The SB admins decided to make it more obvious that the blog was owned by pepsi (it was not so obvious at first), and the intro post at food frontiers was flooded with tons of inspiring messages (the link is gone, but I still have the page up to copy+paste from):
If there was a single thing you could do to destroy all that the various people who write for you have spent years building up, this is it. If you must cave to corporate concerns, which this indubitably is, then at least mark it as paid advertising, and retain some veneer of legitimacy as a result.
A corporate-sponsored blog has no place in ScienceBlogs.
It can't be taken seriously and drags down the legitimate blogs by association.
If this blog is not closed prompty, I hope the other blogs leave ScienceBlogs as quickly as possible.
Shame on you.
Shame on the ScienceBlogs management.
Huh. I wasn't aware that 'advertising' was a science. Or that the purveyors of excessively-sugared soft drinks knew anything about nutrition- oh wait, it isn't, and they don't.
What the heck dang is this doing on ScienceBlogs?
I don't think it's a good idea even to give this blog a chance. There will _always_ be conflicts of interest when a corporation is responsible for the content of a "science" blog. It destroys the site's neutrality and transparency, and so its credibility.
Only one solution: take this down.
The majority of comments echoed that, and the fact that so many people saw this obvious problem was amazing to me. I believe that this is why science and critical thinking skills are kept from the general public- it makes it harder to needlessly consume things. It makes it harder to swallow things like this happening. I see the potential for society wide change, if these tools are well distributed. There are so many times when I point out a problem with the unaccountable private power of corporations, only to hear someone dismiss it as irrelevant or unreasonable, so it was nice to see the change of pace. Greg Laden was one of the ones who did not see a problem. His comment was this:
How, exactly, does what happens here on Food Frontiers affect what I do on my blog? You seem to have a concept of contamination that is rather medieval.
The problem is that when advertising results in censorship, it isn't usually something that is easy to find out about. It takes people who are willing to talk about it, which may end up meaning their career gets ruined or they lose their job. If the blogs were censored (or edited) it is hard to know how much more easily that would be found out than when the writing of journalists are censored. People generally do not notice what they haven't been reading though, so when things are changed to please advertisers readers are left to debate if it happened at all.
The next day, the blog was gone. It is impossible to know if SB initiated that or if Pepsi did. Either way, problem solved, right?
Well, not exactly. I guess SEED media has done this exact same thing before, rejecting an article that made DOW chemical look unfavorable. Zuska hipped me to it via this post, which also has plenty of examples of stealthy advertising censorship in Ms. magazine, of all places. The struggle goes on. I researched pepsi as a result of this, and found out their abhorrent practices in India, and have decided to quit drinking soda all together. I should have looked into it after finding out about the coke murders, but didn't.
My nigel remarked "You'll quit everything someday", after hearing my no-soda initiative. I hope I can quit things I don't need like soda, and do as much good as I possibly could in the world. That is why I am wrestling with the idea of if I should stop going to scienceblogs in general. I am pretty sure that I could still read most of my favorite blogs (though I doubt pharyngula will move) if they go to other sites. Many already have. I am betting it will seem as hard as giving up cable did, and end up being about as easy. Maybe I won't even miss it anymore.
On a lighter note- check out the wanky corporate speak from the pepsi shill:
Hi everyone. I’m Daniel Pellegrom from PepsiCo, and I’m the editor of this blog. I’ll be moderating the comments that come through here on a daily basis and wanted to let everyone know that PepsiCo is happy to be joining the conversation about the food industry’s role in addressing global health changes. We want to hear from you, even those of you who might disagree with our positions. The only comments I’ll reject are ones that are defamatory or profane. Everything else will be fair game, so keep it clean and I look forward to spirited discussions here on this site.
Corporate talk is the real "new speak", isn't it? There is no way to express any ill intent on the part of PepsiCo in the approved language, meaning, it is impossible to express its actual intent. Do people who talk like this actually know what the hell they are saying, or are they so deep into it that it makes sense to them? This shit cracks me up at the most inappropriate times at work, especially in meetings.