HELP US KEEP REPORTING. DONATE TO ORLANDO WEEKLY PRESS CLUB.

The swoosh of corporate influence 


Did you hear that Nike is in the news? I don't mean they simply made news, but that Nike is messing in the news. Worse, the "newsrooms" aren't even fighting back.

Start with a column that Stephanie Salter wrote last year for the San Francisco Chronicle, in which she offered a bare-knuckled assessment of Nike's global sweatshop practices. Tut-tut, said her editors, hold it right there! Not only do we advertise Nike products and stores, but the Big Swoosher is also a co-sponsor of our annual marathon. It would be "hypocritical" to run Salter's critical column, said the Chronicle's higher-ups. So they didn't, thereby subjugating journalism to advertising.

Next up: CBS television, presenter of the Winter Olympics. Or was it Nike bringing the games to us? Hard to tell, because Nike, a CBS sponsor, asked the network to have its reporters wear jackets that bore the company's ubiquitous swoosh. Amazingly, CBS agreed -- there was Harry Smith, Bill Geist and other "newsmen" plastered with a sponsor's logo, reducing them from reporter to corporate billboard.

Now, click the remote to NBC. If you watched the Super Bowl, you might have seen an NBC parody of Nike's new advertising slogan: "I can." The Nike ads depict young women declaring that sports allow them to break barriers. Good!

Of course, it's not mentioned that Nike's sports shoes are made by exploited girls in Asian sweatshops. NBC's spoof of the "I Can" ad was a promo for one of its sitcoms, but the global shoe giant wasn't laughing. Nike brass phoned NBC to say that the network's humorous commercials did not "reinforce" the company's message. And just like that the spoofs were off the air, surrendering artistry to advertising.

In the Brave New World of corporate journalism, Nike dictates what we see and read.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Speaking of Jim Hightower

More by Jim Hightower

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 25, 2020

View more issues

Calendar

© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation