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RT reporter resigns from cognitive dissonance

Sara Firth
Sara Firth
Twitter profile picture

On July 18, a Russia Today (RT) reporter resigned from her job after covering the Malaysian plane crash, according to the PressGazette. The London correspondent Sara Firth used her social media Twitter account to announce her resignation from RT tweeting in part “… I am for the truth.” It is assumed her job expectations at RT conflicted with her personal morals which created her to have extreme mental stress. This mental stress, or psychological conflict may be the reason for her resignation and is known as ‘cognitive dissonance’ in the psychological field.

Cognitive dissonance is the psychological state in which individuals have extreme mental stress or discomfort from situations requiring two contradictory thoughts, ideas or beliefs. An example would be an individual who believes in ‘telling the truth’ but is required by her job to manipulate or falsify information to secure her employment with that job (occupational bullying). The dichotomy of the mental beliefs (truth-telling verses falsifying information) would promote extreme mental stress.

This appears to be Firth’s reason for resigning from the RT as a reporter. Whether Firth’s allegations of non-factual reporting are accurate or not is not relevant. She believes it was “disrespectful” to make an attempt to blame the Ukrainian government for the Malaysian plane crash before the facts were presented. The blame she referred to was covering a witness’s account of the plane crash that included an accusation that the Ukrainian government was responsible. The witness spoke from a personal opinion which was not a verifiable fact.

The covert influence of the witness’s personal opinion may persuade the listening audience in believing this is factual reporting. Firth understands this is not actual, blatant lying but mentioning a factor that may not be involved in the news coverage is being disrespectful and apparently she has “cognitive dissonance” with this type of reporting.