MSM is full of hypocrites - and we're looking at you, New York Times

The ink-stained wretches of Manhattan blasted mommy blogggers this week for taking free stuff from companies.

George Snell tells the Times to get off its damn high horse because reporters gets free stuff from companies, too:

... When I was a newspaper reporter it was a common practice for reviewers to receive goods for free. Anything from screenings of movies and plays to new albums and recently released books. I never saw one book reviewer read a novel and then mail it back to the publishing house. The book went on their book shelf. The music reviewer at the Telegram & Gazette in Worcester (MA) used to get so many music CDs that he used to hold mock yard sales to give extras away to fellow reporters.

So why is it a surprise that bloggers do the the same thing? And let’s not even get into the paid junkets to destinations like Disney World that many journalists take every year. ...

Ed. recovering reporter note: He's right. Even back in my days on a smallish suburban daily newspaper, we'd get free stuff. Like the time the Navy flew me and some local teachers down to Annapolis. That was a fun trip - although I'm betting the reporter who got a free trip to Bermuda had an even better time.

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While I agree that it is

While I agree that it is kind of a pot and kettle situation for the NYT one point the story makes is many of these blogs will offer no review rather then a negative if they do not like the product. So if your a company that is a great incentive because either you get a great review from this person or it gets hidden under the rug.

I do not believe the Feds should be involved in the lives of bloggers. Rather as a consumer I would hold it against a blogger if they never gave negative reviews of products they receive for free.

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Like I needed

another reason to hate the New York Times....

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Times still had a point

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The blogger in the lede of the Times story made a point about never writing a critical piece. I understand reporters get free stuff too, but if you found an important piece of news on your trip to Annapolis that didn't necessary reflect the positive spin a sponsor wanted, I expect you would have reported that in your small suburban daily. The problem with bloggers not doing that -- in following the rule that says "if I have nothing nice to say I will say nothing" -- is that it leaves a lot of things left unsaid. And that means the source is, 1) less useful, and 2) subject to the constructive critical debate that the Times article highlights.

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So you've never seen auto

So you've never seen auto magazines for sale? Audio magazines? Fashion magazines? All of them just pass on PR from their advertisers. Does the New York Times attack Vogue or Cosmo for shilling for Maybelline? I'm a lot more concerned about Judith Miller serving as a pipeline straight from Cheney's propaganda office on Iraqi WMDs, or Duff Wilson and the Duke lacrosse "rape" case fiasco than I am about some blogger getting review swag or free dinners.

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Not for tech stuff, at least

NYT columnist David Pogue has said several times on his blog that he sends back ALL of the stuff he is sent for review. If he happens to like something, he buys one.

I've always thought that books and CDs are different. I'm not sure how to best express why I feel that way, other than they aren't "worth" sending back to the publisher.

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Well books and cds are only

Well books and cds are only worth something if you like it. They are not worth all that much of the black markets. Where as an Ipod is worth money even if the reviewer does not like it. So I can understand the point due to the fact that books and cd's are essentially worth nothing if they suck.

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I remember reading about how

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I remember reading about how at a consumer electronic show, Microsoft gave all the reporters in attendence at their press conference a free 42" Samsung HDTV. The report was talking about how most (but not all) the reporters declined it due to company policy

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Yeah, tech companies have (had?) plenty of shwag for reporters

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Back at my old job at a trade pub, we actually had a gift policy that forbid us from accepting anything worth more than, I think $25. So t-shirts were OK (I still have a ton of them) - as was the giant loaf of bread shaped like a trout (from Brooktrout, natch) one reporter once got. I think they made an exception once for a reporter who got an actual window from some vendor - because he was rebuilding an old house and actually needed a window.

My second best gift ever, which I probably should have returned, was a bottle of Crown Royal at Christmastime from a selectman in a town I was covering back at the job before that. Another reporter and I put a serious dent in it that afternoon - I got home really late that night. I did donate the giant fruit basket to the local Salvation Army food pantry, though.

The best gift, though, was from a state rep, who saw me trying to take notes at some outdoor protest on some freezing winter day - he got me a pair of gloves without fingertips (so I could avoid frostbite while still being able to take notes).

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