The problem comes when journalistic outlets publicize Wilkerson’s tweet or van Rensburg’s tweet or a sweetened water company’s Derek Jeter ad or Tom Brady’s Stretchy Workout Stuff —in other words, run advertisements—outside the traditional advertising process. Wendy’s didn’t pay the Verge for the publicity their credulous article gave the company, just as Tom Brady didn’t cut a check to shill his pseudoscientific workout gear. Yet publicize these ads they did, not for the direct payment they would’ve received had Wendy’s bought a banner ad, but for the easy traffic promised by glibly positive, shareable stories. And like Wilkerson’s payout of a year’s worth of nuggets for all he’s done for Wendy’s, the media is cutting itself a raw deal.
Ailes found his calling in television. He proved to be a TV wunderkind, charting a meteoric rise from gofer to executive producer by the age of 25. Ailes had an uncanny feel for stagecraft and how to make conversational performances pop on live television. But it was behind the scenes at Mike Douglas in 1967 that Ailes met the man who would set him on his path as the greatest political operative of his generation: Richard Milhous Nixon. The former vice president – whose stilted and sweaty debate performance against John F. Kennedy had helped doom his presidential bid in 1960 – was on a media tour to rehabilitate his image. Waiting with Nixon in his office before the show, Ailes needled his powerful guest. "The camera doesn’t like you," he said. Nixon wasn’t pleased. "It’s a shame a man has to use gimmicks like television to get elected," he grumbled. "Television is not a gimmick," Ailes said. “And if you think it is, you’ll lose again."