Astroturf™ Rent-A-Shill™ Inc.
Thursday July 20th 2006, 11:50 am

mgk proudly not sponsored by...

You too can participate in a literal marketplace of ideas.

Forum (and presumably also blog) commenters are being hired to drive various agendae. Enterprising souls are offering their opinions for hire as well. The rates vary from about 5 cents to a dollar for a paragraph in support of a sponsor.

Cash-for-comment certainly has worked well over time for Alan Jones. There’s lots of unpopular industries and issues in Australia in dire need of some sincere sounding support. No reason why you shouldn’t get on the gravy train.

-weez

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5 Comments so far
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Love that graphic, though – it’s really got something ;)

Comment by Zoe 07.21.06 @ 10:13 am

Thanks, Zoe. Took a bit of poking around to find all of those logos!

Regardless of whether I’d ever whore out my opinions or sell adspace on mgk, I wouldn’t have a hope in hell of landing an advertiser. I couldn’t possibly guarantee that something I might write in the future wouldn’t reflect badly on any given sponsor.

Any media which rely on sponsorship have a built-in perception of bias, whether there is any actual bias or not. I can’t believe our luck to still have the ABC. I’m also rather confident that some sponsors avoid SBS due to the content they run.

If the extreme-right infiltrated ABC board ever forces advertising on the ABC, it will be a tremendous loss.

Failure to disclose sponsorship arrangements (i.e. Jones) while putting a positive spin on the sponsor in the guise of a genuine opinion or as news is outright deception. The hired posters are even worse than Jones as their sponsorship arrangements are completely unaccountable.

Back in my days working in commercial radio in the US, we had standing orders on file in the control rooms indicating that all spots for airlines were to be pulled from rotation if there was an air crash in the news. There was also editorial pressure on the newsies to do puff pieces on sponsors, similar to those pointed out on MediaWatch every week. There’s only so many bits you can do on the ‘great environmental benefits of using Joe’s Car Wash instead of a bucket in your driveway’ before the public loses faith in station’s/newspaper’s editorial judgement.

Comment by weez 07.21.06 @ 10:50 am

“I wouldn’t have a hope in hell of landing an advertiser. I couldn’t possibly guarantee that something I might write in the future wouldn’t reflect badly on any given sponsor.”

Why such a moral high ground? Warne took sponsorship money from Nicorette while he continued to puff up big.

The ‘seagull’ strapped atop the remote-controlled 4WD took the pictures to prove it :)

Comment by suki 07.21.06 @ 7:28 pm

Good point, Suki.

It’d be fun to take their money whilst damning them, but I haven’t found any businesses so inclined to dispose of their money for bad publicity.

Comment by weez 07.22.06 @ 8:19 pm

[...] Rising Tide initially used edited screengrabs of the mining lobby’s website for their spoof, – straight bit of a culture jam, much as you often see here on mgk. The NSW Minerals Council complained to Rising Tide’s host about ‘copyright violations,’ and their host turned off Rising Tide’s jam site. Rising Tide rebuilt the site using their own artwork and were pulled off by their host yet again on complaints from the mining lobby. Rising Tide lodged a counterclaim; their site is back online pending a result of the ‘investigation.’ [...]

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