As a special presentation from "Unauthorized Disclosure," here is the full interview CNN correspondent Drew Griffin conducted with J. Ray Sparks, the chief operating officer of Maffick Media, and Rania Khalek, a contributor to In The Now, which is owned by Maffick Media.
On February 11, the interview took place in Berlin, where Maffick Media is based. Short clips from the interview were used in a video report, and several quotes were included in a print report that appeared on CNN.com on February 15 under the headline: “Russia backs a viral video aimed at American millennials.”
Maffick Media management became aware that CNN was contacting associates of Maffick. They reached out on February 5 to Curt Devine and Donie O’Sullivan, two reporters that were trying to uncover dirt on Maffick Media.
Sparks indicated the company would be willing to make individuals available to CNN and shared facts with CNN that related to their funding from the Russia government and the editorial structure of In The Now.
Griffin, O’Sullivan, Devine, and Atika Shubert—that is four CNN reporters in total—focused their story on the Facebook pages of In The Now and its video channels. They contacted Facebook with information related to the pages and led Facebook to suspend the pages because ownership information was not on the page, even though there are several other publicly-funded or state-funded organizations with pages that do not disclose their backers explicitly.
You can read more about what unfolded here.
The interview offers a rare window into the mind of a US establishment journalist, who only is able to see the world through the framework of "Russia must be responsible for pockets of dissent in the country" or "the Kremlin must be behind whatever is wrong with America's current politics."
We expect this to become an important artifact of the "Russiagate" era in US history.