Former Tory chancellor takes over newspaper, sells "money-can't buy" coverage to Uber, Google and others

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/06/02/george-osborne.html

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Those news stories sound … fake!

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Whatever enterprise a Tory gets into after his political career ends, he’ll be glad to undermine its foundational ethics if it means making a quick buck from corporate cronies.

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This sounds like a clear breach of The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008:

  1. Using editorial content in the media to promote a product where a trader has paid for the promotion without making that clear in the content or by images or sounds clearly identifiable by the consumer (advertorial).

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2008/1277/schedule/1/made

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Without necessarily endorsing this, how is this worse than having an editorial line based on a damaging ideology (e.g. the daily heil)?

Transparency, basically. Every news source is biased, but most are honest and consistent in their biases, hopefully upfront about them, and the best ones have some amount of reflexivity.

This is something entirely different. Disguised advertising. Which, as mentioned above, is illegal.

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I’m not sure other news sources are transparent at all. I don’t see bias because of money as much different to bias for other reasons (which, frankly, often reduce to money).

The London Evening Standard has been a right-wing rag since forever. Now it’s sinking to the level of the Metro. Good old George! I wonder if he knows how to spell “sinecure”?

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Too bad that they learned nothing from The Atlantic’s experience with advertorials.

https://tonyortega.org/2013/01/14/the-atlantic-magazine-becomes-scientologys-newest-ideal-org/

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This is correct. If an elected official makes a decision because he believes in the policy or does so because a corporation paid him to do so - there’s no difference.

Uh - Okay

I assume you’re being sarcastic. Firstly, since when were we talking about elected officials? This is a private paper. Secondly, you haven’t addressed why money being involved somehow makes an editorial stance worse than simply having an obnoxious editorial stance.

There’s a constitutional reason for the freedom of the press. With that license comes a responsibility. Additionally- your position leads to other interests controlling the press via payments - the government.

A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. ~ James Madison

The right of electing the members of the government, constitutes more particularly the essence of a free and responsible government. The value and efficacy of this right, depends on the knowledge of the comparative merits and demerits of the candidates for public trust; and on the equal freedom, consequently, of examining and discussing these merits and demerits of the candidates respectively. ~ James Madison

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And that’s why the price of fish has gone up.

Seriously, wtf does that have to do with anything? It would be wonderful if all news sources were reliable sources of information, but most are not, and haven’t been for a long time. My question is merely over the motives. Why does direct profit seeking offend you so much more than proxy profit seeking?

Say - what is the difference between a free press and a company’s or government’s PR Department? Why were people upset that Facebook pushed Russian propaganda designed to undermine our democracy?

Was thalidomide really all that bad? The paper says these people are making those stories up.

I’ve just no idea what you’re talking about anymore. I’ll be off now…

Feel free to discus what you think the role of the free press in a democracy is.

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I don’t see how the role of a free press is relevant to my point or this article.

gotcha - the only thing that matters is turning a buck

wtf? You really need to do some work on your critical analysis. Please try reading what I wrote not what you think I was getting at. I will try to clarify:

  1. There is a newspaper which establishes its editorial stance based on payments from big companies. This is the subject of the article and, yes, this is a problem.
  2. I drew the parallel with other news outlets that have editorial stances which are not obvious to outsiders, but in many cases result in positions which are far more objectionable. This often results in the sources being equally or more guilty than the Londen Evening Standard of disseminating misleading news in the pursuit of that stance.
  3. Very often, the stance is motivated by money, just not direct and immediate payments. The question I posed is why immediate payments are distinctly worse than indirect monetary influences.

I absolutely do not think that misleading news is ever acceptable. I merely question the importance of the special case that this article points to, as much as an academic exercise as anything else.

Ever wondered if rising sea levels would lead to the existence of more British tabloids due to more fish being wrapped?