Who knew CNN could be bought? I guess those “Eye on…” Specials are sponsored by the governments that they feature.
Now when the government of Kazakhstan pays for advertising space in the New York Times, as they are wont to do, it is clearly marked as a paid advertisement, although I don’ t think it tells you
who paid (And one wonders if the Kazakhstan government is aware that the articles are so clearly marked, if they really think anyone believes the articles were written by New York Times staff. And note that the New York Times archives do not list those paid ads. They are clearly separated from the real news.
However, having watched several “Eye on…” specials from CNN, I can tell you that they are not at all clearly marked as sponsored. Nor are they separated from other reports, either on TV or on the site. According to Eurasianet, sponsorship is mentioned by only briefly:
The spots are part of CNN International’s “Eyes On” series. Pay close attention and only the one-minute promo for the series ends with an announcement, “In association with the following,” leaving the viewer to try to read two logos on screen. One is clearly Samruk Kazyna, the state fund that owns all state assets. The other, particularly fuzzy, logo is the Astana Economic Forum, the brainchild of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Both link to a page promoting Astana’s bid to host Expo 2017.
And again one wonders who the Kazakhstan government is fooling. Or perhaps they don’t even inform their embassy what is going on, as the Kazakhstan Embassy in the US just sent out a letter that seems to indicate that CNN’s interest in Kazakhstan is motivated solely by its importance on the national stage:
No 81 July 18, 2012
CNN’s “Eye on Kazakhstan” program
The world media has taken a growing interest in Kazakhstan. The nation has played a leadership role in nuclear non-proliferation. It has also been in the news lately as a key supporter of the Northern Distribution Network to Afghanistan and as the provider of educational opportunities to Afghan students at Kazakh Universities.
Kazakhstan’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the world and it offers tempting investment opportunities for foreign corporations. The landlocked country is emerging as a transportation and logistical hub in Eurasia, linking China with Europe and Russia with South Asia. Its tourism is poised to grow as it invests in infrastructure making its natural beauty more accessible. Coupled with great hospitality of its people, Kazakhstan is emerging as tourists’ paradise in the region.
CNN, in particular, has taken notice and has been recently broadcasting stories titled “Eye on Kazakhstan.” The webpage of the program allows the visitors to watch these stories online: http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/eye.on/index.html .
Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry and its Embassy in Washington, D.C., are pleased to welcome international media to Kazakhstan and hopes that introducing Kazakhstan to the world will make the country even more open to best ideas, technologies and international cooperation. [Italics mine]
Personally, I think it is shameful of CNN to broadcast sponsored advertisements as if they are objective news–Could you imagine people being able to pay for their own news reports about themselves?