Swedish retail giant Ikea wined and dined Winnipeg’s media on Monday night, and there have been scores of backlash against journalists for taking free schwag, beer and champagne, live music, and a 15 per cent store discount.
Nick Russell, a former journalism professor and the author of Morals and The Media: Ethics in Canadian Journalism, told CBC that, “it looks to the public as if the journalists are just what they’re made out to be in the old movies — freeloaders, drunks.”
Then again, think about the last time you turned down a free drink.
Of course, Ikea probably knew giving the people who are supposed to cover their grand opening was not ethical. But they didn’t make anyone drink. Or eat Swedish meatballs. And the fact is, Ikea doesn’t care. Ikea’s empire of weird instructions and hard-to-pronounce names for furniture is so massive they can basically do whatever they want, outside of sponsoring dogfighting or something, and simply receive more coverage (how meta is writing this article, by the way?).
On some levels, it’s bad form for a journalist to participate in certain things as opposed to simply reporting on them. But the Ikea spell is strong. And many of us have accepted their wealth of pride and confidence, lest we be crushed by a lavender cabinet named Isala (I will wait for my cheque in the mail).*
*Matt Williams received no free booze or food or furniture for this article.
Matt Williams is a writer and musician with a decent fantasy football team. Follow him on Twitter @WaterInHell .
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