Wemple frames Allen’s shilling as “native advertising,” an often-troublesome practice in which publications sell space for paid content that is designed to look like a staff-authored article. (One of the more infamous episodes involved a Scientology ad for the Atlantic that looked like a blog post.)
Playbook goes beyond the routine and wildly promiscuous use of native advertising. Indeed, the behavior Wemple documents would ordinarily amount to a scandal and a likely firing offense, except that it seems to be Allen’s essential job description. As Wemple points out, some of the advertisers are also Allen’s friends. And, of course, his sources also consist significantly of his friends.
The intermingling of media, business, and elected officials that is on gross display once a year during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and which Politico both covers and participates in with peerless enthusiasm, is Allen’s vision of how journalism is supposed to function normally.
I wonder how many journalism schools will invite him to speak this year.