Thanks for the ads disguised as articles, MSNBC

Take a look at this article reposted at MSNBC and tell me if you see anything a little wonky with regards to journalistic integrity. See it? Here it is if you don’t (emphasis mine):

Keep a canister of Whey To Go protein powder at your desk for a quick protein fix. … Pack a few Luna protein bars (190 calories, 12 grams protein) or Honey Stinger protein bars (190 calories, 10 grams protein) in your bag. … Another option: Buy Eggland’s Best hard-cooked peeled eggs. Because Eggland’s hens are fed organic grain, their eggs have 10 times more vitamin E and three times more omega-3 fatty acids than other brands.

At the bottom we’re told the article is copyright 2010 Rodale, Inc. Well, surely Rodale isn’t using the mainstream media to shill products, right?

Oh, wait. Google points to all kinds of publications by Rodale, Inc. that have been hawking these products like snake oil for years. And now MSNBC is reprinting their articles, lending these advertisements the illusion of journalistic integrity.* Nice.

(*I know it’s kinda funny to think of MSNBC as having any journalistic integrity to lend, but let’s face it, it’s one of the closest things we have in this country to an actual news organization.)

If this article was just suggesting one try whey powder, protein bars and pre-cooked hard-boiled eggs, that would be fine. But the fact that it suggests specific products–and that just a simple search on Google shows Rodale, Inc. has a business relationship with the producers of those products, including a history of shilling those products across the internet (presumably in exchange for advertising dollars in its magazines and on its websites)–makes it clear that this “article” crosses all kinds of lines when it comes to media integrity. Shame on you, MSNBC, though I can’t say I’m the least bit surprised.

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