When reading on the FTC's notion that online bloggers cannot be considered journalists, I start to think of a few things. The FTC believes that because a blogger is sent free consoles/video games to keep for trying out the games for review, it somewhat means that it will automatically breech one's integrity. Yet if you look into music magazines, the companies are given free CDs to review for the magazine. Do we deny magazine reviewers the badge of journalism? Or how about when a movie critic gets free screenings and posters to all just for reviewing a movie? Are we going to cast doubt on his integrity as a journalist?
Considering that the world of journalism has found the Internet to be its new form of spreading its message, with newspapers and magazines folding, I don't see why anyone using the Internet in journalism would be denied the right to have their work considered as journalism. Yes, some companies can be bought, as Jeff Gerstmann can surely attest for that after the GameSpot/Kane & Lynch fiasco, but a few bad apples do not spoil the whole batch. There are still plenty of earnest and hard-working bloggers out there who give their insight with the least bias and most understanding. To deny them the right to be called journalists because they print their opinions through HTML rather than on paper is ridiculous.
And why is the blogging market the main target for the FTC when these practices have been going on through many other forms of journalism? Check magazines that rate products from their own companies and see if that's biased or not. How about you attack their integrity in journalism? If you're going to point the finger at one form, you may as well point at all. Online journalists aren't the only ones receiving gift baskets. And a gift basket is not the end-all be-all determining factor in whether the author will keep his integrity. That all lies on the individual's integrity, not the entire industry's.