Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Bullshit it is ...

... The FTC wants me to tell you something.

See also Ed Champion's Interview with the FTC’s Richard Cleland.

... and also Scott Stein's Disclaimer about books we review.

Earth to FTC: That's why they're called "review copies." Assholes.


  1. Ah, the wonderful federal government is at it again. If forced to include disclaimers, perhaps blog reviewers ought to include a phrase in which the FTC also gets full disclosure.

    "This reviewer received a review copy of the book from the publisher and has no contractual agreement with that publisher to write and publish reviews. Moreover, this waste of space on this review page is brought to you because of requirements absurdly imposed on reviewers by the Federal Trade Commission, another over-reaching arm of the federal government, one--like the others--that seems intent upon interfering with every aspect of American life. Readers are advised to complain directly to the FTC."

  2. I cannot believe the degree of heat generated and energy expended here over less than nothing. Squawk, squawk, Big Brother is coming to put obscure book reviewers in chains for receiving free books. Any reasonable person can see this is obviously going nowhere. Teapot, meet your tempest.
    Geez, get a life.

  3. Ivanhoe: You're probably right. It would be foolish for me to be concerned about the intrusion of government into our mundane lives. I'm probably over-reacting since I am a bit of a social libertarian and Constitutional conservative. There! I've admitted it. Geez, I really should get a life. Thanks for the good, objective, sensible advice.

  4. It may well be a tempest in a teapot, Ivanhoe. I hope so. But the point is that the pot shouldn't have been brewed in the first place.

  5. What is amazing is right-wingers’ complete lack of perspective, their readiness and ability to swallow a favored camel and strain at a literal gnat. An ill-informed government agency of the moment wonders if you’re getting a picayune “benefit” and using it in an unethical way and everyone’s knickers are in a twist over government intrusion in our lives. A coldly efficient government agency of an earlier moment intrudes in our lives in a sinister way by literally taking away our constitutional liberties with a cynically misnamed Patriot Act and it’s thank God for the government. Talk about actions that should have not happened in the first place! It did and does nothing for the war on terrorists – and it’s a scandal that the Obama administration is retaining parts of it.

  6. I think of myself as a classical liberal. Ed Champion calls himself a man of the left (and I call him my friend). The only partisan ranting going on in all of this is yours, Ivanhoe.

  7. An inane regulation the FTC has no resources or teeth to enforce. Federal government. Never a dull moment.

  8. While these guidelines are certainly well-intended, the glaring problem (and cause of all the bile) with the FTC's proposal here is that (a) the FTC fails to understand how the Internet works (although Cleland has expressed some interest in figuring it out), (b) the guidelines create a needless double standard where a newspaper is not subject to the same rules, and (c) there is an automatic assumption that a positive review involves quid pro quo and endrosement.

    Look, nothing would please me more than to see the FTC crack down on the junket whores -- the "journalists" who accept kickbacks from studios and companies and write nothing more than positive reviews. These people make journalism, whether print or online, an outright disgrace. But these guidelines go after the 90% of bloggers who don't possess such a relationship.

    Granted, the FTC wouldn't be responsible for issuing the fines directly. They'd have to obtain a cease and desist order to go after the bloggers. And Cleland indicated to me that he was working out the kinks and more interested in going after the advertisers.

    The problem here is that any corporate media outlet, which my Jay Leno video revealed last week, accepts far more money and "compensation" than even thirty bloggers. If the FTC wants to rake in some cash and keep media clean, they're better off going after the big boys, not the legions of hobbyists who clearly aren't blogging for lucre.