The Dan Rather Protection Act or how to clamp down on bloggers.

Snowflakes in Hell calls attention to the new Federal Trade Commission’s Guides Concerning the Use of
Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising
.  This is creepy to an insane degree. Read it with calm and you will see that the vagueness in its language sometimes brings out specific and scary targeting such as:

Thus, a consumer who purchases a product with his or her own money and praises it on a
personal blog or on an electronic message board will not be deemed to be providing an
endorsement.21 In contrast, postings by a blogger who is paid to speak about an advertiser’s
product will be covered by the Guides, regardless of whether the blogger is paid directly by the
marketer itself or by a third party on behalf of the marketer…..For example, a blogger could receive merchandise from a marketer with a request to review it, but with no compensation paid other than the value of the product itself. In this situation, whether or not any positive statement the blogger posts would be deemed an “endorsement” within the meaning of the Guides would depend on, among other things, the value of that product, and on whether the blogger routinely receives such requests

Example. My buddy Dale is a dealer for EOTAC and I do buy from him regularly as I can. My next purchase will be a pair of Vickers Duty Gloves because I attend sometimes SFDCC Rifle Drills and my hands end up a mess after two hours or so of rifle manipulations. Now, if Dale ( a third party) decides to give me the gloves cfor free and I just write a review of them in this blog, whether I give the gloves a praising review or a truly destructive one, I would be in violation of this FTC directives.

An advertiser’s lack of control over the specific statement made via these new forms of consumer-generated media would not automatically disqualify that statement from being deemed an “endorsement” within the meaning of the Guides.

Do note that there are no guidelines set so the FTC hound dogs can pretty much decide how much is too much the way that ATF does with its lab stuff. So it will be basically decided on a Case by Case issue and probably in every case the result will be a screwed Blogger.

It gies much more than just that. The Guide explains how Government shouldn’t care if this new reulations curtail Freedom of Speech for Blogs (cleverly disguised in the statement “interfere with the vibrancy of these new forms of communication”), or that if somebody gets hurt by the product because he or she is too stupid to breathe without the use of a diagram, the injured party might be able to sue not only the manufacturer but the advertiser, blogger and everybody who ever mentioned the product.

It gets MUCH worse: we gonna be siccing coppers on you dirty Blogger!

And although industry selfregulation certainly can play an important role in protecting consumers as these new forms of marketing continue to evolve and new ones are developed, self-regulation works best when it is backed up by a strong law enforcement presence.

But what really takes the cake and provided for the tittle of this blog is the following statement:

The Commission acknowledges that bloggers may be subject to different disclosure requirements than reviewers in traditional media. In general, under usual circumstances, the Commission does not consider reviews published in traditional media (i.e., where a newspaper, magazine, or television or radio station with independent editorial responsibility assigns an employee to review various products or services as part of his or her official duties, and then publishes those reviews) to be sponsored advertising messages. Accordingly, such reviews are not “endorsements” within the meaning of the Guides.

That means they are the Chosen Ones, The Professionals. The great minds that gave us the Exploding Pick Up Truck (with the help of carefully hidden rockets), the Great apple/dioxin scare (we are all gonna die because we eat them Granny Smith apples!) and let us not forget the Bush National Guard scandal brought to you by CBS, Dan Rather and the 1960’s fake National Guard documents made in Word for Windows. They are the reliable ones and should not be punished for sponsoring items, ideas or anything else, even though they get more freebies than a quarterback after winning a championship game.

There is no doubt this document and intentions behind it. It is censorship b y economic hardship and threat of police busting down your door because you may have gotten a Sham-Wow for review. It is also the first payment on the Newspaper and Other Traditional Media Rescue Act (soon to be followed by your taxes) because that way they weed out the competition and rescue advertising dollars.

Is this the Hope and Change you voted for? I hope that you are happy now. Please leave any comments before I get shut down. I just got some Papa John’s Pizza coupon in the mail and, since I mentioned the company and product, the feds may bust my door in the near future for violating FTC BS.