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Free Enterprise, Ukraine Style


Several months after determining that J0sh Trev!n0 existed primarily as an entity to funnel Malaysian government funds to right wing bloggers, Rosie Gray observes the laudable lack of discrimination in Right Blogistan:

Several conservative bloggers repeated talking points given to them by a proxy group for the Ukrainian government — and at least one writer was paid by a representative of the Ukrainian group, according to documents and emails obtained by BuzzFeed.

The Ukrainian campaign began in the run-up to high-stakes Ukrainian parliamentary elections last year, and sought to convince skeptical American conservatives that the pro-Russian Party of Regions, led by President Viktor Yanukovych, deserved American support. During that period, articles echoing Ukrainian government talking points appeared on leading conservative online outlets, including RedState,Breitbart, and Pajamas Media.

Some perspective; over the years I’ve taken money from FrontPage, the Global Times, and the Foundation for Defense of Democracy, and I’ve appeared repeatedly on RT. I’ve had some mild qualms about each, but decided to go ahead because a) the arrangements were public and explicit, and b) they never asked me to write or speak from any specific point of view, or to repeat any specific talking points. If GT wants to pay me to write what I might have written for free anyway, I have no objection. I’ve also turned down RT interview requests on subjects where I feel uncomfortable providing an “American” view on Russian foreign policy.

It seems reasonably clear that the arrangements that Rosie Gray is reporting on in the Ukraine and Malaysia cases go well beyond any of this, especially on the “public and explicit” points. Maybe right wing bloggers genuinely admire the semi-authoritarian governments in Kiev and Kuala Lumpur; it would be nice if they mentioned the greenbacks during the process of praise and fealty.

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