Via Arsenal News Review (with one extra added by moi) a list of
9* 8 of the 10 journalists reported to have been flown to and from Moscow by Alisher Usmanov on a Gulfstream 550 private jet and put up at the five-star Kempinski Hotel:
Roger Blitz (Financial Times): Blitz wrote two articles, here and here, but did not mention the rather notable travel and accommodation arrangements in either. [MINI-UPDATE: See response from FT below.]
David Bond (The Daily Telegraph): The resulting article makes much of Usmanov's 'knowledge' of Arsenal, describes Murray's allegations as "an extraordinary attack" and our only hint about travel and accommodation is given in the following passage; "...in an effort to dispel the mystery and set the record straight, Usmanov invited British journalists to Moscow, to explain his side of the story."
Jason Burt (The Independent): Two articles here and here, but no mention of travel or accommodation.
Shaun Custis (The Sun): The resulting article is very light on detail when discussing Usmanov's past, which this 'journalist' describes as 'smears'. There is no mention of travel or accommodation.
Matt Dickinson (The Times): The resulting article mentions travel, but not accommodation. [MINI-UPDATE: Another article gives readers some clue as to what's going on by using the words "charm offensive".... but makes no mention of some rather important specifics that show how offensive it is.]
Richard Galpin (BBC) The resulting article says that "in the cramped conference room were British newspaper journalists intrigued to discover more about Russia's 18th richest man," but fails to mention that they were not intrigued enough to make the journey under their own steam. [snip] [*MINI-UPDATE: Richard Galpin himself is based on Moscow. See comments.]
Martin Lipton (The Mirror): Articles headed 'Martin Lipton in Moscow' here and here, but no mention of how he got there, and no mention of any fuss over Usmanov's past. All the folks at home get is "Alisher loves Arsenal." Way to go, Martin Lipton.
Charlie Sale (The Daily Mail): Sale is quite specific about travel and accommodation here and here, but he dutifully states in his main article that; "Usmanov was pardoned by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev" (all that jetting about can't have left much time for research).
Matt Scott (The Guardian): The resulting article airs more detail than most, but does not mention travel or accommodation.
9* 8 out of a reported 10 journalists, flown to and from Moscow by Alisher Usmanov on a Gulfstream 550 private jet and put up at the five-star Kempinski Hotel. Only one of them is completely honest with their readers about the extraordinary and luxurious circumstances surrounding the interview.
One can only assume that their editors approve.
Are you impressed? I'm impressed.
UPDATE - Gulfstream 550s look nice. So do Kempinski Hotels. Go on... have a little imaginary wallow and see what it feels like. Incidentally, a single room at the Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow will set you back about 25,000 Russian Rubles excluding tax per night (or about £500 if you ever have cause to pay for one yourself).
UPDATE (05 Oct) - Last night, I wrote letters to most of the newspapers involved. Today, I received a reply from the Financial Times. It appears in full below:
Dear Mr IrelandI asked for clarification on "the cost of an air fare" and was told; "Our policy is to pay a full commercial rate on a scheduled airline since we do not regard the mode of travel as a perk in itself, merely a means of access."
Thank you for your letter. You raise an extremely important point and one we take very seriously. The answer to your question is that Roger Blitz did indeed travel on the jet and stay at the Kempinski. This was because of the access to a number of executives and others that travelling on the plane offered. However, in accordance with our strict policy on hospitality, the FT refunded the cost of an air fare and insisted on paying the hotel bill ourselves. Mr Usmanov also made Mr Blitz - and I assume others - a gift of a book on Russian art. Again, in accordance with our policy on gifts above a nominal value, the book will be put into the FT's christmas raffle, the proceeds of which go to charity. In the name of full disclosure, I should say that he did accept a meal from Mr Usmanov but otherwise we paid our own way. I hope you feel that this answers your important question and answers it to your satisfaction. I trust you will amend your blog to take account of this answer.
UPDATE (08 Oct) - I do the work and Dale gets the credit, which is par for the course. Still, we at least we now have a complete rundown of the perks some journalists would rather not mention:
In the interests of transparency here is a full breakdown of Usmanov's largess: Luton to Moscow on private Gulfstream 550 jet with lunch and drinks, transfer to five-star Kempinski hotel, dinner plus drinks, transfer to bar for drinks. Then one night in Kempinski, lunch in a Russian restaurant, transfer to Usmanov office, Metro trip, coffee and teas in Usmanov office, gift of art book, Gulfstream return to Stansted with cold supper.