In this case, one can actually sympathize with Vladimir Putin. When an oligarch spends this kind of money on a propaganda machine, shouldn’t it stay bought? Abby Martin didn’t get the memo, but her editors did (via Mashable):

Shortly before wrapping up her show on the international, multilingual Russia Today (RT) network, Abby Martin announced she, “wanted to say something from my heart about the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s military occupation of Crimea.”

“What Russia did is wrong,” she said. “I admittedly don’t know as much about Ukraine’s history or the cultural dynamics of the region, but what I do know is that military intervention is never the answer, and I will not sit here and apologize or defend military aggression.”

Working for the station funded by the Russian government and broadcast in around 100 countries, would not compromise her editorial independence, she added.

“I can’t stress enough how strongly I am against any state intervention in a sovereign nation’s affairs,” she said.

Martin slammed the media coverage from everyone, but took particular aim at her own network:

Signing off she vowed to keep telling the truth as she saw it, and promised to return to the show that RT describes as cutting “through the pre-written narrative that tries to tell you what to think and what to care about” on Tuesday.

France 24 slammed the “propaganda machine” and offered a fact-check of the most outrageous claims coming from Russian media – most of which either originated at RT or was parroted by the broadcaster:

Over the weekend, Russia’s propaganda machine appeared to have gone into overdrive. As Russian troops and military hardware rolled into the Crimean peninsula, the country’s media were busy whipping up support for an armed incursion. Russian television even announced it was cancelling coverage of Sunday night’s Oscars to concentrate on the crisis next-door. The situation has led Ukrainian media bosses to publish an open letter in which they urge their Russian counterparts to report with balance and objectivity. In parts of eastern Ukraine and Crimea, Russian is the only language spoken: that makes Russian-language media the only source of news.

On Sunday, state news broadcaster Russia Today published an article alleging that 675,000 people had fled Ukraine’s “revolutionary chaos” in the past two months into Russia. The source of the figure appears to be Russia’s border guard service. The same day, state network Channel One Russia [ORT] broadcast these images claiming to show Ukrainians pouring into Russia. But in the same report, a sign is visible at 0:14 with the name of the crossing – ‘Shegyni-Medyka’ – which is actually situated on Ukraine’s border with Poland. ORT’s willingness to read from the same script as President Putin could be explained by the man who currently sits on its board of directors: Alexey Gromov. Once President Putin’s press secretary, Gromov is now Putin’s deputy chief of staff.

Russian media has been running footage of what they claim are attacks on Ukrainian government buildings by hooligans associated with the Euromaidan uprising in Kyiv. However, a closer look reveals a hint of staging:

A closer look at the video may help shine some light on the identity of the alleged assailants. The fighters appear to be armed with GM 94 grenade launchers and AK-100 machine guns: according to a weapons expert contacted by FRANCE 24, these sophisticated weapons are normally used by the Russian military. The yellow bus that the masked men use to make their getaway also seems out of place: that’s because this bus also belongs to the city’s local zoo, and can be seen on the zoo’s official website. Towards the end of the same footage captured live by French channel BFM TV, the armed men can be seen running back onto the same bus. At the one minute mark, the markings of a zoo animal can be seen on the vehicle door that closely resembles those found on the zoo bus shown here. Also visible on the front of the vehicle is ‘Тайган’, the name of the local zoo which translates to English as ‘Taigan’.

Basically, RT and the Russian media have been a non-stop clown show save for Martin’s brief statement, as Buzzfeed and The Week have already pointed out. It’s not as though the American media did all that much better, though, at least before the invasion.

So what happened when this went out to air in Russia? According to The Blaze and a pop-up in the YouTube video, it got censored, although this hasn’t been independently confirmed yet. (If it did, it would have to have been censored on rebroadcast — otherwise the video wouldn’t exist.) Assuming that’s accurate, it appears Putin is indeed getting his money’s worth out of RT these days.

Update (Allahpundit): RT’s decided to ship Martin off to Crimea to help fill the “gaps” in her knowledge about whether military action is warranted. I wonder what she’ll conclude when she gets back.

Update (Allahpundit): Presumably her next “assignment” is Siberia, then:

Miss Martin however told the Telegraph: “I am not going to Crimea despite the statement RT has made.”