When does a reputation ossify? Does it come when the president calls you a jackass, or when your litany of plagiarisms reach the public? Does it come when you gay-bash and smother independent media and fracture Europe’s security framework?
Or can it come in a moment more sanguine? Can your reputation cement — or crumble, depending on perception — by a mere choice of publication for your work, shifting your standing evermore afterward?
Every answer is specific to the actors and outlets in question. But those following post-Soviet media developments were presented an interesting test case over the past few weeks. Mark Adomanis — a self-tabbed “Russia Hand” with a regular blog-column at Forbes — recently elected to take his talents to Sputnik, Moscow’s latest attempt at gloss-and-spin mass media. ...
Interestingly, in a November piece with Forbes, Adomanis took Moscow to task for its “crude” propaganda. “Propaganda is, of course, bad and it deserves to be countered,” he wrote. And it does. But whether as a matter of cognitive dissonance, financial demands, or egoistic necessity, Adomanis seems to have ignored his own advice. In working for Sputnik, Adomanis has begun actively contributing to one of the Kremlin’s foremost attempts at pushing its line of propaganda.