federation repair its image in the eyes of the world and present its side of every story instead of just the West’s. RT America would be Russia’s first global, English-speaking news outlet. On day one, they began with 300 journalists, 70 of which were stationed outside Russia.
Now, Russia Today broadcasts in a number of languages in countries around the world. It is registered and copyrighted as ‘Autonomous Nonprofit Organization TV-Novosti’. To translate, that should mean ‘Independent Media’, at least in the US. In Russia, it’s not so independent.
A 24-hour news network, RT now airs on over 500 cable and 30 satellite channels in over 100 countries. In the US, it is the second-most watched foreign news channel, second only to the longtime leader BBC News. According to Wikipedia, in five urban US markets, RT has already passed BBC to become the most-watched foreign news network.
Breaking the Set
The first time this author watched Abby Martin’s Breaking the Set, her half-hour daily news show on RT, three reactions immediately came to mind. The first was simply, “Wow!” The second was the realization that she was reporting all the subjects blacked-out and censored by the rest of the media. The final reaction was an understanding of the show’s title – Breaking the Set – as in breaking your TV set and stopping it from saturating your brain with pro-government, pro-multi-national corporation propaganda and lies.
Bringing the show’s title to life at the beginning of each episode, the camera follows the amazingly attractive Abby Martin as she puts on her lipstick, seductively puckers her lips, and struts out of her dressing room. In her pink stiletto heels, she picks up a giant sledge hammer and proceeds to single-handedly smash a TV set to smithereens. Pink spiked heels and a sledgehammer – this author’s dream girl.
A quick visit to Breaking the Set’s website finds the show’s description, ‘Breaking the Set is a show that cuts through the false Left/Right paradigm and pre-established narrative set in the corporate news and political establishment.’ Whiteout Press readers might notice that’s exactly the same goal this independent publication set out with when we launched two years ago. It’s no wonder we like the show so much.
When President Obama campaigned for office, he promised he would, “name names” in his quest to root out corruption and national betrayal inside government. But he never did. For our part here at Whiteout Press, we liked the idea so much we wrote and published a four-part series titled just that, ‘Naming Names’. And now, Breaking the Set host Abby Martin adds her voice to the effort. As the website explains, ‘Host Abby Martin undermines the mainstream media propaganda while calling out the real players behind the scenes.’
Being a die-hard viewer of Breaking the Set for some time now, this author can honestly vouch for Abby Martin’s sincerity, passion, and most of all, her effectiveness. Day after day, the sharp, fierce and often-intimidating anchor doesn’t just ask the tough questions, she does the research and answers the questions herself. And so far, those answers have been honest, thorough, impartial and the truth. If Martin has any bias in her reporting, it’s a bias for the American people, all of us, not just the rich and powerful.
Sometimes viewers are exposed to the eye-opening corporate maneuvers of chemical giants like Monsanto and their endless line of genetically-altered food-like products. Other segments expose the seemingly never-ending bailouts of corporations and global banks, as well as the revolving door that gives the appearance of government and Wall Street being one and the same. And watch out if you’re a global energy giant dead set on using and abusing the American people. With a common-sense approach to most subjects, Abby Martin has a unique knack for cutting through the BS and finding the best answer to each question, and making it seem obvious.
Not appearing as an across-the-board anti-war activist, Abby Martin and Breaking the Set are most-definitely against stupid wars, as well as corrupt wars, unjust wars, and wars for higher corporate profits. The show often reminds viewers about indefinite prison camps like Guantanamo Bay. She also isn’t afraid to inform viewers when federal legislation like the National Defense Authorization Act is passed. NDAA officially made every US state an official war zone, suspending the US Constitution and the liberties it guarantees, yet again.
But more than anything, a powerful force and passion emanates from Abby Martin when the topic turns to innocent people, especially young idealistic Americans, being unjustly hurt or killed for political reasons. That’s probably one thing Russia Today is intimately familiar with having its roots in the Russian Federation, and it’s obvious – they don’t like it.
Whether it’s the tragic suicide of Aaron Swartz at the hands of federal prosecutors, or the torture, abuse and retribution being perpetrated against American whistle-blowers like Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bradley Manning, Abby Martin and Breaking the Set are there, giving Americans the straight news that’s all but blacked-out by the nation’s corporate-owned media outlets.
There’s no denying Abby Martin is one tough journalist. She asks politically-uncomfortable questions and doesn’t fall for smoke and mirror answers or meaningless double-talk. Her fans were recently treated to a public episode where the Breaking the Set anchor wasn’t just reporting the news, she became the news.
With multiple press credentials, Martin stumbled upon Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in the halls of Congress. Asking him about his endorsement of Mitt Romney over his own father Ron Paul, Abby Martin suddenly found herself the target of Capitol Hill police. With numerous independent media outlets immediately coming to her defense, including here at Whiteout Press, the controversy seemed to have abated. And later when Senator Paul shocked the nation with his all-day Senate filibuster in an attempt to protest the assassination of American citizens without charge, trial or conviction, Abby Martin was his loudest on-air cheerleader.
Read ‘Rand Paul uses new Friends to terrorize Indy Media’ for details.
"The news shouldn't be left wing or right wing, conservative or liberal. It should be the news. It should be independent" - Mark Wachtler, Whiteout Press founder
Breaking the Set and its passionate host also do something most news shows never do. When airing comments from viewers taken from social media, Abby Martin seems to only pick the harshest and most critical posts and emails. All too often, critics don’t have a problem with Martin, her show or her facts. Instead, they have a problem with a young, strong, attractive, intelligent woman telling them that they might be wrong about something. It’s an age-old social stereotype not just in America, but throughout the world.
But unlike most women who might shy away from undeserved attacks like those, Abby Martin takes it as an opportunity to fight back. She’s a fierce defender of a woman’s right to not only have an informed opinion, but to share it with the world. As she’s acknowledged on air before, some people just have a problem with strong, intelligent women. She’s not apologizing for it, and we hope she never does.
While Abby Martin fiercely gives a voice to the voiceless and defends the defenseless, she also has a softer side. In addition to being one of the most popular independent media journalists in America, Martin is also an artist. A visit to her personal website – AbbyMartin.org – shows off the true beauty of a regular American girl who isn’t afraid to express herself.
As described by her website, ‘When Abby Martin began streaming her thoughts and emotions through a paint brush at 19, she discovered her niche. The elaborate and intricate detail that flows from her onto the canvas in perfect distribution of dots and swirls reflects this introspective artist’s ability to juggle and organize the chaos of the human mind into a comprehensive piece of fully charged beauty.’
The description of her art pieces sheds some light on how Abby Martin’s artistic talents lend to her being such a successful and talented television journalist, ‘The explosive energy of each piece calls to life with psychedelic force the different realities Abby treads as she deconstructs the world around her in constant search of balance and truth.’
Abby Martin isn’t just breaking the set. She’s breaking the mold. And for that, we can only repeat the first thing we ever said about Abby Martin way back when we discovered her news show – she’s our journalistic hero.
Check your local listings to find what channel RT America airs in your city and for the time Breaking the Set airs each day. For more information on the daily news show, visit BreakingTheSet.com. For more information about Abby Martin, visit her website at AbbyMartin.org.