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Abigail Suzanne Martin (born September 6, 1984) is an American citizen journalist and presenter who hosts the web series The Empire Files.

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)
ResidenceLos Angeles, California
EducationSan Diego State University
OccupationJournalist, activist, artist
Notable credit(s)
Media Roots
Breaking The Set (RT America)
Project Censored
The Empire Files (Telesur English)

She hosted Breaking the Set on the Russian network RT America from 2012 to 2015. In 2015, Martin launched The Empire Files, an interview and documentary series, hosted by Telesur.


Early lifeEdit

Martin grew up in Pleasanton, California, where she attended Amador Valley High School, graduating in 2002.[2] After high school, Martin began painting and photography, 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?'"[3] 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.[3] She received an undergraduate degree in political science and minored in Spanish.

In 2004, Martin canvassed for John Kerry's presidential campaign but eventually became disillusioned with the Democratic Party.[4] She worked for a San Diego-based online news site until moving back to Northern California.[5][better source needed]


9/11 conspiracy theoriesEdit

In 2008, Martin was part of the 9/11 Truth movement,[6][7][8][9][10][11] A 2015 BuzzFeed News article stated that besides 9/11 conspiracy theories, she "frequently showcased other conspiracy theories".[11]

Shortly after beginning her show on RT, Martin stated in an interview with Mark Crispin Miller that "the media dismisses things that are too controversial as conspiracy theory".[12] In March 2014, Martin told the Associated Press that she "no longer subscribes" to the theory that 9/11 was an inside job as she did earlier.[13]

Media RootsEdit

In 2009, Martin helped found the citizen journalism website Media Roots. She co-hosts the Media Roots Radio podcast with her brother, Robbie Martin.[14] Later, she became a supporter of the Occupy movement.[15]

Martin is on the board of directors for the Media Freedom Foundation which manages Project Censored.[citation needed]

Breaking the SetEdit

From 2012 to 2015, Martin hosted her own show, Breaking the Set, on RT America.[16][17] The show mixed media criticism with investigative journalism and described itself as "a show that cuts through the false left/right paradigm set by the establishment and reports the hard facts".[18] The original opening credits depict Martin applying a sledgehammer to a television tuned to CNN.[19] Shows investigated Monsanto, Nestle, the U.S. federal electoral system, the Unmanned combat aerial vehicle or drone program, the National Security Agency(NSA), Israel, Barack Obama, and water fluoridation.[20]

In 2014, Martin and colleague Liz Wahl began criticizing RT’s coverage of the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. Martin closed her show on March 3, 2014 with a minute-long statement condemning the Russian military intervention in Ukraine.[21][22][23] On March 5, Wahl went off script and resigned her job during her live segment while denouncing her employer RT, with the video immediately going viral.[24]

Glenn Greenwald compared Martin's statement favorably to the unquestioning behavior of the United States media during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[25]

Critics of Martin argue that she appeared to be reading from a teleprompter, implying that her remarks were made with the consent of the show's producers.[26][27]

RT 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."[28] 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."[29]

The New York Times wrote that RT notified Martin that what she had said about Ukraine was "not in line with our editorial policy".[30]

Breaking the Set came to an end in February 2015, with Martin deciding to "focus on investigative field reporting".[31][11] 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."[11][32]

In January 2017, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report titled, Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections, following allegations of Russian involvement in the 2016 United States presidential election. The report accused Breaking the Set of being critical of the United States and Western governments, stating that it had been promoting "radical discontent."[33]

The Empire FilesEdit

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

In September 2015, Martin launched The Empire Files, an interview and documentary series. The show was originally hosted by Telesur English, a media outlet funded by several Latin American governments. Martin clarified, "The show is totally independent of Telesur. We merely sell them the content; they have zero control over anything we do".[34] The show has featured interviews with Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Jill Stein and Rafael Correa and on-the-scene reports on the Palestinian refugee camps, the 2017 Venezuelan protests and the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston.[35]

In 2018, increasingly stringent sanctions on Venezuela imposed by the Trump administration allegedly obstructed wire transfers to Telesur, thereby impeding the network's funding of The Empire Files. Starting in August 2018, The Empire Files moved to a donation model to continue production.[36][37]


Millennial Magazine said that Martin was an "unfiltered" media representative for the Millennial generation who reports "stories that deserve public recognition".[38] Journalist Michael C. Moynihan states that "Martin’s politics are odious and frequently incoherent".[39][why?]

