Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Recommended For You


I would like to draw your attention to an entry I posted in May of this year:

Slate is a free online magazine written by and for hipsters like me. If asked to summarise its "political" stance, I would say that it's not so much libertarian as contrarian. I find many of the articles written and views expressed infuriating but at the same time I recognise the very high quality of the journalism. The magazine has some very intelligent people writing for it and it is at heart a serious, if provocative, publication. It is also sometimes very funny. How is it financed?  This is where the problem lies. In addition to ordinary advertising, to which I have no objection, it has at the end of each article a feature called PROMOTED STORIES or RECOMMENDED FOR YOU. Here are the headlines for a couple of entirely typical stories "promoted" immediately  after an article exposing Donald Trump's misogyny:
  • 25 Most Gorgeous Female Politicians
  • The Before and After Photos of 10 Celebs Who Clearly Have False Teeth
What is wrong with that? Well, it just makes a mockery of the whole idea behind the magazine and puts it on the same level as the people it purports to attack. A publication which wishes to be taken seriously today simply cannot "afford" to send out mixed signals like that...

I was gratified to find that the New York Times, at least and at last, has shown signs of coming to grips with this scandalous state of affairs. Here is the link to the article in question: 

The New Yorker, to its credit, has now banned these advertisements from its online site but the last time I looked they are still to be seen on such reputable sites as The Guardian, CNN, Forbes and 41 of the top 50 news sites.

In a way, I feel for these sites who are desperate to make money in any way they can, but I wonder if they realise to what extent they are supping with the devil.


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