George Smith Gives First Wind Free Ad in Bangor Daily News

Why is there no disclosure in the Bangor Daily News that First Wind is a "Premium Level Supporter" of George Smith's blog, meaning it would seem they are contributing at least $5,000 a year to his blog. http://www.georgesmithmaine.com/advertising-sponsorship-opportunities

Their ad is right on his home page under "Premium Level Supporters" at: http://www.georgesmithmaine.com/

Doesn't, at a minimum, good jourmalistic practice require disclosure of any financial connection between a writer and his subject?

Wind Towers Maine’s New Tourist Attraction

EXCERPT:

" Now, Maine snowmobilers have discovered the allure of wind towers. First Wind, working with local snowmobile clubs and the Maine Snowmobile Association, has linked its wind towers in a 590-mile circuit through some beautiful Maine country.

More than 200 snowmobilers participated in this year’s Stetson Wind Snowmobile Ride-In On February 16 including Carolann Ouellette, Director of the Maine Tourism Commission. Carolann knows a tourist attraction when she sees one! Everyone is hoping to help local businesses by directing the trails past many of First Wind’s 55 wind turbines".

Read the whole shameless plug here:

http://georgesoutdoornews.bangordailynews.com/2013/02/28/maine-wood...

Is blogging without disclosure legal? Please read the following from the FTC and decide for yourself.

For Release: 10/05/2009

FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials

Changes Affect Testimonial Advertisements, Bloggers, Celebrity Endorsements

The Federal Trade Commission today announced that it has approved final revisions to the guidance it gives to advertisers on how to keep their endorsement and testimonial ads in line with the FTC Act.

The notice incorporates several changes to the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, which address endorsements by consumers, experts, organizations, and celebrities, as well as the disclosure of important connections between advertisers and endorsers. The Guides were last updated in 1980.

Under the revised Guides, advertisements that feature a consumer and convey his or her experience with a product or service as typical when that is not the case will be required to clearly disclose the results that consumers can generally expect. In contrast to the 1980 version of the Guides – which allowed advertisers to describe unusual results in a testimonial as long as they included a disclaimer such as “results not typical” – the revised Guides no longer contain this safe harbor.

The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers. The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service. Likewise, if a company refers in an advertisement to the findings of a research organization that conducted research sponsored by the company, the advertisement must disclose the connection between the advertiser and the research organization. And a paid endorsement – like any other advertisement – is deceptive if it makes false or misleading claims.

Celebrity endorsers also are addressed in the revised Guides. While the 1980 Guides did not explicitly state that endorsers as well as advertisers could be liable under the FTC Act for statements they make in an endorsement, the revised Guides reflect Commission case law and clearly state that both advertisers and endorsers may be liable for false or unsubstantiated claims made in an endorsement – or for failure to disclose material connections between the advertiser and endorsers. The revised Guides also make it clear that celebrities have a duty to disclose their relationships with advertisers when making endorsements outside the context of traditional ads, such as on talk shows or in social media.

The Guides are administrative interpretations of the law intended to help advertisers comply with the Federal Trade Commission Act; they are not binding law themselves. In any law enforcement action challenging the allegedly deceptive use of testimonials or endorsements, the Commission would have the burden of proving that the challenged conduct violates the FTC Act.

The Commission vote approving issuance of the Federal Register notice detailing the changes was 4-0. The notice will be published in the Federal Register shortly, and is available now on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release. Copies also are available from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,700 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs

202-326-3707
STAFF CONTACT:
Richard Cleland
Bureau of Consumer Protection 
202-326-3088

(FTC File No. P034520)


(endorsement testimonial guide.wpd)

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm

Also this:

NEW YORK The Federal Trade Commission has issued new guidelines designed to set clearer rules for disclosure in social media influencer campaigns.
 
The guidelines state that bloggers who have received money or "in-kind payment" tied to product reviews must disclose such deals to readers. Companies that refer to a research group finding about a product must disclose any relationship with that organization. 
 
The new rules are the first update the FTC has made to its guide for testaments and endorsements in advertising since 1980. They bring into sharper focus the relationship of bloggers and brands. The FTC chose not to make a distinction between professional bloggers and amateurs. It also does not differentiate between paying cash and providing product samples.

Violators face fines of up to $11,000 per infraction.
 http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/ftc-bloggers-must-d...

Fair Use Notice: This website may reproduce or have links to copyrighted material the use of which has not been expressly authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available, without profit, as part of our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, economic, scientific, and related issues. It is our understanding that this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided by law. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes that go beyond "fair use," you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Comment by Martha thacker on March 4, 2013 at 8:52am

The Bangor Daily News has always been very supportive of First Wind, euphemistically speaking. But this goes along with advice from First Wind's PR firm. Gain support from local business/ govt.  leaders.

But now the payments are coming due. More and more townships are having revenue shortfalls as expected TIFs revenues just aren't there. Massive egg on face as many like Lincoln , were pushed on to the people , in a not so democratic manner.. The local business and govt. leaders only had dollar signs where their eyes used to be. Nobody could convince them there wasn't massive monetary benefits right up the road and around the curve.

Shame First Wind's PR consultants didn't mention ..do not lie. Because after a number of lies by them and all they have associated with, the people lose confidence. That is where we are now, shortfalls in budgets, covering up as long as possible, but it eventually becomes public knowledge. There never was room on the grid for power from wind farms in ME. First Wind is trying to make this a positive in some of their statements. But it isn't a positive for ISO New England,  MPUC and the Baldaci administration, who pushed wind farms on an unsuspecting public.

