Monday, September 23, 2013

"The Squeeze" Research Report-Alec Cordero

           The article entitled “The Squeeze” by Russ Baker from the Columbia Journalism Review presents an in-depth perspective on how the advertising agencies of certain major companies such as Chrysler demand to be warned about upcoming editorial content that could possibly contain sexual or political content, social issues, and/or materials and editorials that may otherwise be deemed offensive to the average reader. The reason being is to ensure that ads such as those belonging to a company like Chrysler or Coca Cola are not placed beside articles about mature or graphic content such as a terrorist attack or sexually-related themes in order to appear “reader-friendly”. The author, Russ Baker, considers the actions these actions of advertisers to emanate an overbearing influence on magazines and newspapers by challenging their right to free speech, but what compels him to follow this logic?
            Russ Baker is an investigative journalist with a notable track record of having produced over a thousand stories throughout his career. He has covered subjects throughout the world ranging from the Hutu-Tutsi massacres in Rwanda, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, to the coup against Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. In addition to these hard-news stories, he spent a year and a half as a correspondent in former Yugoslavia. Also, he has written some lighter content such as essays, critiques and profiles on famous individuals such as Iron Chef Morimoto. Baker has received a number of achievements including the Society of Professional Journalists and Mencken and Common Cause awards. He acted as a panelist for the national conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors and is now a supplementary faculty member at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He is also an active participant in electronic media in terms of discussing current events, a co-founder of a journalism company called MediaBistro, and the head of his news website, Baker heavily devoted himself to research on the Bush administration and the events that led up to the War on Terror in his book Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years.
            It’s important to take note of the fact that Baker wrote “The Squeeze” on his own website,, therefore it can be assumed that he wants his readers to examine the story from his own very specific perspective. However, he wants his information to be widely available to the general public or for those who seek a greater truth beyond what the mainstream media conveys to them. He’s heavily devoted to uncovering the hidden truth about strategic advertising and how newspaper and magazine editors are constantly bending to the will of their advertisers. This is largely due to the fact that advertisers generate a large percent of revenue for the magazines and newspapers they are featured in. According to his personal website, Baker seeks to present the truth to the public in a “compelling, entertaining, and thoughtful manner”. Interestingly enough, he has comments disabled on this particular article on his personal website, but he allows comments on, therefore one must be wary of the type of information that’s presented in each of his articles. On a final note, the following paragraph is posted at the end of each article right before the comments section: “Keep it civil. Keep it relevant. Keep it clear. Keep it short. Keep it intelligent. Identify your assertions as fact or speculation. No typing in ALL-CAPS. And please read the article in its entirety before commenting. Note: We reserve the right to remove any post at any time.” However, there appears to be great debate over the veracity of Baker's claims upon examining the long list of aggressive comments on Clearly, he holds a high disdain for uninformed opinions or remarks that are simply unintelligent drivel. Russ Baker evidently does not settle for less than the absolute truth.
Baker, R. (n.d.). About Russ Baker. RussBaker. Retrieved September 23, 2013, from
Baker, R. (n.d.) The Project. WhoWhatWhy. Retrieved September 23, 2013, from       
Baker, R. (1997). The squeeze. Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved September 23, 2013,

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