06.19.10

“Yes, Microsoft Basically Bribed the Press” – Newspaper Journalist

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 12:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sack racer

Summary: Former journalist explains why Microsoft’s gifts qualify as a bribe

SEVERAL days ago we showed separate arguments that accused Microsoft of bribery [1, 2]. Microsoft bribes in many situations and journalists know very well the meaning of it. Here is one person who openly speaks out about the intention.

“Yes, Microsoft basically bribed the press,” said the author (also here). “When I was a newspaper journalist working for a business publication, PR houses would send us free stuff all day, every day. The ethical line was a frequent consideration and lots (I mean LOTS) of gifts were returned to sender.

“…the way Microsoft went about their gifting today smacks of bribery and toe-sucking.”
      –Former newspaper journalist
“I do not expect anyone in the gaming press will be refusing their free consoles … Even though virtually everyone already has an older 360 model.

“While there is a valid ethical response to accepting the thing — hardware reviews are a vital keystone in the gaming press — the way Microsoft went about their gifting today smacks of bribery and toe-sucking.”

This bribe won’t just affect coverage of the Xbox 360. Those journalists will think of Microsoft every time they play some game on this Xbox 360 Microsoft bought them. They’re indebted. It’s a bribe.

“I’ve been thinking long and hard about this, and the only conclusion I can come to is that this is ethically indistinguishable from bribery. Even if no quid-pro-quo is formally required, the gift creates a social obligation of reciprocity. This is best explained in Cialdini’s book Influence (a summary is here). The blogger will feel some obligation to return the favor to Microsoft.”

Former Microsoft manager

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