The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Nickel-and-Dime Ukraine Scandal: Foreigners Bought Bloggers Cheap

Posted on | February 23, 2014 | 16 Comments

It’s MalaysiaGate all over again:

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.

(Whatever the talking points were, I didn’t repeat them. The only foreign country I really care about is Vanuatu.)

The emails and documents, which include prepackaged quotes from election officials and talking points that some writers copied nearly word-for-word, offer a glimpse into how foreign governments dodge tight Justice Department regulations on foreign propaganda to covertly lobby in the United States: The payments were routed through a front group in Belgium to an American consultant, who has urged writers not to cooperate with a reporter investigating the campaign.

(A “front group in Belgium”? The Flemish Menace!)

The model resembles a recent stealth campaign in which bloggers were paid by the Malaysian government to write favorable stories, though the Ukraine campaign appears to have involved smaller sums of money.

(Yeah, I was all over the Malaysia scandal, another one of those blogola deals where nobody offered me a cent, dammit.)

One of the writers who participated in the campaign, who spoke on the condition of anonymity and because of lingering qualms about the arrangement, they said, described being offered $500 for a blog post praising Ukraine’s ruling Party of Regions.

What? You sold out to foreigners for a measly $500? Hell, that won’t even buy you a round-trip ticket to beautiful Vanuatu, the sunny Pacific island paradise where the Grand Hotel and Casino offers spectacular views of the harbor at Porta Vila . . .

Donald Douglas has more at American Power.

Apparently those cheapskate Ukrainian bastards didn’t hire Donald, either. But don’t worry: If there is ever a “high-stakes election” in Vanuatu, we’re gonna be rolling in the blog-o-bucks, baby.



16 Responses to “Nickel-and-Dime Ukraine Scandal: Foreigners Bought Bloggers Cheap”

  1. RS
    February 23rd, 2014 @ 9:55 pm

    The down side to the new media is that with a one-man band, its hard to do actual reporting of news, especially news of international import. Not to brown-nose you, but you do a better job than most.

  2. DaveO
    February 23rd, 2014 @ 10:09 pm

    1. It’s Buzzfeed, next to Yahoo News, the most partisan propaganda site calling itself ‘news.’
    2. Lots of empty descriptors: anonymous, ‘talking points’ without naming names or the talking points. Were those same points in the NYT? WaPo? Were these bloggers discussing the talking points?
    3. Looks like a pretext to send the FCC into the blogosphere to suppress the Right.

  3. Jeanette Victoria
    February 23rd, 2014 @ 10:42 pm

    I never could figure out how Viktor Yanukovych won the
    election as the Orange revolution (I was in Kiev at the tie) kicked him out. I feel like there is a whole lot to this story we aren’t hearing. I have some mutual friends of Yulia V. Tymoshenko and that was the last election I witnessed.

    The sad fact is unless the Ukrainians are willing to clean house and kick out every former KGB and politburo operative of the old regime this is just gong to be more of the same

  4. K-Bob
    February 23rd, 2014 @ 10:47 pm

    I scimmed the article and never saw any actual names being produced. Sounds like an awful lot of trumping up for such a low supposed payout.

    I though some websites sold ads for at least that much.

  5. Katie Scarlet
    February 23rd, 2014 @ 11:03 pm

    You better watch out for those “tight Justice Department regulations on foreign propaganda” though.

  6. badanov
    February 23rd, 2014 @ 11:12 pm

    Holy hell. But, hey give them some credit: At least they didn’t whore themselves out during the runup to an American election.

  7. Nan
    February 24th, 2014 @ 1:28 am

    That we know of.

  8. Adjoran
    February 24th, 2014 @ 3:35 am

    David “Spengler” Goldman authored a piece at PJMedia recommending a partition of Ukraine. I don’t know if Putin bribed him or not, but I’ll never bother to read him again.

  9. Adjoran
    February 24th, 2014 @ 3:36 am

    The FCC lacks jurisdiction – not that it seems to deter the Obama Regime in other areas.

  10. Dana
    February 24th, 2014 @ 8:09 am

    Poop! No wonder I can’t make any money blogging; no one offered me $500 — or even 500¢ — to write (or copy-and-paste) an article in support of the government of Ukraine!

  11. Dana
    February 24th, 2014 @ 8:14 am

    Actually, despite not having been paid a single farthing, I’ll go ahead and say that there’s nothing particularly wrong with a partition of the Ukraine.

    The Soviet Union tried its best to “Russify” the Ukraine, and partially succeeded; the eastern third of the country, sort of along the line of the Dneiper, is far more Russian and Russian-friendly than the western two-thirds. It’s just too bad that Chernobyl is (just barely) in the western section; the Russians deserve to have that back.

  12. Dana
    February 24th, 2014 @ 8:17 am

    I have several advertising articles on my site, but they are listed under the category “Advertising” and the article author is listed as “Advertiser.” I just wish that they were selling for $500 a shot.

  13. M. Thompson
    February 24th, 2014 @ 8:54 am

    Well, it’s not like it’s Vlad Putin who has his own propoganda cable network.

  14. Dana
    February 24th, 2014 @ 9:21 am

    What, CNN?

  15. Daniel O'Brien
    February 24th, 2014 @ 9:33 am

    Stacy is a real deal reporter. That’s why we follow him. Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.

  16. M. Thompson
    February 24th, 2014 @ 10:54 am

    RT, or as it was, “Russia Today.” Held at arm’s length, but it reeks of being a propoganda outlet.