Back in October of last year, several American conservative columnists began covering the Ukrainian parliamentary elections, and particularly defending the ruling party's jailing of the opposition's leader. None of those pundits, who wrote for the right-wing outlets Breitbart, RedState, and Pajamas Media, regularly covered Eastern European politics, and have not returned to the topic since those elections.
So why, exactly, did these small-government-loving and individual-freedom-hawking conservatives support a Ukrainian political party with a sketchy human rights record? Well, why does anyone do anything in the world? For money, a BuzzFeed article earlier today explained, citing one of those pundits:
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. The payment was arranged by George Scoville, a libertarian media strategist, and Scoville’s name was on the check, the source said.
Ukraine's propaganda is the second case this year involving right-wing columnists accepting pay for parroting the words of foreign governments. In March, federal tax filings revealed that the Malaysian government had paid The Guardian columnist Joshua Trevino almost $400,000 in March to trump the ruling party's talking points. Trevino then paid several other conservative pundits to write about Malaysia using the same talking points as guidance. In the current case, the Ukrainian talking points were not explicitly from the ruling party itself, but were funneled through a nominally independent group led by Scoville, ostensibly to avoid having to make those same tax filings.