Introduction

Content written by Michel Chossudovsky, a University of Ottawa emeritus economics professor, should represent the narratives Global Research cares about the most. The site is of interest because of its popularity among conspiracists. The quality and motives of the news source are known to be less than perfect, but does its founder believe in its mission and is perhaps just a bit careless? Or does peering into Global Research’s cracks reveal clues to an allegiance to Moscow?

In a report by The Globe and Mail (Clark & MacKinnon, 2017), Guillaume Kress, who was once an editorial assistant working for Global Research, said Chossudovsky picks articles from other sites or contributors who submit articles, generating views for other websites in exchange for favor. In the same report, Kress said Chossudovsky asked him to clickbait. For example, as the report continues, Kress said he made a post falsely claiming the Rockefeller Foundation had patented the Zika virus. The post was easy to make, he said: he “copy-pasted” information from the Zika virus website, added some quotes and attached his original writing to it. Chossudovsky liked that approach, Kress said, and the post “made the rounds.”

“NewsGuard, an organization that provides ratings for “news and information websites that account for 95% of online engagement across the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, and Italy,” has profiled Global Research as a Facebook misinformation super spreader (Newsguard, 2020a, 2020b). Given this rating and the fact that Global Research has 279,463 Facebook likes, their reputation of sharing news biased towards Russia raises serious questions.

This study aims to assess how much Global Research’s COVID-19 coverage fits into the Russian propaganda framework. Russian propaganda is multifaceted, and approaches can vary. Recent effective approaches involve destabilizing the Kremlin’s rivals.

Research Questions

RQ1: What common narratives are promulgated in the influential pseudo-news site, globalresearch.ca, in its founder’s COVID-19-related coverage during the two-and-a-half-month period, starting May 2020, after the peak of the pandemic?

RQ2: How are the narratives constructed and how do they relate to one another, their origin and Russian propaganda?