Meanwhile, our electricity rates have gone up 19% for "upgrades" to our transmission lines. starting at Orrington..it is public record that there was a bottleneck in Orrington and no power from wind farms could ever go south ..Would you know this from the Bangor Daily News? 

 

Comment by Hart Daley on March 2, 2013 at 8:31am

George Smith should be removed from his position for exploiting Maine's wilderness and economy on such a blight as wind power on our scenic resources. 200 snowmobilers does not represent a 12 billion dollar tourism industry! Why is there no disclosure in the Bangor Daily News that First Wind is a "Premium Level Supporter" of George Smith's blog, meaning it would seem they are contributing at least $5,000 a year to his blog. I am sure George is more than happy to promote their inefficient, costly industry to keep his supporters happy. (My response to BDN and message to George!)

Comment by Long Islander on March 2, 2013 at 12:01am

Some contact info for blowing the whistle on bad journalistic practice:

1. Columbia Journalism Review's "Darts and Laurels"

 

Example: http://www.cjr.org/darts_and_laurels/darts_and_laurels_1.php

 

 

Email:

 

dartsandlaurels@cjr.org

 

 

Other contact info:

 

http://www.cjr.org/contact/contact.php

 

 

You can also praise a media outlet here, where you see they've done a great job of note.

 

 

 

2. Columbia Journalism Review (Submit News Tip)

 

editors@cjr.org

 

  

   

3. Editor & Publisher Magazine 

 

Editor & Publisher

17782 Cowan, Suite A

Irvine , CA 92614

Editorial Phone: (949) 660-6150

Editorial Fax: (949) 660-6172

 

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/contacts.aspx

 

     

 

Jeff Fleming

Editor in Chief

jeff@editorandpublisher.com

949-660-6150, Ext: 218

 

Kristina Ackermann

Managing Editor

kristina@editorandpublisher.com

 

 

Deena Higgs Nenad

Associate Editor

deena@editorandpublisher.com

 

 

4. National Coalition Against Censorship 

 

275 7th Avenue, #1504

New York , NY 10001

 

tel: (212) 807 - 6222

fax: (212) 807 - 6245

 

http://www.ncac.org/

 

 

Board and advisors: http://www.ncac.org/board-and-advisors

 

 

Email: ncac@ncac.org

 

 

5. Center For Democracy & Technology

 

CDT works to keep the Internet and communications technologies free of government censorship and content gatekeepers alike, and to extend the highest level of free speech protection afforded the Internet to all converged media. User choice and control over access to information are the key to protecting core First Amendment values while still addressing important social ills in the digital age. Through our advocacy, CDT seeks to maximize the ability of individuals to decide for themselves what they say, hear, publish, and access online.

 

http://www.cdt.org/issue/free-expression

 

 

Contact info: http://www.cdt.org/contact

 

 

6. Electronic Frontier Foundation 

 

http://www.eff.org/work

 

 

Email: information@eff.org

 

 

Takedown Hall of Shame: Submit an Honoree

Do you know of a culprit who ought to be included in the Hall Of Shame? Send us an email! We can't promise to reply to all submissions, but we do want to hear from you.

 

  Email: takedowns@eff.orgg

 

 

 

7. American Civil Liberties Union - Internet Censorship

 

http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/internet-censorship

 

 

Maine Civil Liberties Union

 

Executive Director: Shenna Bellows

 

401 Cumberland Avenue, Suite 105

Portland , ME 04101

 

Phone: (207) 774-5444 Fax: (207) 774-1103 | Email: info@mclu.org

 

Web: http://www.mclu.org

 

 

 

 

8. Poynter Institute - First Amendment / FOI Bibliography

 

http://www.poynter.org/content/content_view.asp?id=77627

 

 

   

9. Maine Press Association

 

To promote and foster high ethical standards ...

 

http://mainepress.wordpress.com/about/

   

 

 

10. Al Diamon - Media Mutt

 

http://thebollard.com/2012/09/12/media-mutt-7/

 

 

Email: aldiamon@herniahill.net

Comment by Brad Blake on March 1, 2013 at 11:58pm

George, it is about time to cut the crap on your ridiculous support of industrial wind blight in this beautiful state of ours. Shouldn't you just move to New Jersey?

A handful of snowmobilers being manipulated by the wind industry does not make a tourism business. Chapter Two of the wind industry playbook is to go bribe the local snowmobile club with a few thousand dollars to buy a new grooming machine and invite them to a weinie roast at Stetson Mt. (Chapter One, BTW, is to woo selectmen behind closed doors with a pittance of "community benefits" to promote the destruction of the local natural resources).

It is pathetic how easily people are bought off. George, if you were really concerned about outdoors sports, the natural resources of Maine, and the local economy, you would pay attention to the testimony of Registered Maine Guides and sporting camp owners. Go back and read the testimony of the LURC hearings on Bowers Mt. and get educated instead of being a shill for a destructive industry

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?"  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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Sign up today and lend your voice and presence to the steadily rising tide that will soon sweep the scourge of useless and wretched turbines from our beloved Maine countryside. For many of us, our little pieces of paradise have been hard won. Did the carpetbaggers think they could simply steal them from us?

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 -- Mahatma Gandhi

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