This morning, Tablet columnist Jamie Kirchick was on Russia Today–the state-funded propaganda outlet of the Russian government–to discuss the imminent sentencing of Bradley Manning. But he had no intention of talking about Bradley Manning. Decked out in rainbow suspenders, Kirchick, who is gay, took the opportunity to bash Russia’s draconian anti-gay legislation on its own network. “You have 24 hours a day to lie about the United States and to ignore what’s happening in Russia,” he said. “I’m going to take my two minutes and tell people the truth.”
Watch Kirchick’s performance below:
Kirchick was cut out of the rest of the segment, and according to his Twitter feed, was almost dropped off on the side of the highway on his way to the airport when Russia Today called the taxi company to pull the service. But the cab took him the rest of the way, free of charge.
Russia Today is infamous for its efforts to skew the news in service of the Kremlin, as has been documented by Michael Moynihan in Tablet and by The New Republic’s Jesse Zwick, among others. And this is not the first time a noted commentator has been kicked off the network for speaking his mind. As the Washington Post’s Max Fisher observed, “My own ban from RT was much less exciting. Came after an off-camera fight with a producer over RT’s promotion of anti-Semitic conspiracies.” National Review writer Charles Cooke added, “I went on Russia Today once to talk about Occupy Wall Street. I described Russia as an ‘oligarchy’ and the audio people edited the word out.”
Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.