Home > Uncategorized > In This Economy, Money Trumps Ethical Standards

In This Economy, Money Trumps Ethical Standards

Call me an elitist. A prude. A dinosaur. But, I’m a purist when it comes to ethics. It is who I am, how I was raised and what I stand for.

I am also a pragmatist. We do not live in a perfect world. And I respect those who make an honest buck.

So, it was with heavy heart that I’m reading the New York Times story on ethical and possible tax evasion problems of Transocean, the platform owner of Deepwater Horizons leased to BP that exploded and killed 11 crew in the Gulf of Mexico..

And run into a BP ad that promised to clean up the mess it created in the Gulf. The epitome of product placement.

Don’t blame the Times. I saw it on the MSNBC.com website.  The home page Times story did not carry the ad or any ad for the oil industry.

And MSNBC.com subbed the BP ad for a Progressive car insurance ad. Then a weight loss product. A, ha, one of those roving ads in the same space. One of those catch me if you can gizmos.

But my complaint remains. Free speech and advertising revenue notwithstanding, it is unfair and unethical to place an ad promoting itself next to editorial copy in any media publication.

In the ethical channels of the newspaper business oh so many years ago, the ad department marked the dummy pages with the ad sponsors so editorial would skip that page if a story was critical of the people paying for the ad.

I recognize that in today’s media market, advertising is down and any ad is cash in the bank and in some cases the difference between living for another day or filing bankruptcy.

But BP is no innocent lamb. It paid Google to place three of its website links first, second and third on that monolith’s search engine when we fools sought information on the BP disaster in the Gulf.  Subtle, honest yet an unethical road to perdition.

The BP rotating ad is a tiny. minor subliminal gesture designed to put a happy face on the nation’s worst environmental and ecological disaster and economic ruin for generations of Cajun fishermen and countless other Gulf state businesses.

As a defender of ethical standards in the media, I take the same position as the National Rifle Association whose actor president once claimed people had to take his rifle from his cold dead hands while at the same time defending some jerk’s right to own a Uzi.

We give an inch. BP takes a mile.

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