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Abby Martin

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Abby Martin
Abby Martin RT correspondent.png
Abby Martin in 2012 as RT America correspondent
Abigail Suzanne Martin

(1984-09-06) September 6, 1984 (age 34)
ResidenceNew York, New York, U.S.
EducationSan Diego State University
OccupationJournalist, activist, artist
Notable credit(s)
Media Roots
Breaking The Set (RT America)
Project Censored
The Empire Files (Telesur English)

Abigail Suzanne Martin is an American citizen journalist and presenter.[2][3] From 2015 to 2018 she hosted The Empire Files on teleSUR English, a network co-funded by the Venezuelan government.[4][5] She was formerly the host of Breaking the Set on the network RT America, working from the Washington, D.C. bureau.[6] Before hosting her own show, she had worked for two years as a correspondent for RT America.

Early life[edit]

Martin grew up in Pleasanton, California, where she attended Amador Valley High School, graduating in 2002.[7][8] After high school, Martin began painting and photographing, as some of her works were exhibited around California.[1] She became interested in journalism when her old high school boyfriend enlisted in the military after the September 11 attacks in 2001. "I didn't want him going to war, let alone fighting in one", she recalls. "I began to critically ask 'What is really going on?'"[6] By the time she was a sophomore at San Diego State University, she began questioning what she called the "selling" of the Iraq War by the media.[6][7] She received an undergraduate degree in political science and minored in Spanish.

In 2004, she campaigned for John Kerry's presidential campaign, but became disillusioned with the left–right paradigm.[9] Martin worked for a San Diego-based online news site until moving back to Northern California.[10][11]

9/11 conspiracy theories[edit]

In 2008, Martin posted a video showing her support for the 9/11 Truth movement.[12] She has labelled the US government's version of September 11, 2001 as "propaganda".[13] During the administration of President George W. Bush she said of the attacks: "I've researched it for three years and every single thing that I uncover solidifies my belief that it was an inside job and that our government was complicit in what happened."[14][15][16] The New York Times described her as a 9/11 conspiracy theorist,[14] but Martin told the Associated Press in March 2014 that she "no longer subscribes" to the theory that 9/11 was an inside job as she did earlier.[17]

Journalism career[edit]

Media Roots[edit]

In 2009, Martin helped found the citizen journalism website Media Roots.[18] In 2012, she moved to Washington, D.C.[19]

Breaking the Set[edit]

Martin began hosting her own show, Breaking the Set, on RT America in September 2012 from Washington, D.C.[20] The show mixes media criticism with investigative journalism.[21] It describes itself as "a show that cuts through the pre-written narrative that tries to tell you what to think, and what to care about",[22] and as a show that "cuts through the false Left/Right paradigm set by the establishment & reports the hard facts".[23] The original opening credits depict Martin applying a sledgehammer to a television tuned to CNN.[24] A later version of the opening credits depicted Martin traveling in a helicopter over Manhattan's Central Park. According to Rolling Stone magazine, past shows investigated "Monsanto, Nestle, the U.S. federal electoral system, the drone program, the NSA, Israel, Obama, and water fluoridation".[21]

Martin drew widespread media attention when she closed her show on March 3, 2014, with a minute-long statement condemning the Russian military intervention in Ukraine.[25][26][27] She appeared to be reading from a teleprompter, leading observers to suppose that her remarks were made with the consent of the show's producers.[28][29] Glenn Greenwald wrote a piece that compared Martin's statement favorably to the behavior of the United States media during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[30] RT also issued a statement saying: "Contrary to the popular opinion, RT doesn't beat its journalists into submission, and they are free to express their own opinions, not just in private but on the air."[31] RT added: "[W]e'll be sending her to Crimea to give her an opportunity to make up her own mind from the epicentre of the story." Martin declined the offer, saying "I am not going to Crimea despite the statement RT has made."[13]

The Breaking the Set program came to an end in February 2015, with Martin leaving RT and stating she had "decided to focus on investigative field reporting".[32][33] Speaking for RT, Anna Belkina told BuzzFeed: "Abby decided that this is the time for her to try something new. We are proud of the great work she has done as the host of Breaking the Set."[33][34]

The Empire Files 2015-2018[edit]

Abby Martin interviewing a member of the Green Cross during the 2017 Venezuelan protests

Abby Martin launched a new program, The Empire Files, in 2015. Martin directs the show, and journalist and activist Michael Prysner produces it.[35]

The Empire Files is hosted by teleSUR, which is funded by several Latin American governments. Martin said "The show is totally independent of teleSUR ... We merely sell them the content; they have zero control over anything we do".[36] The program was forced to shut their operations completely in August 2018, when wire connection was cut off to the USA, due to US sanctions against Venezuela, after having suffered heavy financial dificulties caused by "financial attacks" by the US government, according to Media Roots.[37][38] Abby Martin has resumed the Empire Files as of November 2018.

