Always do you homework

An American (apparently) freelance writer writes of his experience working for what turned out a Russian operation posing as a “progressive global news outlet.”

PeaceData, seemingly a leftwing news outlet, offered me a column. I should have known it was too good to be true.

I didn’t catch it myself – although I should have, as a native Russian speaker – but Shaun Walker of the Guardian has pointed out what should be obvious: “peace-data” is a deliberate approximation of pizdato, an obscene Russian term for “awesome, bloody good.”

It isn’t flattering being linked to an authoritarian regime’s media operation. It’s even quite ironic for a progressive anti-authoritarian committed to transparency who has argued that Trump and Putin are cut from the same reactionary cloth.

It is ironic but understandable. Sometimes I feel I’d take a job offer from the devil himself if it helped end Putin’s rule and bring down the monstrosity he created, a corrupt and dysfunctional state. But I, too, would risk getting taken for a ride by a sneering apprentice. Doing your homework – due diligence as investment bankers say – is always a good idea.

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