Tom Foremski, formerly of the Financial Times, now runs Silicon Valley Watcher, which is just what it sounds like. He's just announced his first sponsor, and the announcement comes in the form of an advertorial full of praise for the sponsor.
I have a lot of respect for Foremski and what he's trying to do. The posting in question, however, raises the following issue:
Suppose your daily newspaper lined up a new advertiser who agreed to buy a full page ad each day. Then suppose the paper put a story on Page One to announce the advertiser's new presence and praised the advertiser's company.
Now, I'm not telling you that some newspapers don't bend over in sleazy ways for big advertisers. (Columbia Journalism Review is constantly tossing its famous (inside the industry) Darts at such behavior.) But I can't imagine a newspaper doing what I hypothetically suggested above. It would be over the top.
The Silicon Valley Watcher posting is advertising, and should be explicitly labeled that way.
Newsweek: Aboard Air CIA. The evidence backing up Masri's account of being "snatched" by American operatives is only the latest blow to the CIA in the ongoing detention-abuse scandal. Together with previously disclosed flight plans of a smaller Gulfstream V jet, the Boeing 737's travels are further evidence that a global "ghost" prison system, where terror suspects are secretly interrogated, is being operated by the CIA. Several of the Gulfstream flights allegedly correlate with other "renditions," the controversial practice of secretly spiriting suspects to other countries without due process. "The more evidence that comes out, the clearer it is that there's been a stunning failure of accountability," says lawyer John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.
This is not just a blow to the CIA. It's yet another blow to America's image in the world, and to our national honor.
To ship suspects off to foreign countries, where they can be tortured or otherwise "interrogated" in ways that would be flagrantly illegal here, is to spit on our commitment to human rights. It turns us, by proxy, into what we profess to abhor. It shames us, or it should.
Jonathan Weber, a very savvy journalist, has assembled a team to launch New West Network, an operation that looks to span several media formats and incorporate citizen journalism to boot. It's a brave experiment and I'm rooting for them.