As the hardworking staff has recently noted, the Philip Anschutz-owned Weekly Standard has been playing footsie with the Philip Anschutz-owned Xanterra Parks & Resorts in a series of pieces lauding the National Parks that lard Xanterra’s coffers.
What puzzles the headscratching staff is why the Standard would conscript its estimable stable of writers rather than set up a separate brand marketing shop along the lines of the New York Times’s T Brand Studio.
(To be sure graf goes here)
Regardless, we have sent this to Weekly Standard editor William Kristol:
Dear Mr. Kristol,
As a charter subscriber to The Weekly Standard, I have long admired many of the magazine’s writers (Joseph Epstein, Andrew Ferguson, Matt Labash, and Geoffrey Norman, among others) and much of its content (especially the arts and culture coverage).
Indeed, that’s why I find the Standard’s recent dalliance with Xanterra Parks & Resorts so troubling.
It’s not just the auctioning off of editorial pages to Xanterra’s branded content. It’s more the involvement of your writers – Joseph Bottum, Geoffrey Norman – in the enterprise.
The fact that industrial billionaire Philip Anschutz owns both The Weekly Standard and Xanterra Parks & Resorts only exacerbates the problem.
I am a media analyst in Boston and have written about this issue several times on my website Campaign Outsider (see here: http://goo.gl/gcK5rH)
Granted, branded content/native advertising is the wave of the present for publishers both online and off, but could you explain why you are using Weekly Standard writers to produce it when others are at least establishing separate divisions to create ads in sheep’s clothing?
As always, we’ll keep you posted.