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Friday, September 20, 2013

On Faking It: Vladimir Putin's Ghostwriters

By Rick Pearcey • September 20, 2013, 07:42 AM

On the occasion of an op-ed that went out under Vladimir Putin's name September 11, Michael Johnson at American Spectator discusses the "utterly cynical" world of PR and ghostwriting (ghostwriting is, of course, the fine art of deceiving the public into thinking that your writing was actually "authored" by somebody else). Johnson states:

The 1100-word screed under Putin’s byline was a masterpiece of chutzpah, portraying the Russia president as a God-fearing protector of democracy and stalwart supporter of the United Nations, especially the Security Council where Russia has flagrantly used its veto since the beginning of the Syria conflict. Understandably the reaction in the West has been jaw-droppingly negative.
. . .

The greatest heat in this affair has emanated not from the American public but from the private conference rooms of Ketchum Public Relations, the U.S. agency that actually wrote it for Putin’s team. No original text in Russian has surfaced, most likely because it never existed. The few Russian publications that have picked up the story quote sparingly from the English version.

It is naïve to believe that Vladimir Putin sat down one night at his Kremlin desk and, pen in hand, dashed off this heartfelt opener reminiscent of FDR, “Recent events in Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people . . ."

One wants to say, "Oh puh-leeeeze."

"Major pronouncements such as this one, especially if placed in a major U.S. newspaper, are almost never written by the people who sign them," Johnson explains. "This is where the Ketchums of the PR industry come in. Presidents and CEOs turn to such agencies or hire expensive ex-journalists to make up their self-serving pronouncements. You can ignore the Kremlin spokesman’s quaint assurance that Putin actually jotted down the 'basic content' for this piece and let his aides flesh them out. He was probably out of the loop until late-stage drafts."

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