State of Denial
The Nation is the last publication I would have expected to engage in a “partnership with valued advertisers” to produce content [see the advertising spread for Denial, pp. 8–9, Oct. 24]. No matter how dire the financial pressures, this is extremely disappointing. I’ll take this as a cry for help, and say that I’m prepared to increase my contributions, but only if this disgraceful practice ends forthwith.
The Nation Replies
While I appreciate Jon Reinsch’s concern, I can assure him that when we say “partnership,” we mean it. The Nation isn’t engaging in any subterfuge, as our explanatory copy makes clear. I agree the result is different from a typical advertisement, but this reflects a desire to innovate within the media landscape, not a bow to market pressure. After all, color, images, and addressing the reader directly—now our standard practice—were all departures from the first text advertisements in The Nation.
Partnership also implies equality, which is why we innovated with Bleecker Street, an independent distribution company (staffed, as it happens, by readers of The Nation). While my colleagues in fund-raising sincerely appreciate the offer of an increased donation, it isn’t as if we’ve partnered with Big Pharma or Lockheed Martin. They won’t return my calls.
Associate Publisher, Advertising
Being the party pooper in a left-wing fiesta for cooperative ownership may be unbecoming, but Nathan Schneider’s piece on platform cooperativism [“An Internet of Our Own,” Oct. 31]—which I read in light of the revelation of a possible takeover of Twitter (for which Schneider is agitating)—made me feel the need to polemicize.
Platform cooperativism exemplifies the critique of the social Web as a factory that exploits voluntary and free labor while undermining unions and traditional labor. Indeed, platform cooperativism is late anticapitalist collectivity on crack, fueling the direct-peoples’-action pundits with hope (who doesn’t want Twitter back?). It promises all of us workers a chance to reinhabit the platforms on which we sacrificed the most surplus value, hand in hand with their workers.