Huffington Post & CNBC ran paid Russian propaganda
The Huffington Post and CNBC ran paid propaganda placements of the Russian government, without informing their readers and viewers.
ProPublica.org, a public interest journalism site, reports on November 16 that Russia paid a single Washington
propaganda PR firm $40 million between 2006 and 2012:
“Several opinion columns praising Russia and published in the last two years on CNBC’s web site and the Huffington Post were written by seemingly independent professionals but were placed on behalf of the Russian government by its public-relations firm, Ketchum.“The columns, written by two businessmen, a lawyer, and an academic, heap praise on the Russian government for its ‘ambitious modernization strategy’ and ‘enforcement of laws designed to better protect business and reduce corruption.’ One of the CNBC opinion pieces, authored by an executive at a Moscow-based investment bank, concludes that ‘Russia may well be the most dynamic place on the continent.'”
“There’s nothing unusual about Ketchum’s work on behalf of Russia. Public relations firms constantly peddle op-eds on behalf of politicians, corporations, and governments. Rarely if ever do publications disclose the role of a PR firm in placing an op-ed, so it’s unusual to get a glimpse behind the scenes and see how an op-ed was generated.
“What readers of the CNBC and Huffington Post pieces did not know — but Justice Department foreign agent registration filings by Ketchum show — is that the columns were placed by the public-relations firm working on a contract with the Russian government to, among other things, promote the country ‘as a place favorable for foreign investments.’
“In at least one case, a Ketchum subcontractor reached out to a writer and offered to place his columns in media outlets. The writer, Adrian Pabst, a lecturer in politics at the University of Kent, said that his views were his own and that he was not influenced or paid by Ketchum.”