You Can Buy Your Way Into Seemingly Respectable “News Articles”

First, let me say that, generally, CNN is all right with me. It gets crap for hasty pieces, at times, and it’s not the deepest news source in the world, but I think it’s doing a service in exposing–through legit journalism–the bizarrities and the malfeasance of the Trump administration. Maybe that effort was galvanized when CNN was widely criticized for giving this dangerous buffoon too much exposure, and thus helping him get elected. Fine.

But they and other formerly legit sources of what should be objective data seem to be selling advertisements disguised as news articles without one hint that they’re not real, apart from the obvious puff-story content of the articles about some consumer product. Did I say seem? It’s almost certain–and seems obvious they’re going too far with monetizing their news site. Check out this article: – headline is: “Chick-fil-A adds mac and cheese to the menu”. And the article says, “America’s favorite restaurant chain just added to its menu for the first time in three years. As of Monday, Chick-fil-A offers macaroni and cheese as a side option nationwide.” That’s what the whole damn article is like. There’s also a remark about the fine customer service at the restaurant. There are a few rosy statistics about the company to help disguise the puff piece as a news article. And that’s it. NOWHERE does it say that this is paid-for, that this is advertising. I assume it’s paid for with a fee, or with lots and lots of ad buys or both. Either way, this appears to be a paid ad, pretending to be a news article. Now…

Here’s a phrase you might not know. We seldom hear it now: Journalistic integrity. It’s supposed to be a mainstay of American journalism–the line you don’t cross. You don’t write puff pieces; instead, you write objective news articles, objective reviews, objective journalistic copy. That helps America stay healthy.

We’ve lost touch with that. The other day CNN had an article entirely about Wal-Mart having changed the color of its employee vests. Oh the wide-eyed wonder of that information!

John Oliver just reported that the Guinness Book of World Records–once a legit form of journalism–now quietly takes big fees, up to the millions, to say that this or that country has the world record for something. And he observed that many of these cash payouts to the Guinness Book company are from murderers who just happen to be the dictators of countries known to have no appreciable human rights. Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, among them. The leaders of those countries have people “disappeared” when it suits them.

The old, fun book of world records, which did have integrity, is now a thing of the past. Because they had to monetize it to the point of insane greed. To the point of being utterly free of ethics and decency.

How long before CNN takes money from wealthy dictators for puff pieces? They’ve opened the door to dishonesty, so it could happen.

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