Paid reach is perhaps a clearer description of the practice most people refer to as advertising.
The private marketing-led media depends on paid reach to fund its business; but, who should and who should not have the right to pay to reach is a tough question.
The fact that many news media state their ethical policy on advertising acknowledges that advertising can be unethical. The fact of the matter is that media advertising is unethical. Media advertising is the premeditated, non-consensual penetration of a person’s private mental space.
When history shows there have been some rich and powerful people who chose to mislead others for their own gain, is it safe to allow a system where there is no moral filter on whose stories should be spread through paid reach? It is outright dangerous to have a vast avenue where money is all that is needed to spread stories.
For thousands of generations, human societies have used organic reach and viral reach as the natural filter to sort out the good from the bad and the right from the wrong in our cultures. Now, in the age of mass media, that filter has been short circuited by paid reach. Previously, before a story could be spread a person had to judge it as worthy. Many individuals judged whether or not a story should be shared and spread. This powerful filter employing the principle that two heads are better than one and that many heads are best has been bypassed by paid reach.
In today’s reality, the mass of our news and information is delivered by private marketing-led mass media where paid reach gives the illusion to audiences that disinformation is information. This reality exists in a public funding vacuum and can only exist in a public funding vacuum. The private marketing-led media cannot be regulated away in a democracy that guarantees freedom of expression, but it can be totally displaced by funding ad-free public media. When people understand this, a public media revolution will happen.
Paid reach is undemocratic and dangerous.
Definition of “disinformation”
false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth
Source: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary