Those of you who watch news programming from any of the NBC sisters (MSNBC, CNBC, or the broadcast network) may have seen a commercial from Amazon.com encouraging you to browse to a special URL for books mentioned in the broadcast you're watching. Well, says I to myself, how handy. What a public service.
Well, not exactly. It seems that NBC gets 10% of each sale generated by that page.
Robins (or at least Tom Rosenstiel of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, and Deborah Potter, executive director of NewsLab, both of whom he quotes) is hot and bothered over blurring the line between news program and infomercial. "Undermines journalistic integrity", blah blah blah.
Big whoop. This is just an extension of something Amazon has been doing all along, their Associates program. I'm an
(If it isn't obvious, the "Amazon associate" link above is just such a link. ARTC also gets a cut of anything you buy if you go there from here. Fair disclosure. Costs you nothing, puts a couple of pennies in the pocket of a non-profit that can use it.)
Maybe I'm missing something. Authors don't appear on talk shows at seven in the morning because they enjoy it: They enjoy seeing their books sell. This sells books, painlessly. This motivates authors to appear on the show in the first place. Television demands a steady stream of people with something to say: People who've just written a book
There is even an advantage to the viewers, who otherwise will be stuck at the mall the next day explaining, "I want that book by that guy about that thing. I saw it on
I swear. Next they'll be wanting to close down Oprah's Book Club.
Uh, guys? They always have. I remember when Barbara Walters was the Cute Girl on
Oddly, although all of these stories cite the Project for Excellence in Journalism as a source, none of them take the initiative and
(And before someone else says it: Yeah, I'm doing pretty much the same thing. But I'm not getting