Bought And Sold


Advertorials in the news pages of The Leitirim Observer (above) and The Leinster Leader (top).

Frilly Keane writes:

For any Journalist to support a line of thought that is not their own is a fraud. They risk our democracy, and the citizen is their victim.

I said that the last time I was here although I’m not sure anyone recognised how actually useful it is to breath it in an’ out – for any Journalist to support a line of thought that is not their own is a fraud – every so often.

Especially lately.

The story of the week running alongside the National Bread Alert has been the Campaign for Leo Unit and their advertorials.

I’ve no problem with the nonsense that comes out of this well stocked Unit btw. But I am very uncomfortable with this arrangement for pretend’ie reporting from an industry that is known for demanding ‘freedpm of the press’.

This well-funded unit, by offering payment to get these promos presented as actual news and given news desk treatment and oversight creates collusion. And any publication that followed the instructions and conditions of accepting the Advertorial from the Campaign for Leo Strategic Unit FOR MONEY has in fact got themselves co-opted into the Campaign for Leo.

I don’t care how many departments, tenders and external providers come between Leo Varadkar, Fine Gael, The SCU etc and these newspapers. R€ward was offered, and they ate it up.

The fact is money controls the truth in this country, and shur’ we all know it, and I’m sick of always seeing it, but tis’ this Advertorial dressed up as legitimate reporting thing that has tipped me over past boiling.

Over the last few weeks we’ve all now established that this Strategic Communications Unit set out a marketing campaign that was designed to look like news.

I’m not sure they realise the damage they are capable of doing; designing ads to look like real hard news and co-opting journalists to endorse it as their own.
What happened to wanting to report truth facts and news. In other words, we are being played by Marketing & PR people who have already bought out the press.

In equal disgust is Fianna Fáil, I am certain that they get the benefit of the Communications Unit too. The Campaign for Leo Dept strikes me as having all lot prominence and access to the Government, and in particular the Taoiseach.

So, we may have to accept this Unit as establishment from now on. In which case, since they have already bought out some members of the press with advertising Income, who are the remaining unbiased and Independent voices left; besides me own like.

That Beast from the East saved the Fine Fáil joint venture (aka shared arse) this week. But it also saved the Irish Media that took the soup. They’ve bin’ gifted plenty of news to fill their column inches and shows. News they can’t contradict or manipulate. Safe and uncomplicated stuff.

As an industry they must accept they have failed. And it’s not just falling sales or the internets’ fault.

They have failed to maintain the profession of Journalism and the ethos and principals of the so-called 4th Estate. They have failed to maintain independence, and without that there will never be the truth you can rely on.

It’ll be the likes of Bodger and his community of web hunters that will be the news hounds, and shows like Broadsheet on the Telly that will be their own discussion platform.

With all their talk, their airs and graces, and award shingdigs and mwah mwah ‘what do you mean ‘you weren’t invited?” status, the traditional newspaper and other old school media were so easily bought it would appear that they never had too high a price anyway.

All the best folks.

Frilly Keane’s column usually appears here on the first Friday of every month. Follow Frilly on Twitter: @frillykeane

Yesterday: “Part Of Our Deal Is That We Don’t Have Any Moniker Such As ‘Advertorial’”


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23 thoughts on “Bought And Sold

  1. dan

    Focus should be on the editors of the newspapers that bent over and let their sales teams plant ‘advertorial’ without marking it as such.
    Hard to blame the sales teams/mediaforce – this is what they do. They job isn’t to safeguard the integrity of the editorial, that’s the editor’s job.
    Weak editors let this stuff pass. Strong editors would have insisted on ‘advertorial/sponsored content’ being flagged up. Some papers did this, some didn’t.

    1. Ami B and BS

      Spot on

      Some people think the government should not be allowed to tell us the good things they are doing as well

      1. realPolithicks

        What a load of boll**ks, content which is secretly paid for by the government to advertise what a “fabulous” job they are doing is the very definition of propaganda.

        1. Ami B and BS

          What was the secret about it? It was very thinly masked. You sound like a fierce angry gobspoo

          1. realPolithicks

            It was completely hidden until exposed by the Times of London. You sound like an apologist for the government and this type of behavior.

          2. anyone

            Jaysus ami you have angered the wrong gobspoo, look at how thinly veiled his female hatred is, better shut up now soon as he doesn’t like women answering back

    2. Otis Blue


      But are there many regional or local papers that actually produce news or journalism? Can’t really recall any stories that they’ve broken or developed in any way. Others may though.

      Seems to me that for most advertising is their raisin d’être. All padded out with court reports and community goings on.

      1. dan

        Yes, but it’s a slippery slope – their main focus should be on the reader, not the advertiser. When they ignore the reader, the readers stop reading, and the papers have no one to sell advertising to.

        1. Otis Blue

          Which, increasingly, is what’s happening.

          Anyone know how many digital subscribers the regionals and locals are getting?

          Precious few, I’d wager.

  2. Matt Lucozade: The Only Reader of the Village

    Broadsheet can help further: Stop channelling that RTE Press and PR department bilge as “Staying in ” and providing the daily “De Newspapers” plugs. A set of hyperlinks to RTE Guide, Irish Times, Guardian etc on the right would do.

  3. Gringo

    Looks like they have become accustomed to selling their bottom areas cheaply. Still, it seems odd that the papers would conspire to hasten their demise so readily.

  4. Lilly

    And they wonder why nobody buys a newspaper any longer. The back of the cornflake box is more interesting.

  5. Jimjam

    It was two newspapers, The Times Ireland edition and The Sunday Times, and brave journalism that exposed this charade.

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