Feds’ Fake News Cost $577K
Source: BLACKLOCK’s Reporter
Author: Tom Korski
Ten federal agencies last year paid a national broker almost $577,000 to distribute newspaper stories ghostwritten by government employees. The payments came as Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly lamented “fake news” in Canada. Joly’s office yesterday did not comment.
Records show agencies paid $576,623 in seventeen separate contracts to News Canada Inc., a Toronto-based broker that distributes “ready-to-use, timely lifestyle content that is free of charge and copyright”, according to a management statement. Unsigned stories were identified only as “News Canada” content. Blacklock’s found weeklies from Alberta to Québec that republished items without any advisory they were written by communications staff with government departments and agencies.
Examples included Achieve Your Long-Term Financial Goals With Your Home Equity, a story placed by the Financial Consumer Agency advising homeowners on how to apply to banks for lines of credit. The item did not disclose the federal Agency draws 77 percent of its $17.6 million annual budget from banks and other lenders.