The Associated Press has a story about controversy surrounding a show on MSNBC (Maybe Should Not Be a Channel). Dylan Ratigan, who hosts the network’s 4 PM Eastern program, did a feature story on Nucor Corp, which also serves as a sponsor for the show. Thus, controversy (hat tip to ICN):
MSNBC aired a feature touting a company’s “incredible” steel-making process this week, two months after saying the company would be its partner on a reporting trip about the American economy.The five-minute feature on Nucor Corp. on Wednesday’s edition of “The Dylan Ratigan Show” raised questions about whether a news organization was granting positive publicity to a company in return for financial help.
MSNBC didn’t address what the partnership entailed, either in host Dylan Ratigan’s story or in its December announcement of his “Steel on Wheels” reporting trip. A network spokeswoman, Lauren Skowronski, said Thursday that MSNBC would not comment on what Nucor provided.
The Nucor story, posted Thursday on the Mediaite website, featured Ratigan on the floor of Nucor’s steel-making plant in Seattle. Ratigan reported on the company’s use of recycled materials, calling it an “incredible process that transforms piles of scrap metal, shredded cars, washing machines into valuable steel products.”
He talked to employees about the “family” atmosphere at the plant.
“Good gig, right?” Ratigan asked one employee.
“I love it,” the worker replied.
At the end of the story, Ratigan described his visit as “an incredible experience.”
That’s a pretty nice infomercial, ain’t it?
I honestly don’t have a problem with this. This is what old radio programs from the 30s and 40s did. Back them, the sponsoring company was integrated into the show. For example, Red Skelton’s radio show was named The Rollie Cigarette Program.
If Ratigan’s show is renamed “The Nucor Steel Show,” I’d like to see “The Prozac Program with Ed Schultz” and “The Lyrica Hour with Chris Matthews.”