Martin was criticized for her past support of the 9/11 truth movement. In 2014 New York Times columnist Robert Mackey contrasted Martins critical remarks on the occupation of Crimea with her conviction "that the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were part of a government conspiracy."[40] Author and media consultant Chez Pazienza criticized Martin for being a 9/11 Truther.[41]

British media campaigner of and co-editor of Media Lens, David Cromwell, states that Martin is a "superb independent journalist ... who has risked her life to report what the corporate media is not telling you about Venezuela".[42] Pro-Bolivarian Revolution website Venezuelanalysis describes Martin as a "[r]enowned journalist".[43] Regarding her work on Venezuela, libertarian journalist and author John Stossel states that Martin "does government-funded propaganda for Telesur".[44] On September 8th, 2018 Martin stated on a live Internet broadcast that she had more journalistic freedom while working with RT than at any other American news outlet.[45]

Selected workEdit


  • 99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film (2013), co-director[46]
  • Project Censored the Movie (2013), as herself[47]
  • The Choice Is Ours (2016), as herself[48]


  • 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. Foreword by Abby Martin.


  • Media Roots Radio (2010–present)[49]
  • Project Censored, KPFA (94.1 FM), co-host[50]


  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. ^ Ciardelli, Dolores Fox (September 6, 2002). "Leaving for college". Pleasanton Weekly. Retrieved January 22, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Koss, Jeremy (May – June 2013). "Real Talk". SOMA Magazine. 27 (3): 52–53. ISSN 0896-5005.
  4. ^ Mckenty, Doug (September 12, 2011). "Interview with Abby Martin of Media Roots". Morning Report. KZYX. (Event occurs from 1:58—3:26.)
  5. ^ Kerkman, Cassandra; Mosco, Oskar, eds. (July 31, 2012). "MR Founder Abby Martin – Activist Turned Journalist". Media Roots.
  6. ^ Mackey, Robert (March 4, 2014). "Russia Today Host Has Roots in '9/11 Truth' Movement". The New York Times. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
  7. ^ Journal, Lucia Graves, National (March 5, 2014). "Confessions of a Former RT Employee". The Atlantic. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  8. ^ "WATCH: Russia Today Host Goes Rogue On Ukraine Occupation". HuffPost UK. March 4, 2014. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  9. ^ Kirchick, James (March 12, 2015). "Putin TV Hires Conspiracy Royalty". Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  10. ^ "RT journalist quits live on air, citing Russian intervention in Crimea". The Washington Post. 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d Gray, Rosie (February 19, 2015). "RT Host Who Criticized Russia's Ukraine Invasion Is Leaving The Network". BuzzFeed. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  12. ^ "[40] Staged Terror, Fukushima Crime Syndicate, Conspiracy Reality", Breaking the Set, November 1, 2012, retrieved February 18, 2019
  13. ^ Riechmann, Deb (March 5, 2014). "TV anchorwoman criticizes Kremlin on Ukraine". Big Story. Associated Press. Archived from the original on March 22, 2014. 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
  14. ^ Priesnitz, Wendy (September – October 2011). "Media Roots". Natural Life. 141 (26). ISSN 0701-8002. Archived from the original on June 11, 2014. (subscription required)
  15. ^ Butter, Susannah (March 12, 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.
  16. ^ van Zuylen-Wood, Simon (May 4, 2017). "At RT, News Breaks You". Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  17. ^ Bidder, Benjamin. "Putin's Weapon in the War of Images". Der Spiegel. 33. pp. 134–135. ISSN 0038-7452.
    Bidder's article also appeared in other news outlets, such as "A anti-CNN russa na guerra das imagens" [Russian anti-CNN in the war of images]. O Estado de S. Paulo (in Portuguese). Brazil. September 1, 2013. Archived from the original on September 2, 2013.
