Is The Toronto Star's Special Section On Counterfeiting An Advertorial Or Real News Reporting?

from the just-asking... dept

Recent reports from both the GAO and the OECD have both suggested that claims about the cost of “counterfeit” goods to industries are highly exaggerated. The actual research suggested that it was a much, much smaller problem than the numbers that were often bandied about by lobbyists trying to create stricter laws. And, unfortunately, since those numbers are the only ones around, they’re often used as fact even when they have no support. Michael Geist, who has written about this issue numerous times — including in the Toronto Star newspaper, seems a little surprised to find out that the Toronto Star now has an entire special section on what a big problem counterfeiting is. The section doesn’t seem to include a single opposing viewpoint, and the whole thing is sponsored by an anti-counterfeiting lobbying group in Canada. The articles in the section appear to be written by Toronto Star staff reporters, but it sure looks like an advertorial. This isn’t to deny that counterfeiting isn’t an issue for many businesses — but it seems a little odd that the recent studies questioning the severity of the problem don’t seem to make an appearance, and the fact that these lobbyists’ ads are plastered everywhere. The website for the lobbyists even links directly to the “special” issue.

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Comments on “Is The Toronto Star's Special Section On Counterfeiting An Advertorial Or Real News Reporting?”

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Chris Charabaruk (user link) says:


I believe you are erroneously referring to that right-wing toilet paper tabloid known as the Toronto Sun. While the Star has its occasional follies (who or what doesn’t?) it’s certainly no gossip rag, and all true Torontonians know that the Star’s Sports section has never been worth it’s weight in foolscap.

That said, the special section on counterfeiting was a ridiculously boneheaded addition to the paper, and the decision probably goes against the Atkinson Principles which the paper’s management must adhere to.

DaveW (user link) says:

Marketing success!

The lobbyists are cracking the champagne! Victory! Our marketing efforts succeeded! It must be true because it was in The Star. The public is scared and will pressure the politicians. The laws will change in our favour, based on thin “facts” and specious reasoning.

As long as media is run by Big Business, the content is up for sale. And newspapers are wondering why blogging is gaining ground at their expense.

Chris Charabaruk (user link) says:

Re: Marketing success!

It’s not supposed to be that way with the Star. The main reason I read it (as opposed to the only other two dailies in the city that aren’t rubbish) is because it’s long been the only paper with real direction and ethics, despite its original past in yellow journalism.

But if ‘Holy Joe’ Atkinson’s principles of governance for the Star are being ignored, then yeah, it’ll be no better than the Globe and the Post, both of which are securely in the interests of Big Business. It’ll still be better than the Sun, however — it’s hard to sink that low.

andy says:

here's how it probly went down...

the reporters were probly promised to have direct contact info for these lobbyists, providing them some good sources on future stories. most likely, there was a catered lunch involved and the group got a chance to present all the problems arising from these issues to the reporters. the reporters lobbed softballs at them while munching on cold, soggy subway sandwiches.

i’m assuming this paper is a daily, so they probly had no problem running to press with whatever they told them. they had exclusive access to this group and, by all accounts, it looked like a chance for the paper to “scoop” other local dailies that weren’t privy to this lobbying group’s (dis)information.

editorial and sales are supposed to be cleanly defined and not bleed into one another’s departments, but there are times when the two muddy the waters. and when reporters aren’t well-paid/-trained, it’s easy to see why they would be pushovers for an “exclusive” story, pitched by shills.

all this to say, “it happens.”

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