I suppose I tallied up the cost of telling it straight from the start. I knew coming into this game that overly critical, public-interest writer types like myself don’t ever really get to cash in, not the way our distant cousins, the travel, technical, and celebrity writers do. I won’t even mention the final destination of too many young reporters: the flack pool of industry shillspersonship known as public relations.
But when I started this blog, it never crossed my mind there were sell-out offerings in the mix here as well. Now I’m worried I may have just missed an expense-paid trip to Houston, or even sandy Corpus. See, the Center for Media and Democracy just blogged my recent article about ConocoPhillips and the insultingly shallow PR stunt it just graced San Anto with. While it’s nice to see the blogged version get some reach (I mean, just how many Wisconsin readers or online CMD fans would have tarnished their orbs with my inky opinions, otherwise?), another tidbit in the newsletter suggests that as a new blogger I may already be biting a potential hand feeder.
Citing a Reuters story, the Center reports in Oil-Friendly Bloggers Get MSM-Type Attention that the American Petroleum Institution, Chevron, and Shell are now wining and dining the (previously) unpaid (I’m assuming) bloggers who have happily been gratefully spinning out oil cheer.
API’s “new media advisor,” Jane Van Ryan, admitted that the bloggers chosen — for the Texas trip, Ed Morrissey, Bruce McQuain, Brian Westenhaus and the National Association of Manufacturers’s Carter Wood — “have not been particularly critical of the industry.” While API’s blogger “outreach effort” is new, “reporters who cover the energy industry are often invited by companies to visit offshore drilling rigs or production platforms,” notes Reuters.
While API is already planning next year’s lucky winners, I’ll go out on a greasy limb and announce now that I’ll be making my own way to the beach next summer. I may even snap some picks of the oil blobs as they wash up from the most recent oil spill.