Did Sheldon Adelson Pay NewsWeek to Write Poker Face?
The poker world is in its latest uproar over last week's NewsWeek article "How Washington Opened the Floodgates to Online Poker, Dealing Parents a Bad Hand."
This piece has been called everything from politically motivated to bad journalism to a bag of lies. I've read over the article and I'm not here to debate the accuracy of the article. Rather, I have reason to believe that the article was purchased by Adelson's coalition.
Some websites still employ the "article for links" method to build up their ranking on Google. In most cases, the sites are relatively unknown or second-tier sites.
However, on occasion you will have a mainstream company that will accept an article in a certain niche if it meets their editorial guidelines. I've personally provided such articles for several mainstream sites in the past. Some were on poker and some were on other topics.
Another way to purchase such an article is the client tells the site what topic they want covered and then they negotiate a price for the article. This is a much more expensive option, but you have the advantage of having a staff writer for the mainstream company craft your piece.
Some have hinted that Sheldon Adelson's Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling was behind the NewsWeek article, and based on experience, I tend to agree.
The article is crafted to communicate one point or set of points. While the author has claimed that the article is not anti-iGaming, it is clear that the article was written with the intent to communicate the opposition's message.
There is little attempt to communicate the other side of the story, and that is another red flag to me that this was a paid piece. To me, this looks like a writer was given a set of talking points to reinforce and research and they stuck to the script.
I've received requests for one-sided articles like this in the past. The client only wanted their viewpoint expressed and at times, I have been told specifically to ignore opposing arguments or if I do, refute them.
The reality of this article is that it is an extremely well researched and crafted piece, just not for our side. There are some errors and a ton of bias, but it has accomplished its purpose and communicated the opposition's message.
If Adelson did indeed commission NewsWeek to write the article, he probably paid a pretty penny for it and honestly, he got his money's worth. Now the question is who will step up on our side and commission a similar counterargument.