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Paid to Say It (was: Tom Ivers Letter)

Howard said:

> Let's face it folks, TI's rants are biased.  He's anti AERC,
> anti Ridecamp, and pro Sultans' of Swing.  This is because
> he's on their payroll.  Duh!  If I were collecting a check
> from them I'd have to change my words around to keep that
> money flowing in.

Few people are not aware that I have disagreed with some of Tom Iver's
statements on this list and that I have some disagreement with the way
that he presents the things he has to say (as I am sure some people do
with my own presentation).

However, I must also disagree with Howards above assertion that Tom is
saying what he is paid to say, no matter what he may privately think.
From my own understanding of Tom's efforts both in the flat track racing
world and in his forrays into the endurance world, he is one of the few
people who will say exactly what he thinks (or believes in passionately)
and to hell with what the rest of the world thinks.  I have never known
him to say what people want to hear, even if it is people that would pay
him to do so, and he probably could "win friends and influence people"
more, including making more money were he less insistent and abrasive
about saying only and exactly what he thinks.

Not being a subscriber to Endurance World magazine, I have not read this
latest letter, but I can say, with almost absolute assurity on my part,
that no part of his opinion was changed or slanted in any way to
accommodate people who may be paying him.  While he may be "anti-AERC,
anti-Ridecamp, and pro-Sultan's of Swing" I do not believe that this is
because he is on their payroll.  The causal relationship probably runs the
other way.

However, this does lead to the separate question of "just how meaningful
are product endorsements from 'celebrities' that are paid for the use of
their name?"

I must admit (not knowing these people personally at all) that an opinion
or endorsement of a product from, for example, John Lyons means absolutely
nothing to me as I am unsure whether he is saying what he really thinks or
he is saying what he has been paid the most to say.  And I must confess
that I feel this way about almost all product endorsements that have been
paid for.

(Mike Plumb's) Horse Journal has always been very explicit about the fact
that it does not take any advertising dollars with the idea that their
product evaluations become suspect if they do so.

To what extent do other people give credence to endorsements from top
contenders or well known participants (who they don't know personally) if
they know that those endorsements have been paid for?

Orange County, Calif.

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