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Some Aspects of U.S. Media Abuses/Problems


Often when I discuss questionable Japanese media practices, there’s a cry of “The same thing happens in America!” While this can be true, the reactions from the government and media are often very different. So let’s look at some recent articles about media misdoings.

Sony Pictures has settled their 2001 lawsuit in which they were prosecuted for inventing an imaginary Connecticut film critic — David Manning — to provide positive pull quotes for advertisements. The Los Angeles Superior Court charged that the company had attempted the “intentional and systematic deception of consumers,” and now Sony Pictures is paying out $1.25 million for the settlement.

Subtext: Critics are so crucial to an American film’s promotional campaign that a company invented a fake film reviewer to praise the studio’s less well-received films. Interesting American twist on the tale: They got caught and fined.

GM has ended their four-month boycott of advertising in the L.A. Times. The car company had decided to pull their ads after the newspaper’s constant criticism of their products and CEO, but after negotiations with the paper, GM has started placing ads again. The editor-in-chief at P.R.Week derided G.M.’s actions, saying, “A company that would expect these tactics to work is misguided. An editor that would agree to them is compromised. A P.R. professional that does not help the C-suite understand why these practices are wrong is a fool.”

A major American company pulls out sponsorship as a way to pressure a publications’ editorial department. What happens? They cannot sustain it for more than four months, and even the public relations world — whose sympathies are solely with big business and not consumers — strongly oppose the boycott practice.

Not exactly recent news, but The Source‘s constant Eminem bashing has lost them access to all Eminem-related rappers (50 Cent, etc.). The magazine’s vendetta against Eminem, however, seems to be directly related to the CEO David Mays’ relentless promotion of his white co-founder/Harvard roommate Raymond Scott’s rap career. In 1995, the magazine writers demanded Mays’ resignation for placing a very prominent article about Scott’s group Almighty RSO in the magazine. Failing to make Mays quit, the protesting staff members all left The Source.

Magazine editors quitting because the editor-in-chief is ordering content based on factors other than quality or importance of the artists themselves? Insane. What did these unloyal “editors” think they are anyway? Independent voices or something?

W. David MARX (Marxy)
August 5, 2005

Marxy wrote a lot of essays back on his old site Néomarxisme. This is one of them.

10 Responses

  1. The Quasar Ken Says:

    No connection with this post, but did you know that your Beaumarchais motto is the same one as “Le Figaro”‘s motto (i’m talking about the right-wing french newspaper)? i didn’t noticed that before so i don’t know if it’s a recent addition or not…

  2. marxy Says:

    Yeah, I know about the Le Figaro use of that quote. Even with the conservative appropriation, I still think it’s a good quote. Maybe, however, this is like me saying, even though the Nazis used the swastika, it’s still a pretty fashionable symbol. (Right, guys?)

  3. Momus Says:

    It’s like that, and it’s also like Milton saying (in Areopagitica, his attack on government censorship of books) that without temptation there can be no virtue.

  4. marxy Says:

    Right, so you don’t get points for being a “Pacificist” nation if a foreign-mandated constitution prohibits you from having an army.

  5. Momus Says:

    Some Japanese politicians are being sorely tempted to re-militarize right now… by American devils!

  6. marxy Says:

    Are you suggesting that the Japanese right-wing never fantasized about getting back into their beautiful Imperial uniforms until the Americans opened up the idea of remilitarization?

  7. Momus Says:

    I’m pointing out that there are Americans on both sides of your example, the dead ones who imposed the peaceful constitution on Japan (right after nuking it, sixty years ago tomorrow) and the living ones who want help in their imperialist wars. And yes, they do seem surprisingly compatible with the Japanese right wing, don’t they? I wonder why?

  8. der Says:

    How’s that related?

    I think Marxy is referring to a recent characterisation of yours of Japan as a pacifist nation. The point seems to be that they couldn’t be otherwise (at that point in time). Now they can (because of a changed political situation), and it looks like they will.

    Will people (like, man and woman on the street, presumably non-right-wing and non-compatible) do ugly things like protest this development, or will they rather go and watch flowers, discuss noodles etc.? Will you still be able to call them pacifist even if they didn’t stop this? Of course, because they were busy doing pacifist things. Etc. pp.

  9. nate Says:

    yay der! apolitical people don’t just fail to disrupt the good with bad action, they fail to disrupt the bad with good action.

  10. Chris_B Says:

    momus: I think you are displaying a lack of knowledge of history as well as falling into the typical trap of blaming the USA for everything.