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?