She serves on the board of directors for the Media Freedom Foundation which manages Project Censored.[39][40]


Millennial Magazine portrayed Martin as an "unfiltered" media representative for the Millennial generation who reports "stories that deserve public recognition".[41]

Martin was highly criticized for her past support of the 9/11 truth movement. New York Times columnist Robert Mackey, in a 2014 blog post, said that Martin "surprised some [RT America] viewers ... when she voiced on-air remarks critical of the Russian 'occupation of Crimea,' " but added, "Ms. Martin's comments were less surprising to viewers more familiar with her work as a commentator and antiwar activist whose animating obsession has been her conviction that the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were part of a government conspiracy."[42] Author and media consultant Chez Pazienza criticized Martin for being a 9/11 Truther,[43] a term also used to describe her by a Mediaite columnist.[44]

Former RT anchor Liz Wahl said: "RT’s Abby Martin says things the Kremlin likes ... A narrative that I find to be propagandous and hostile toward the West".[45]On September 8th, 2018 Martin stated that she had more journalistic freedom while working with RT than any other American news outlet.[46]

Selected work[edit]


  • 99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film (2013), co-director[47]
  • Project Censored the Movie (2013), as herself[48]
  • The Choice Is Ours (2016), as herself[49]


  • Martin, Abby. (2011). Framing the Messengers: Junk Food News and News Abuse for Dummies. In Mickey Huff (Ed.) Censored 2012: The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2010–11. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1609803582.
  • Martin, Abby. (2011). Media Democracy in Action. In Mickey Huff (Ed.) Censored 2012: The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2010–11. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1609803582.
  • Martin, Abby. (2015). The Unheard Story of Hurricane Katrina, Blackwater, White Militias & Community Empowerment: An interview with scott crow and Malik Rahim. In scott crow (Ed.) Emergency Hearts, Molotov Dreams: A scott crow Reader. GTK Press. ISBN 9780996546003.
  • Martin, Abby (2018) Project Censored. Forward by Abby Martin.


  • Media Roots Radio (2010–present)[50]
  • Project Censored, KPFA (94.1 FM), co-host [51]


  • Media Roots TV (2009–present)[52]


