In practice, Sputnik’s mission statement—“Telling the Untold”—means that Sputnik’s content should reflect the Russian side of any news story, whether it lines up with reality or not. When it came to the issue of Crimea (which has been occupied by Russian-backed troops since 2014), we were never to write anything on the subject that didn’t include language noting that 90 percent of Crimea residents voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia. Of course, when I’d include details of the tanks and armed men that lined the streets while the people of Crimea voted in that referendum, it would be removed from the story before it went live.
When asking about Ukraine, I’d based the premise of my question on the reality of the situation, and the pushback, as I interpreted it, was swift.
On Monday—our next day back in the office—I received an email from Martinichev ordering me to clear any future questions I intended to ask at the White House with my editors, “so that everyone is on the same page.” That is, he instructed me, if my editors didn’t have a specific question they wanted me to ask. My question “should never be a surprise,” he wrote. “We also need emergency questions in case [somebody] asks the same before us.”
So every morning I’d submit my questions via email, and his reply would almost always dismiss them in favor of his own replacement questions on other topics, with no regard to whether they were based on reality or not.
It's a big story, and you should read the rest at Politico: