Media for Hire: Disturbing Brand Journalism Trend Imperils Free Press from Pharmabuse's blog

John Oliver did a scathing critique of so-called native journalism.  It's alternatively referred to as brand journalism, or sponsored content.  The various terms describe an increasingly frequent occurrence whereby traditional print journalism, formerly monopolists in captive regional markets now struggling to find profitability in a crowded online news marketplace, are selling their logo to the highest bidder to help corporations market their brand to consumers, cloaked in a thin veil of journalism.  Whatever you prefer to call the trend, it's a disturbing phenomenon that threatens to choke what's left of the free press in a sea of green.  The wall separating church and state (advertising and editorial) appears to have developed some serious cracks.

Why you'll never see an article in the Washington Post critical of Big Pharma...

WAPO Selling Sickness for AstraZeneca

WAPO Selling Sickness for PhRMA Lobby Interests

Does taking money to improve the brand image of pharmaceutical companies affect their coverage of the news when it involves Big Pharma?  Well, let's see...

Take, for instance, this "safe as aspirin" piece WAPO did when it came to light that Naval Shipyard shooter Aaron Alexis was prescribed the antidepressant Trazadone by the Veterans Administration just days before his deadly shooting rampage that killed 12 people...

WAPO makes no reference to the fact that the FDA has warned patients taking Trazadone to contact their healthcare provider immediately if "acting aggressive, being angry, or violent" or "acting on dangerous impulses"...

Next time you read an article after the next school shooting that essentially says, nothing to see here, move along, these drugs are prescribed to millions and are as safe as aspirin, keep in mind who is ultimately paying that reporter's paycheck.

To put the scale of the problem into perspective, Robert Kennedy, Jr. tells a story of how one network executive told him over dinner that 70 percent of their ad revenue comes from Big Pharma, and that anyone responsible for losing a big account will lose their job.

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