  1. ^ a b Nemire, Jessica (March 21, 2014), Talking with Oakland-Born RT America Anchor Abby Martin About Art and Life, SF Weekly, archived from the original on March 23, 2014
  2. ^ "Russia Today presenter goes off-script". BBC News. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  3. ^ Bakir, Vian (2018). Intelligence Elites and Public Accountability: Relationships of Influence with Civil Society (Studies in Intelligence). Routledge. p. 148.
  4. ^ Marketwired (September 3, 2015). "teleSUR Launches New Investigative TV Show Hosted by Abby Martin". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  5. ^ Malavé, Helga (August 27, 2015). "Abby Martin Launches Investigative News Show for teleSUR". TeleSUR. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Koss, Jeremy (May–June 2013). "Real Talk". SOMA Magazine. 27 (3): 52–53. ISSN 0896-5005.
  7. ^ a b Martin, Abby. (March 13, 2012). Presentation on Citizen Journalism. Media Literacy: Corporate Propaganda & Advocating Independent Journalism. Project Censored. San Francisco State University.
  8. ^ Ciardelli, Dolores Fox. (September 6, 2002). Leaving for college. Pleasanton Weekly. Retrieved January 22, 2014.
  9. ^ Mckenty, Doug. (September 12, 2011). Interview with Abby Martin of Media Roots. Thursday Morning Report. KZYX. Event occurs from 1:58—3:26.
  10. ^ Saportas, Oriana. (August 4, 2010). Interview with Abby Martin about Media Roots. Berkeley Community Media. Media Roots.
  11. ^ Kerkman, Cassandra. Mosco, Oskar (ed). (July 31, 2012). MR Founder Abby Martin – Activist Turned Journalist. Media Roots.
  12. ^ Ortega, Tony. "Glenn Greenwald lauds bravery of RT's Abby Martin, then NY Times outs her as 9/11 Truther", The Raw Story (March 4, 2014).
  13. ^ a b Ensor, Josie. "Russia Today host who criticised Kremlin sent to Crimea", The Telegraph (March 4, 2014).
  14. ^ a b Mackey, Robert (March 4, 2014). Russia Today Host Has Roots in '9/11 Truth' Movement. The New York Times. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  15. ^ Sullivan, Margaret. "Was a Post on Russia Today's Abby Martin a 'Hit Piece'?", The Public Editor’s Journal Blog, The New York Times (March 5, 2014): "I did not read it as an attack or as a hit piece."
  16. ^ Schlanger, Zoë. (March 5, 2014). "RT America Anchor Resigns In Protest Of 'White-Washed' Ukraine Coverage." Newsweek. (subscription required)
  17. ^ Riechmann, Deb (March 5, 2014). TV anchorwoman criticizes Kremlin on Ukraine. (Archived March 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.) Associated Press. "She once protested with the 9/11 Truth movement, which alleges that U.S. government officials might have been complicit in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a theory to which Martin says she no longer subscribes."
  18. ^ Priesnitz, Wendy. (Sept/Oct 2011). Media Roots. The Media Beat. Natural Life, 141: 26. ISSN 0701-8002(subscription required)
  19. ^ Butter, Susannah (12 March 2014). "'I feel like I'm in House of Cards': an exclusive interview with Abby Martin, the Russia Today presenter who spoke out about Ukraine". Evening Standard.
  20. ^ Bidder, Benjamin. (August 12, 2013). Krieg der Bilder. (English) Der Spiegel, (33): 134–135. ISSN 0038-7452. Bidder's article in Der Spiegel also appeared in other news outlets, such as O Estado de S. Paulo Archived September 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. in Brazil.
  21. ^ a b Reitman, Janet (March 27, 2014) The Young Renegade of TV News. Rolling Stone. (1205): 20. (subscription required)
  22. ^ Breaking the Set. RT. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  23. ^ Breaking the Set: About. YouTube Channel. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  24. ^ Rankin, Jennifer. (December 20, 2012). —Russia Today chases ratings with controversy. GlobalPost. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  25. ^ Austin, Henry. News Anchor Slams Crimea Takeover on State-Funded Russian TV. NBC News. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  26. ^ Paget, Antonia. "Russia Today host condemns Ukraine 'occupation'", The Times (March 4, 2014).
  27. ^ "Ukraine crisis: Could Russia Today turn you into a Putin propagandist?". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-08-25.
  28. ^ Krishnan, Joe (March 4, 2014), Ukraine crisis: Russia Today TV host goes off-message with attack on intervention in Crimea, The Independent, archived from the original on March 23, 2014, However, sharp-eyed viewers may have noticed that she was reading from the auto-cue and, therefore, presumably had permission from producers of the show to express her beliefs.
  29. ^ Graef, Aileen (March 4, 2014), RT news anchor speaks out against Russian intervention, UPI, archived from the original on March 23, 2014, Media analysts say that Martin was reading from a teleprompter and therefore more than likely had her producer's consent.
  30. ^ Greenwald, Glenn. (March 4, 2014). RT Host Abby Martin Condemns Russian Incursion Into Crimea – On RT. The Intercept. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  31. ^ "Russia TV host calls Ukraine intervention 'wrong' on-air", BBC News (March 4, 2014).
  32. ^ Martin, Abby (February 18, 2015) "Never Stop Breaking the Set". Media Roots. Archived from the original on February 27, 2015.
  33. ^ a b Gray, Rosie (February 19, 2015). "RT Host Who Criticized Russia’s Ukraine Invasion Is Leaving The Network". BuzzFeed. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  34. ^ Gray, Rosie (March 9, 2015). "Jesse Ventura's Son And Oliver Stone's Son Get A Show At Russia Today". BuzzFeed. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  35. ^ "The Empire Files". Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  36. ^ Norton, Ben (3 June 2017). "Venezuelan Opposition Spreads Lies About U.S. Journalists, Inciting Violence, Death Threats". AlterNet. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  37. ^ "US Sanctions Take Aim at Venezuela and TeleSUR, Force Abby Martin's "Empire Files" to Shut Down". MintPress News. 2018-08-23. Retrieved 2018-08-25.
  38. ^ "US Sanctions Shut Down 'The Empire Files' with Abby Martin". MEDIA ROOTS – Reporting From Outside Party Lines. Retrieved 2018-08-25.
  39. ^ Huff, Mickey. (2012). Censored 2013: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2011–2012. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1609804236. p. 280.
  40. ^ Huff, Mickey. (2013). Censored 2014: Fearless Speech in Fateful Times; The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2012–13. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1609804953. p. 264.
  41. ^ Hysen, Britt (July 28, 2014). RT Host Abby Martin Takes On Corporate Media. Millennial Magazine. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  42. ^ "March 4 Updates on Ukraine Crisis". New York Times. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  43. ^ "The Truth(er) About Abby Martin". Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  44. ^ Wilstein, Matt. "RT Anchor Who Condemned Russian Invasion Is Also a 9/11 Truther". Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  45. ^ "Liz Wahl: RT 'whitewashes' Putin's actions". msnbc. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  46. ^ Jimmy Dore Comedy Solid Chat Saturday,
  47. ^ "99% // The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film". Archived from the original on November 14, 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  48. ^ "IMDb: Project Censored the Movie (2013)". IMDb. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  49. ^ "The Venus Project". The Venus Project. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  50. ^ "Reporting From Outside Party Lines". Media Roots. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  51. ^ "Project Censored — The News that Didn't Make the News and Why". Project Censored.
  52. ^ "Media Roots TV – Reporting From Outside Party Lines". Media Roots.

External links[edit]