What It Was Like to Work for Russian State Television

In 2013, Ms. Martin invited Tyrell Ventura, son of Jesse Ventura, a former pro wrestler from Minnesota and governor of the Reform Party, as a guest on his show. He had a YouTube talk show on which he often spoke out against the war and was skeptical of the mainstream media. After his guest appearance, he said, Mr. Solodovnikov said he liked what he heard. He also said Mr. Ventura, who is lean with a clean-shaven head, that his TV appearance was good, Mr. Ventura said.

Mr. Ventura will soon be joined by Mr. Stone, RT for America.

At the same time, Mr. Solodovnikov got a big break. In May 2013, RT America co-starred with Larry King’s Aura TV. King and finally other personalities, including William Shatner and Dennis Miller. Some programs will be created from RT America’s Washington office. Suddenly, there were house names on the network’s roster. John Dickey, chief executive of Aura Media, declined to disclose the value of the deal.

Soon, RT America faced a major public test. In February 2014, Russia invaded and soon occupied the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, then stepped up its aggression and supported separatists who attacked Ukrainian forces in the Donbas region of the country.

RT America usually presents events differently from American news outlets. Former anchor Liz Wahl said her news director told her not to use the word “aggression” and to refer to Russian soldiers as “peacekeepers”.

The network removed a question she asked Ron Paul, a former Texas envoy and presidential candidate, about how the United States should respond to Russia. She said, she said, because she saw a correspondent referring to Ukrainian forces as “neo-Nazi elements.” On March 5, 2014, Ms. Wahl resigned in the air in protest.

“RT is not about the truth,” she said later in an interview with CNN. “It’s about promoting the Putinist agenda, and I can tell you first, it’s about killing America.”

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