Buzzfeed, Native Advertising and Death of the Free Press: Media Vaccine Defenses aren’t Merely a Case of Pliancy to please Ad Sponsors. They are Ads.
Buzzfeed, Native Advertising and Death of the Free Press: Media vaccine defenses aren’t merely a case of pliancy to please ad sponsors. They are ads.
Advertising is the rattling of a stick in a swill bucket. ~George Orwell
A fellow contributing editor recently brought attention to yet another hit piece against Dr. Andrew Wakefield and Miranda Bailey’s film The Pathological Optimist in Buzzfeed titled The World’s Most Notorious Anti-Vaxxer Wants a Second Act.
The article was penned—or, you might say, grammatically assembled—by a science reporter named Azeen Ghorayshi who once studied fruit fly neurogenetics at UC Berkeley.
Readers are free to review the article themselves but a quick summary is that it’s like listening to pigeons cooing in an echo chamber without a single humanizing word about the severely disabled individuals at the center of the controversy or the harrowing rise in autism.
Coo coo coo Brian Deer quote. Coo coo coo Paul Offit quote.
Because that’s what journalists from the mainstream media and pseudo-alternative media like Buzzfeed represent: carrier pigeons, or stenographers or all of the other derisive names (hack, shill) used for reporters who simply repeat the party line.
And where’s the party? It’s in the pants of multiple industries—especially the pharmaceutical industry— their shareholders and corrupted regulators where the fidgety hands of complicit journalists are lodged in the delusion they’re reviving the fourth estate, the death throes of which are accelerating because of something called “Native Advertising” or “Sponsored Content.”
Native advertising is when ads or other forms of commercial promotion or defense are disguised as news content, supposedly to overcome consumers’ growing “banner blindness” and ability to ignore obvious ads. Since its advent, native advertising has been like a progressive disease toppling one press giant after another and advancing from promos so blatant that they could hardly be accused of stealth to promotions so subtly entwined in “regular content” that it would be impossible for viewers or readers to distinguish without actually seeing the contract.
Imagine opening the New York Times one day and reading coverage of, say, the catastrophic effects of a category 5 hurricane on an island nation that’s been fighting back against the oil industry’s attempts to control offshore drilling and having no idea that descriptions of looting, misappropriation of charitable donations, and the general fecklessness and compensation fraud among islanders has been brought to you courtesy of Shell Oil because dead men floating face down in flood waters don’t picket.
Engineering public approval for the victimization or abandonment of certain populations or even certain sectors of our own society is not new and is the theme of Manufacturing Consent by political media analysts Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman. In an interview for Byline, Chomsky states, “This [native advertising… in Buzzfeed and Vice] is exaggerating and intensifying a problem that is serious and shouldn’t even exist in the first place. The reliance of a journal on advertisers shapes and controls and substantially determines what is presented to the public.”