Bag of wind: Outdoor writer George Smith doesn’t like to disclose his conflicts of interest.
So, he just doesn’t do it.
I’ve had some e-mail correspondence with Smith about this issue over the years, since I’ve pointed out his ethical shortcomings again and again and again. It’s plain from his responses that he doesn’t consider his business relationships with companies he writes about – several of them sponsor his website, in effect paying him to say nice things about them – to rise to the level of requiring disclosure. As for his sister’s involvement with various politicians and campaigns, that’s equally off the record. His editors at the Morning Sentinel, where he writes a weekly column, and the Bangor Daily News, where he has a blog, seem just as unconcerned.
The latest example of Smith ignoring the rules came on Feb. 28, when he posted a Bangor Daily piece on what a wonderful sightseeing attraction the wind turbines put up by First Wind have become for snowmobilers. First Wind is a sponsor of his site, but, as usual, he neglected to inform his readers of that fact.
Anti-wind activists were quick to jump on the omission, but even those who favor the projects should be appalled at Smith’s continuing refusal to air out his ties to the company.
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