NY13 Blog; Retaking NY-13 from Rep. Vito Fossella

Following the corruption, ineffectiveness and hypocrisy of Rep. Vito Fossella.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Why the Advance's tshirt piece on Fossella is fluff

Last week we covered a story I called a 'fluff piece' by the SI Advance that had little if any news worthiness. The story talked about a website out there that is selling tshirts that it automatically creates by crawling the web for popular names. One of those names is Vito Fossella and so you can buy a shirt that says "I heart Vito Fossella." The Advance gave this angle an entire article.

I call this reckless abuse of journalism. News sources, short of something clearly biased and slanted, should be objective and should present its readers with, well news. At a time when we are involved in a downward spiraling war, at a time when even Fossella's own staff are discussing Medicaid and SCHIP the Advance should be covering stories of substance. At the very least one would think that objective reporting would cover more sides to this story. Instead they wrote nothing short of a favorable article for a large ad buyer of theirs. Since they failed to do any reporting, let me try.

There are sites out there that sell anti-Fossella merchandise. Sites like cafepress.com allow 'store fronts' to be created by real people who are not paid staff of the site to express anything and everything they want as opposed to shopzeus.com which automates its merchandise creation regardless of if there is demand or not. So while the Advance only bothered to cover the merchandise praising Fossella there exists this cafepress.com store 'Kick Fossella Out.'

Let's view this from another angle though, web traffic. Alexa.com is an industry leader in measuring web traffic and so I used them for some comparative metrics.

Cafepress.com is ranked 854 most popular website on the internet.
Shopzeus.com is ranked 1,234,061 most popular website on the internet.

Scroll down that last link and you get an ad for shopzeus.com that puts this all in perspective. The ad is a tshirt they will create for you based on the information they automatically generate from that site, their own web stats, that reads

"0.00003% say my site rocks!"

Anyone can find a site that says what they want, I never expected that would be the basis for a "news" story. And remember the buried gem of the Advance's "article", "So far, no orders have been placed for the shirts."

see also:
More on Advance's Fluff piece on Fossella
SI Advance almost covers a news story



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