Friday, April 25, 2008

Fire The Atlantic or, Follow The Money

Before recent (& radical) changes in my "life-style" (hate that term, being sarcastic here) the chances of my coming across a copy of The Atlantic, let alone opening it & thumbing through it, were slim to totally non-existent. However, I find myself in public libraries more often of late, & while I find it very easy to ignore on-line advertising (other than those epileptic fit inducing strobing ads that were running w/ Asymmetrical Information for a while -- I 've no recollection of what they advertised, by the way) my medieval obsession w/ print makes me pay attention to the adverts in the dead tree Atlantic.

And we all know that no matter what the editorial side may claim, the sales dep't. & the ads tell the story of who is being reached & why. W/ that in mind (& a tip of the Bouffant chapeau to fellow contributing editor NutellaonToast, who invented the "Fire The Atlantic" label) let's look through the April 2008 issue. That's the one w/ Brittany Beavers, the international pop star, on the cover.

And the advertisers are (in order):

ABB (International construction corporation, may be Swiss-based, may also manufacture munitions. Do your own research, things may have changed since I first heard of them. The ad itself is a two-page spread of a gargantuan fully-illuminated refinery at sunset or dawn.)

Altria Group, Inc. (Phillip Morris, the people who bring you tobacco.)

Credit Suisse


Wiley (Publisher, advertising a book by Fred Kaplan, Daydream Believers, subtitled "How a few grand ideas wrecked American power.")

Honda (Not advertising a specific car, but touting their CAFE #s.)


University of Florida

Calvert Group, Ltd. (Mutual Fund.)

Mercedes-Benz (C-Class. Not a specific car, but not just a corporate image move.)

The Vanguard Group, Inc. (Rollover your retirement funds.)


Subaru Forester


UBS (IBM when I CBS.)

GM Corp./Chevrolet (Touting environmental joys of a Chevy, no specific model.)

Aspen Ideas Festival (Produced by The Atlantic & The Aspen Institute. 30 June - 6 July. Are you all ready for Megatron's posts from there?)

Nissan Murano ("The All-New 2009 Nissan Murano" It's bloody April 2008!! Where do they get 2009? Something to do w/ the International Year Line? No wonder they lost WWII, they didn't know what yr. it was.)

Goldman Sachs Funds

General Motors ("It's just one part of GM's commitment to energy diversity...")

Suddenly (a few pp. before the staples) there is a distinct drop in advertiser quality. Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Mail order shirts ("Free Monogramming! An $8.50 value"). Fisher Investments (The 15-minute Retirement Plan. Features picture of Ken Fisher, "Chairman & CEO." Vanity advertising.) Three book ads. Rosetta Stone.

Here the full page ads stop & we are suddenly in radio country. The Bose cans & RosettaStone were just the start, we are confronted w/ shortwave radios & hand-cranked radios, exercise machines (this one costs $14,615, I kid you not). Coffee. Imported tea. Teach yourself calculus; open a new world for yourself(?). Books. Cunard. South American Emeralds. And a bunch of column by 3/4 inch ads for various crap. I'm a bit surprised there aren't any pitches for or for gold & precious metals w/ pictures of Megan, Sully or Yglesias telling us to "buy now before it goes up," (Those of you who, like me, are forced to listen to the radio all day so we can ignore our thoughts will understand.)

So The Atlantic is essentially intended for investors. It's the same crap you'll see on the Sabbath gasbag shows, if you're that much of a masochist. Most of the one page ads in the front of the mag, as we saw above, were corporate image pimpers, or from investment services/mutual funds. So there's the target audience, or the audience they're getting. Bad enough, & a good indication of why they'll never fire Free Market Megan. Even more insidious is that magazines, pundit-filled talk shows & the like are dependent on these large corporate entities, & if anything that truly goes against the corporate/capitalist/globalist/you-name-something-else-bad grain appears in The Atlantic these cos. can pull their ads & put any non-conventional wisdom enterprise out of business. It's not merely the corporations that advertise that must be appeased (because advertising in these magazines & on those programs makes no difference to GM's bottom line) but the very concepts behind big business that must be honored, in order for any advertising to keep the publisher's bottom line going. However, don't think you'll ever hear anything but "Oh, we're all journalists here, the advertisers have no influence on us," from any of these toadies.


spencer said...

University of Florida

Fuck those people.

Clever Pseudonym said...

"So there's the target audience, or the audience they're getting. Bad enough, & a good indication of why they'll never fire Free Market Megan."

Well, if they don't fire her for her stupid, ill-thought ideas because they toe the line, how about they just fire her because she writes like shit?

Susan of Texas said...

And because she's boring, and talks about herself all the time,and her recipes are shite, and she talks about her bff Matt all the time, and she can't write one post without making it about herself and her virtues.

I guess we could ignore her, but I'm awfully tired of watching people shill and lie for the administration and get wealthy doing it.

At least we can make sure she knows she's not fooling anyone.

Clever Pseudonym said...

Susan, the sad thing is, she is fooling some. Asslickers abound over there. I think that's part of her problem. She started writing when political blogs were largely a right-wing circle jerk and all she ever heard was how wonderful and smart and beautiful she was. Once that gratefully opened up, a lot of people saw her pretentious, self-satisfied, boastful rubbish for the crap that it is. It may bother you, but I don't really care if she shills for the administration. I wouldn't want someone to shut up just for having an opinion different from mine. I just want her gone because she sucks and I can think of a ton of good writers (not me - I quit j-school for a reason) who deserve to have paying gigs for their talents before her.

Susan of Texas said...

I'm pretty tolerant of different opinions, but I become overly angry at manipulation for personal gain. If someone is lying because she lies to herself, I just see that as sad, athough preventable. Megan does a lot of that, of course. But she also lies for ego gratification (as you say) and economic gain (salary, reputation). Which makes her dangerous.

Her commenter are incredible. I can't believe the intensity of their blind adherence to dogma. It's tribalism to the --nth degree. Of coaurse, it's backed up by ignorance and spite, to make the picture complete.

Althouse must be jealous. (And if she isn't, that can be arranged.)

Anonymous said...

"Suddenly (a few pp. before the staples) there is a distinct drop in advertiser quality. Bose noise-cancelling headphones."

What's the beef with Bose? Those headphones kick ass. Make fun of Rosetta Stone all you want, but do not fuck with The Bose.

Anonymous said...

PS- Love the blog. Eff Megan. That's all I have to say.

M. Bouffant said...

I was not in an way, shape or form fucking w/ "The Bose." Were "The Bose" to send me some of their fine products I'd be very appreciative. It's just that every radio talker seems to do a commercial for them, & that pretty much puts them on a "buy gold etc." level.

Hell, I remember when "The Bose" made actual high end audio gear & everyone wanted their speakers, though at $500.00 a pair they were out of most young losers' reach. Now they seem to want to save money on advertising & marketing, so we get downscale ad efforts & nightstand audio gear.

(Goddamnit, need a new onion for my belt.)

Spencer, have you seen the ad in question? It's a full-page close up of an alligator w/ only eyes & nostrils showing, & some edu-corporate bullshit text. Sad.