Thursday, February 02, 2006

The short step from payola PR to shakedown journalism

From Michael Sommermeyer we learn about the case of Robert Lewis.

According to the lawsuit, Walters' company, Walters Golf, paid Travel Golf Media from March 2003 to February 2005 to refer Walters' courses to golfers on the Internet through golf course reviews and advertisements.

Walters said the Internet reviews of his Stallion Mountain golf course were glowing during the business relationship.

... But Walters said that when the business-advertising relationship between Walters Golf and Lewis' companies soured, Travel Golf Media demanded a 300 percent increase to the monthly fee it was charging Walters Golf.

Walters' suit alleges Lewis then threatened to make the Internet golf course reviews of Walters' courses negative if a new deal wasn't reached. When the contract couldn't be renegotiated, the scathing reviews of Walters' courses started to appear on the Internet.

Lewis plans to invoke Nevada’s shield law for journalists. But it is not clear what role, if any, anonymous sources came into Lewis’ reporting, such as it is. So I don’t see why the shield law would even be relevant.

I don’t see what difference the medium makes. Either you are doing the work of a journalist or you aren’t. Paper, broadcast, cable, the Web, none of that should make any difference.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The difference is irrelevant. Lewis is a swindler. Check out this story about a run in he had with Vistoso: