Ouch. The Onion sends up the Atlantic's Scientology sponsored content fiascoby Toby Manhire
... by unveiling their own new sponsorship deal.
The Atlantic website yesterday posted an advertorial - which wasn't labelled "advertorial" but "sponsored content". In most ways, it was styled in the form of typical editorial content.
Crucially, it was a puff piece for the controversial cult/religion/celebrity-magnet The Church of Scientology.
The condemnations were swift, including in the comments beneath the piece.
Even expressions of bafflement, including this one, which attracted more than 750 "up votes" ...
... were deleted by moderators.
Soon the piece itself was unpublished by editors, leaving simply this:
That review didn't take long, because within hours the Atlantic had released this statement:
We screwed up. It shouldn't have taken a wave of constructive criticism — but it has — to alert us that we've made a mistake, possibly several mistakes. We now realize that as we explored new forms of digital advertising, we failed to update the policies that must govern the decisions we make along the way. It's safe to say that we are thinking a lot more about these policies after running this ad than we did beforehand. In the meantime, we have decided to withdraw the ad until we figure all of this out. We remain committed to and enthusiastic about innovation in digital advertising, but acknowledge—sheepishly—that we got ahead of ourselves. We are sorry, and we're working very hard to put things right.
Not that any of that stopped the satirical publication The Onion from drawing inspiration for its own new initiative ...
BoingBoing had its own pastiche.
For more sober analysis of the whole episode, see, for example, this at Poynter.
And just as long as we're on the subject of the American media (any excuse), here's something from The Daily Show yesterday - John Oliver on investigative journalism and CNN. Funny, clever, all that ...
New essays on New Zealand-born US artist Len Lye elevate him to the status of Australasia’s most notable 20th-century artist.Read more
For about a third of infertility cases in New Zealand, there is no obvious reason why seemingly fertile couples struggle to conceive.Read more
More than one million images from Rykenberg Photography, taken around Auckland, are now in the Auckland Libraries Collection. But who are the people?Read more
A Golden Bay man spending his first night in his new house says he woke to find his bed, walls and floor covered in hundreds of creepy crawlies.Read more
There's a growing movement to stop the amount of wasteful plastic that goes into our oceans, but what about the tiny bits we can hardly see?Read more
The inconvenience to chlorine refuseniks is tiny compared with the risk of more suffering and tragedy from another Havelock North-style contamination.Read more
Global warming's worst case scenario may not be as bad as previously thought, a new climate change study says.Read more