Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Shattering that last illusion...

...of media fairness, that is. Several large advertisers have just put major newspapers on notice that their willingness to advertise is specifically linked to the absence of any negative coverage of their industries or companies.
Both broad and quite specific, the directives range from notifying the media agency prior to running any editorial that contains fuel, oil or energy news text or visuals to providing the agency the option to pull any advertising from the issue without penalty. If the ad cannot be pulled, then the agency “must receive notification immediately of the situation in order to alert BP and to manage the situation proactively,” the memo said. It also states that if MindShare is not notified of the mentions prior to the issue’s on-sale date, immediate advertising schedule suspension will “likely result.”
. . .
Another magazine executive who had not heard about BP’s policy or of Morgan Stanley’s said his company has unwritten guidelines with advertisers from several industries, including auto, airlines and tobacco, to pull their ads if related negative stories are in the issue. These cases, the executive said, occur more with news magazines than lifestyle ones.
It's been hard for a long time now for news agencies to keep a proper wall between their news and editorial wings and their advertising and circulation concerns, but . . . this just leaves me agape.

[Atrios also points out the irony of this revelation in light of accusations leveled at bloggers for possible tiny conflicts of interest...]

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