Abigail Suzanne Martin|
September 6, 1984
Oakland, California, U.S.
|Residence||New York, New York, U.S.|
|Education||San Diego State University|
Breaking The Set (RT America)
The Empire Files (Telesur English)
Abigail Suzanne Martin (born September 6, 1984) is an American journalist and presenter of The Empire Files, an investigative news program on the satellite network teleSUR English and YouTube. She was formerly the host of Breaking the Set on the Russian network RT America, working from the Washington, D.C. bureau. Before hosting her own show, she had worked for two years as a correspondent for RT America.
Martin is also an artist and activist, and helped found the citizen journalism website Media Roots. She serves on the board of directors for the Media Freedom Foundation which manages Project Censored. Martin appeared in the documentary film Project Censored The Movie: Ending the Reign of Junk Food News (2013), and co-directed 99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film (2013).
Martin grew up in Pleasanton, California, where she attended Amador Valley High School, graduating in 2002. After high school, Martin began painting and photographing, as some of her works were exhibited around California. 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?'" 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. 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. Martin worked for a time as an investigative journalist for a San Diego-based online news site until moving back to Northern California.
In 2008, Martin posted a video showing her support for the 9/11 Truth movement. She has labelled the US government's version of September 11, 2001 as "propaganda". 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." The New York Times described her as a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, 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.
In 2009, Martin founded the organization Media Roots, a citizen journalism platform for reporting news. As an independent journalist with Media Roots, Martin covered the Occupy Oakland (California) actions during the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. Her documentary video footage of Occupy Oakland protests was used by the family of 24-year-old Scott Olsen, who was injured during the protests, in a lawsuit against the Oakland Police Department. Martin's footage was used to argue that the protests were non-violent at the time Olsen was allegedly hit in the head with a police projectile. RT took notice of Martin's work and began using her as a correspondent. In 2012, she moved to Washington, D.C.
Breaking the Set
Martin began hosting her own show, Breaking the Set, on RT America in September 2012 from Washington, D.C. The show mixes media criticism with investigative journalism. 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", and as a show that "cuts through the false Left/Right paradigm set by the establishment & reports the hard facts". The original opening credits depict Martin applying a sledgehammer to a television tuned to CNN. 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".
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. 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. 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. 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." 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."
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". 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."
The Empire Files
The Empire Files is hosted by teleSUR, which is funded by several Latin American governments, but is editorially independent. Martin said "The show is totally independent of teleSUR ... We merely sell them the content; they have zero control over anything we do".
Writer Jeremy Koss described her as "vibrant, artistic and outspoken". Millennial Magazine portrayed Martin as an "unfiltered" media representative for the Millennial generation who reports "stories that deserve public recognition".
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." Author and media consultant Chez Pazienza criticized Martin for being a 9/11 Truther, a term also used to describe her by a Mediaite columnist. 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".
- 99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film (2013), co-director
- Project Censored the Movie (2013), as herself
- The Choice Is Ours (2016), as herself
- 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.
- Media Roots TV (2009–present)
- 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
- Marketwired (September 3, 2015). "teleSUR Launches New Investigative TV Show Hosted by Abby Martin". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
- Malavé, Helga (August 27, 2015). "Abby Martin Launches Investigative News Show for teleSUR". TeleSUR. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
- "Empire Files". YouTube. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
- Koss, Jeremy (May–June 2013). "Real Talk". SOMA Magazine. 27 (3): 52–53. ISSN 0896-5005.
- Priesnitz, Wendy. (Sept/Oct 2011). Media Roots. The Media Beat. Natural Life, 141: 26. ISSN 0701-8002(subscription required)
- Huff, Mickey. (2012). Censored 2013: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2011–2012. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1609804236. p. 280.
- 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.
- Anderson, John. (January 22, 2013). Review: ‘99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film'. Variety. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- Martin, Abby. (March 13, 2012). Presentation on Citizen Journalism. Media Literacy: Corporate Propaganda & Advocating Independent Journalism. Project Censored. San Francisco State University.
