Magazine article The American Conservative

Free Speech at a Price

Magazine article The American Conservative

Free Speech at a Price

Article excerpt

[LIBERTIES]

We think it best to confess that we didn't buy all of the books reviewed in this issue. Publishers desperate to wedge their wares into the declining number of pages that the declining number of magazines devote to books eagerly send stacks of free copies. Along with a dozen "future of conservatism" texts and multiple volumes with "meltdown" in the titles, last week we scored advances of David Baldacci's new thriller and a definitive cupcake cookbook.

We flatter ourselves that we're not easily bought, but there's always a chance that this largesse has compromised our objectivity. So in the interest of maintaining TACs impeccable standards of journalistic integrity, we're leveling with you - also, we don't have $11,000 sitting around.

Under new Federal Trade Commission guidelines, that's what it will cost amateur critics who endorse products without disclosing their compensation. Because the Obama administration apparently doesn't have enough to meddle in, the FTC has decreed - in a modest 81 pages of regulation - that online reviewers must make clear whether they paid for a good or service, the length of their relationship with the provider, any previous loot and the odds of getting more in the future. …

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