Since when is fake news news?

Los Angeles Times journalists are outraged that an advertisement pretending to be a column appeared on the front page of its April 9th, 2009 issue. While space is often sold on the front page for advertising, it is not usually making an effort to be sneaky. Journalists for the paper Times are calling this “embarrassing and demoralizing” in a petition. See the full text below.

LA Times

“We the journalists of the newsroom strenuously object to the decision to sell an ad, in the form of a phony news story, on the front page of the Los Angeles Times.

The NBC ad may have provided some quick cash, but it has caused incalculable damage to this institution. This action violates a 128-year pact with our readers that the front page is reserved for the most meaningful stories of the day. Placing a fake news article on A-1 makes a mockery of our integrity and our journalistic standards.

The Los Angeles Times stands apart from other sources of news and information in Southern California because of our willingness to report the truth, even when it angers powerful interests or puts us in peril.  Our willingness to sell our most precious real estate to an advertiser is embarrassing and demoralizing.”

What do you think about this? This isn’t surprising to me at all. I completely understand why the columnists are angry, but don’t think anyone would read this and actually think it was an unbiased article. I’m glad the discussion is being raised but am wondering why it took so long. I hope any anger the placement of this ad stirs up serves to make people think about the motives behind all articles, even those written by employed journalists.

Read more here.

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