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Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure tells the tale of Toby McCasker, a former deputy entertainment editor for the magazine ZOO Weekly, who claims he was fired for blowing the whistle on efforts by Rockstar Games to influence coverage of Red Dead Redemption. McCasker posted excerpts on Facebook of an email allegedly from Rockstar saying: "This is the biggest game we've done since GTA IV, and is already receiving Game of the Year 2010 nominations from specialists all around the world," going on to say: "Can you please ensure Toby's article reflects this ó he needs to respect the huge achievement he's writing about here." The Facebook posting is now removed, and McCasker is no longer with ZOO Weekly. "I did not sign up to become a journalist to write advertorials masquerading as editorial," he says. "This 'cash for comment' culture that is fast becoming the status quo within print media bothers me a lot."

Kotaku has a response from ZOO editor Paul Merrill saying: "I would like to make it clear that at no time has Rockstar EVER sought a preferential review in return for advertising. In fact no games company has ever suggested this. And Zoo would never give a positive review to a game we didn't rate in return for ad dollars. Toby McCasker was sacked for a number of reasons, one of which was his decision to post a private email on his Facebook page. This email was not referring to a game review. He should not be considered a credible source of information on this matter." also has a comment from Rockstar Games Australia: "We are not clear on what the story is here. We always try to present our games in the most compelling way to media and fans alike and of course we, like every other video game publisher in Australia or anywhere else for that matter, want to have our games seen in a positive light." The article also says: "It is understood McCasker had earlier received two official warnings about his behaviour."

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65. Re: Fired Editor Alleges Rockstar Review Pressure Apr 8, 2010, 17:06 Beamer
We use mutual fund recommendations to test whether editorial content is independent from advertisersí
influence in the financial media. We find that major personal finance magazines (Money, Kiplingerís
Personal Finance, and SmartMoney) are more likely to recommend funds from families that have advertised
within their pages in the past, controlling for fund characteristics like expenses, past returns and the overall
levels of advertising. We find little evidence of a similar relationship for mentions in the New York Times
or Wall Street Journal. Positive media mentions in both newspapers and magazines are associated with
significant future inflows into the fund while advertising expenditures are not. Therefore, if we interpret our
coefficients causally, a large share of the benefit of advertising in our sample of personal finance magazines
comes via the apparent content bias. The welfare implications of this apparent bias are unclear, however,
since our tests suggest that bias does not directly lead publications to recommend funds with significantly
lower future returns than they might have recommended in the absence of any bias. In selecting funds to recommend,
magazines overweight past returns relative to expenses, and as a group their recommendations do
not outperform even an equal-weighted average of their peers. Nevertheless, this approach leaves magazines
with large numbers of funds with high past returns from which to select, and so bias towards advertisers can
be accommodated without significantly reducing readersí future returns. Interestingly, the recommendations
of Consumer Reports, which does not accept advertising, have future returns comparable to or below those
of the publications which accept do advertising.

Doesn't sound all that damning at all, especially when detailing the actual reputably newspapers, of which they find "little evidence."
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