- Ciardelli, Dolores Fox. (September 6, 2002). Leaving for college. Pleasanton Weekly. Retrieved January 22, 2014.
- Mckenty, Doug. (September 12, 2011). Interview with Abby Martin of Media Roots. Thursday Morning Report. KZYX. Event occurs from 1:58—3:26.
- Saportas, Oriana. (August 4, 2010). Interview with Abby Martin about Media Roots. Berkeley Community Media. Media Roots.
- Kerkman, Cassandra. Mosco, Oskar (ed). (July 31, 2012). MR Founder Abby Martin – Activist Turned Journalist. Media Roots.
- 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).
- Ensor, Josie. "Russia Today host who criticised Kremlin sent to Crimea", The Telegraph (March 4, 2014).
- Mackey, Robert (March 4, 2014). Russia Today Host Has Roots in '9/11 Truth' Movement. The New York Times. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
- 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."
- Schlanger, Zoë. (March 5, 2014). "RT America Anchor Resigns In Protest Of 'White-Washed' Ukraine Coverage." Newsweek. (subscription required)
- 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."
- "Abby Martin on Twitter".
- "Civil disobedience is the only way to go". RT. November 18, 2011.
- "Occupy's simple message is key to its success. RT. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- Martin, Abby. (October 25, 2011). Occupy Oakland: Police Standoff & Brutal Assault, Tear Gas. Media Roots. YouTube. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- Ventura, Tyrel. (August 27, 2013). Abby Martin Discusses Breaking The Set and Her Work at RT. Buzzsaw. TheLip.tv. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
- 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.
- 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.
- Reitman, Janet (March 27, 2014) The Young Renegade of TV News. Rolling Stone. (1205): 20. (subscription required)
- Breaking the Set. RT. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- Breaking the Set: About. YouTube Channel. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- Rankin, Jennifer. (December 20, 2012). —Russia Today chases ratings with controversy. GlobalPost. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- Austin, Henry. News Anchor Slams Crimea Takeover on State-Funded Russian TV. NBC News. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
- Paget, Antonia. "Russia Today host condemns Ukraine 'occupation'", The Times (March 4, 2014).
- 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.
- 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.
- Greenwald, Glenn. (March 4, 2014). RT Host Abby Martin Condemns Russian Incursion Into Crimea – On RT. The Intercept. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
- "Russia TV host calls Ukraine intervention 'wrong' on-air", BBC News (March 4, 2014).
- Martin, Abby (February 18, 2015) "Never Stop Breaking the Set". Media Roots. Archived from the original on February 27, 2015.
- Gray, Rosie (February 19, 2015). "RT Host Who Criticized Russia’s Ukraine Invasion Is Leaving The Network". BuzzFeed. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
- 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.
- "The Empire Files". Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- Norton, Ben (3 June 2017). "Venezuelan Opposition Spreads Lies About U.S. Journalists, Inciting Violence, Death Threats". AlterNet. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- "Empire Files: Silencing Palestine With Prison and Repression". Truthout. 21 April 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- "The Empire Files: Chevron vs. the Amazon – Inside the Killzone". The Real News. 16 August 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- Hysen, Britt (July 28, 2014). RT Host Abby Martin Takes On Corporate Media. Millennial Magazine. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
- "March 4 Updates on Ukraine Crisis". New York Times. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- "The Truth(er) About Abby Martin". Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- Wilstein, Matt. "RT Anchor Who Condemned Russian Invasion Is Also a 9/11 Truther". Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- "Liz Wahl: RT 'whitewashes' Putin's actions". msnbc. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- "99% // The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film". 99percentfilm.com. Archived from the original on November 14, 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
- "IMDb: Project Censored the Movie (2013)". imdb.com. IMDb. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
- "The Venus Project". imdb.com. The Venus Project. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- "Reporting From Outside Party Lines". mediaroots.org. Media Roots. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
- "Project Censored — The News that Didn't Make the News and Why". projectcensored.org. Project Censored.
- "Media Roots TV – Reporting From Outside Party Lines". mediaroots.org. Media Roots.
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