The greatest problem with the corporate media institutions is that they are subject to the whims of their advertisers. They have to be—otherwise they would go out of business—but this affects the quality of their news coverage. Since my livelihood isn’t derived from advertising revenue, and since only what advertising appears on my site—but not how much—depends on the content of my blog, I don’t expect that to be an issue here.
I have made it pretty clear in the past how I feel about Google, so I’m approaching this venture with a healthy degree of skepticism. I’m going to keep my eyes out for inappropriate advertising, and I hope you will too. If you see an ad that you don’t think belongs on this site, please let me know, either by commenting on this post or by sending me an email. I’ll then correct the situation as necessary.
Here is an example of what I would consider inappropriate advertising. The following is a letter, which did not get published, that I wrote to The New York Times last year:
To the Editor:
Re "Correspondence School Helped College Players Qualify " (Nov. 27):
The recent article on high school football players using correspondence schools to pad their G.P.A.s to meet N.C.A.A. eligibility highlighted the tendency of large organizations to turn the other way instead of facing contentious issues.
I’m sure the irony was not lost on those who read the online version of this article and found it juxtaposed to an advertisement for another correspondence school offering the opportunity to “earn a degree in 7 days.” Unlike the schools mentioned in the article, this one did not require any coursework (no courses were available) to purchase one or more of a full spectrum of degrees, from high school diplomas to doctorate degrees.
Despite the New York Times disavowing responsibility for this advertisement and others selected by a Google keyword-targeting program, this incident should inspire a dialogue about the proper role of technology and the influence of advertising revenue in the media.
Let's have that dialogue. My decision to accept advertising is not a closed one, so I welcome your input.