NY Times Reporter Warped Into Dell Shill

Here's why you should never trust endorsements—besides the general principle of the matter. NY Times reporter Marc Santora did an interview for a startup site called Big Think, talking about how technology has changed covering stories like the Iraq War. Imagine his surprise when part of it was slipped into a DigitalNomads ad, a site that's "powered by Dell," magically turning his interview into an endorsement.

While he doesn't actually say the word "Dell" in the spot, at the bottom of the DigitalNomads site is a small sign of who's backing it: "Powered by Dell," so it's an implicit endorsement that, as Valleywag says, "suggests a New York Times reporter has endorsed its vision of mobile technology."

Santora says his involvement was unwitting and unpaid, and it's unlikely the NYT gave permission for an endorsement like this either, so it looks like he got played here. Apparently the people behind the ad have a particularly shady history anyway—last summer, that advertiser stirred up a wicked brouhaha by paying bloggers to recite sponsor slogans. Moral of the story: Don't trust sponsors, endorsements or anything that looks remotely cushy. [Valleywag]

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