Ad Agencies, PR Firms Try to Co-Opt Bloggers

In light of the Gawker story on blogger payola, I thought I would share my own story and response. Earlier this month I received this email:

I’ve been reading lafiga.firedoglake.com and have a story idea that might interest your followers:

“One of the fundamental arguments for a European Union was the ability for companies to easily move across borders. An increasing number of European-based companies are moving a portion of their staff to other countries within Europe and more commonly to Asia – it simply makes sense in a global economy. Expanding facilities in different countries allows companies to take advantage of lower operating costs and taxes or simply to serve a new territory – and they often need proven managers to run these operations. Moving is a hassle for everyone, but utilizing relocation resources such as specialized agencies, realtors that have a national or global presence and proven courier services companies can make the transition smoother. In this article, I will discuss some potential resources for businesses and their employees.”

Would you be interested in having me write a guest post for your blog? Alternatively I could just supply you with some great trend information that you can use to write a post yourself.

Let me know if you’re interested – I think this topic will be of great interest to your readers.

Thanks for your time and best regards,
Margot M
Blog Content Guild
(Please let me know if you don’t want to receive any more emails from me! Thanks!)

So I wrote back:

Dear Margot,

I am very familiar with that process you describe which is known as neo-liberalism and has nothing to do with “liberal” politics; and which has caused horrific financial consequences to economies across the globe, both in the counties which have lost business and in the countries which have been the recipients of new businesses (think about the Special Economic Zones on the coast of China).

If you have been reading my site as you claim, you will notice that I cover pop culture, LGBT rights, religion, film, tv and other matters and have a progressive political slant. I wonder why you think a progressive political site would be interested in encouraging economic ruin and subhuman working conditions. Have you looked into the working conditions in the countries where some of these companies relocate? “Lower taxes” in another country only serves to benefit the company/shareholders, not the workers; and when companies relocate en masse, the finances of the mother country are eroded. With the loss of tax dollars comes the loss of funds for roads, schools, care for the elderly and ill. Those tax savings do not trickle down, and such practices are one of the root of the current Occupy protests. Seriously, you promote and thus would like to see more businesses leave your homeland, creating unemployment and social turmoil at home while exploiting workers and the environment elsewhere? Um, gross.

While I appreciate your entrepreneurship in trying to pitch me such an inappropriate and venal story idea, I can read between the lines of your email: You wish to promote certain companies with which you have a relationship. Remember this well: Writer and whore share many of the same letters, and it is wise to know who your trick is before you lift your skirts.

Needless to say, I haven’t heard back from her.

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