Abby Martin

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Abby Martin
File:File:Abby Martin RT correspondent.png
Born Abigail Suzanne Martin
September 6, 1984 (1984-09-06) (age )
Oakland, California[1]
Residence Washington, D.C.
Education San Diego State University
Occupation Journalist, artist
Notable credit(s) Media Roots
Breaking The Set
Project Censored
RT America

Abigail Suzanne "Abby" Martin is an American journalist and host of Breaking the Set on RT America network, working from the Washington, D.C., bureau.[2] Before hosting her own show, she was for two years a correspondent for RT America. Martin is also an artist and activist, and she helped found the citizen journalism website Media Roots.[3] She serves on the board of directors of the Media Freedom Foundation, which manages Project Censored.[4][5] Martin appeared in the documentary film Project Censored The Movie: Ending the Reign of Junk Food News (2013),[5] and she co-directed 99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film (2013).[6]

Early life

Martin grew up in Pleasanton, California, where she attended Amador Valley High School, graduating in 2002.[7][8] 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?'"[2] 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.[2][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, a concept proposing that societies have a tendency to divide themselves into ideological opposites.[9] Martin worked for a time as an investigative journalist for a San Diego-based online news site until moving back to Northern California.[10][11] 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]

Graphic arts

After high school, Martin began painting. Themes in her paintings include politics, nature, and psychedelia. She also takes photographs and makes collages. Her works have been exhibited several times around California. She views art as "an amazing outlet" and a "way to interpret the ugly truths in the world and reflect a better future."[1]

Media Roots

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.[3][18][19] Her documentary video footage of Occupy Oakland protests was used by the family of Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old former Marine and Iraq War veteran, 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.[7][20] RT took notice of Martin's work and began using her as a correspondent.[21] In the fall of 2010, she moved to Washington, D.C.[22]

Breaking the Set

Martin began hosting her own show, Breaking the Set, on RT America in September 2012 from Washington, D.C.[23] The show mixes media criticism with investigative journalism.[24] 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",[25] and as a show that "cuts through the false Left/Right paradigm set by the establishment & reports the hard facts".[26] The original opening credits depict Martin applying a sledgehammer to a television tuned to CNN.[27] The current opening depicts Martin traveling in a helicopter over Manhattan's Central Park. According to Rolling Stone magazine, past shows have investigated "Monsanto, Nestle, the U.S. federal electoral system, the drone program, the NSA, Israel, Obama, and even water fluoridation".[24]

In January 2014 Martin discussed the question of Wikipedia's editorial policy in relation to her and the programme that she worked on, challenging the disappearance of the Wikipedia article on her (an article which was later reinstated).[28]

Martin drew widespread media attention when she closed her show on 3 March 2014 with a minute-long statement condemning the Russian military intervention in Ukraine.[29][30] She appeared to be reading from a teleprompter, leading observers to conclude that her remarks were made with the consent of the show's producers.[31][32] 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.[33] 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."[34] 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]


Journalist Nik Afanasjew of Der Tagesspiegel said Martin "looks like a model and acts like a punk."[35] Writer Jeremy Koss described her as "vibrant, artistic and outspoken".[2] Millennial Magazine portrayed Martin as an "unfiltered" media representative for the Millennial generation who reports "stories that deserve public recognition".[36]

Selected work

  • Breaking the Set (2012–present), host
  • RT America (2010–2012), correspondent
  • 99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film (2013), co-director
  • Project Censored the Movie (2013), 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.
  • Media Roots TV (2009–present)
  • The Crisis of Civilization (2011), film poster


  1. 1.0 1.1 Nemire, Jessica (2014-03-21), Talking with Oakland-Born RT America Anchor Abby Martin About Art and Life, SF Weekly, archived from the original on 2014-03-23, 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Koss, Jeremy. (May/June 2013). Real Talk. SOMA Magazine, 27(3): 52-53. Template:Issn
  3. 3.0 3.1 Priesnitz, Wendy. (Sept/Oct 2011). Media Roots. The Media Beat. Natural Life, 141: 26. Template:Issn(Subscription required)
  4. Huff, Mickey. (2012). Censored 2013: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2011-2012. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1609804236. p. 280.
  5. 5.0 5.1 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.
  6. Anderson, John. (January 22, 2013). Review: ‘99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film'. Variety. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 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. 13.0 13.1 Ensor, Josie. "Russia Today host who criticised Kremlin sent to Crimea", The Telegraph (March 4, 2014).
  14. 14.0 14.1 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, 
  17. Riechmann, Deb (March 5, 2014). TV anchorwoman criticizes Kremlin on Ukraine. 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. "Civil disobedience is the only way to go". RT. November 18, 2011.
  19. "Occupy's simple message is key to its success. RT. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  20. Martin, Abby. (October 25, 2011). Occupy Oakland: Police Standoff & Brutal Assault, Tear Gas. Media Roots. YouTube. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  21. Ventura, Tyrel. (August 27, 2013). Abby Martin Discusses Breaking The Set and Her Work at RT. Buzzsaw. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  22. Martin, Robbie. (October 6, 2010). Abby & Robbie Martin Introductions, Obama Administration. Dangerous Conversations. RadioIO.
  23. Bidder, Benjamin. (August 12, 2013). Krieg der Bilder. (English) Der Spiegel, (33): 134-135. Template:Issn. Bidder's article in Der Spiegel also appeared in other news outlets, such as O Estado de S. Paulo in Brazil.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Reitman, Janet (March 27, 2014) The Young Renegade of TV News. Rolling Stone. (1205): 20. (Subscription required)
  25. Breaking the Set. RT. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  26. Breaking the Set: About. YouTube Channel. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  27. Rankin, Jennifer. (December 20, 2012). —Russia Today chases ratings with controversy. Global Post. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  28. "Abby Martin Censored on Wikipedia: Editing Truth by Mob Rule". Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  29. Austin, Henry. News Anchor Slams Crimea Takeover on State-Funded Russian TV. NBC News. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  30. Paget, Antonia. "Russia Today host condemns Ukraine ‘occupation’", The Times (March 4, 2014).
  31. Krishnan, Joe (2014-03-04), Ukraine crisis: Russia Today TV host goes off-message with attack on intervention in Crimea, The Independent, archived from the original on 2014-03-23,, "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." 
  32. Graef, Aileen (2014-03-04), RT news anchor speaks out against Russian intervention, archived from the original on 2014-03-23,, "Media analysts say that Martin was reading from a teleprompter and therefore more than likely had her producer's consent." 
  33. Greenwald, Glenn. (March 4, 2014). RT Host Abby Martin Condemns Russian Incursion Into Crimea – On RT. The Intercept. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  34. "Russia TV host calls Ukraine intervention 'wrong' on-air", BBC News (March 4, 2014).
  35. ". . . die wie ein Modell aussieht, sich wie ein Punk benimmt " Afanasjew, Nik. (December 7, 2013). Putins Massenmedienwaffe. Der Tagesspiegel. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  36. Hysen, Britt (July 28, 2014). RT Host Abby Martin Takes On Corporate Media. Millennial Magazine. Retrieved July 28, 2014.

External links