  18. ^ Breaking the Set: About. YouTube Channel. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  19. ^ Rankin, Jennifer (December 20, 2012). "Russia Today chases ratings with controversy". GlobalPost. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  20. ^ Reitman, Janet (March 27, 2014). "The Young Renegade of TV News". Rolling Stone (1205). p. 20. (subscription required)
  21. ^ Austin, Henry (March 4, 2014). "News Anchor Slams Crimea Takeover on State-Funded Russian TV". NBC News. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  22. ^ Paget, Antonia (March 4, 2014). ""Russia Today host condemns Ukraine 'occupation'". The Times. (subscription required)
  23. ^ "Ukraine crisis: Could Russia Today turn you into a Putin propagandist?". The Independent. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ Greenwald, Glenn (March 4, 2014). "RT Host Abby Martin Condemns Russian Incursion Into Crimea – On RT". The Intercept. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ 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
  28. ^ "Russia TV host calls Ukraine intervention 'wrong' on-air". BBC News. March 4, 2014..
  29. ^ Ensor, Josie (March 4, 2014). "Russia Today host who criticised Kremlin sent to Crimea". The Daily Telegraph.
  30. ^ Rutenberg, Jim (September 18, 2016). "Larry King, the Russian Media and a Partisan Landscape". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  31. ^ Martin, Abby (February 18, 2015). "Never Stop Breaking the Set". Media Roots. Archived from the original on February 27, 2015.
  32. ^ 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.
  33. ^ "Background to "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections": The Analytic Process and CyberIncident Attribution" (PDF). Office of the Director of National Intelligence. January 6, 2017. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  34. ^ Norton, Ben (June 3, 2017). "Venezuelan Opposition Spreads Lies About U.S. Journalists, Inciting Violence, Death Threats". AlterNet. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  35. ^ "Empire Files". YouTube. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  36. ^ "US Sanctions Shut Down 'The Empire Files' with Abby Martin". Media Roots. Retrieved August 25, 2018. The Empire Files ... has been funded through a contract with the TeleSUR network
  37. ^ Empire Files (September 3, 2018), Update on Empire Files Shutdown from Abby Martin, retrieved March 12, 2019
  38. ^ Hysen, Britt (July 28, 2014). RT Host Abby Martin Takes On Corporate Media. Millennial Magazine. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  39. ^ Moynihan, Michael (March 9, 2014). "How to Justify Russian Aggression". The Daily Beast. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  40. ^ "March 4 Updates on Ukraine Crisis". New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  41. ^ "The Truth(er) About Abby Martin". Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  42. ^ Cromwell, David (September 12, 2018). "Empire journalism". ColdType. Retrieved February 13, 2019. To realise how incomplete and distorted is BBC News coverage, you only have to listen to the superb independent journalist Abby Martin, who has risked her life to report what the corporate media is not telling you about Venezuela
  43. ^ "Abby Martin: World Ignores Opposition Violence at Venezuela Protests". June 12, 2017. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  44. ^ Stossel, John (May 4, 2018). "A journalist's propaganda for murderers". Pressconnects. USA Today. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  45. ^ Jimmy Dore Comedy Solid Chat Saturday,
  46. ^ "99% // The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film". Archived from the original on November 14, 2016. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
  47. ^ "IMDb: Project Censored the Movie (2013)". IMDb. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
  48. ^ "The Venus Project". The Venus Project. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  49. ^ "Reporting From Outside Party Lines". Media Roots. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
  50. ^ "Project Censored — The News that Didn't Make the News and Why". Project Censored.

External linksEdit