It just feels like the Harvey Weinstein situation in regards to Disney and journalists. Like even us everyday Joe's knew that Hollywood was this big sexists, rapey environment. Weinstein and the many others after him are not shocks to us. The actual names we may not have known in some cases, but none of it shocks us.
Same with this. If in like 10 years some SHOCKING, in air quotes, article comes out showing how Disney bought off, threatened, had back door deals, ect with all these people in order to get good word out, would anyone actually be shocked?
I really don't think they have to bother with most of those things. It's really all pretty plainly out in the open for anyone paying attention. These huge companies - and Disney happens to be one of the biggest - simply make it clear to the media that hey....if you help us out, writing favorable articles, reviews, etc, then we'll help you out. We'll bring you out to big fancy events, maybe wine and dine you a little, feed you stories ahead of time, and so on. It's not particularly nefarious, it just means that a lot of the media is way more co-dependent on these big companies than we'd like. Which you know...ok, it's technically all above board (for the most part), but you still gotta be careful not to irreparably damage your credibility, and that's sort of where we are these days with most media outlets.
Well yea, that is my point. I guess I made it sound more nefarious than it is. Maybe some big heads at the company are getting paid and they tell their employees or editors to keep it positive, but as you say it is probably more so the journalists own thinking. If I write a bad review I won't get sent or invited to press events, screenings, ect. They know Disney owns most of Hollywood right now, so for their own financial security, they don't want to kick the bear.
Youtubers are especially suspect of this. Think of a youtuber who is getting invited to events or gets a product early or free. Putting out new videos of his experience, previews, review, thoughts and so on is his job. If he gives out a bad review and no longer gets invited, no longer gets products early or for free, he basically lost his job. He didn't get paid a single cent as you said, but the big guy owns him still.
Same for many tech reviewers or video game reviewers that are entrepreneurs. If a company sends you a free product to test and review and this is your job you do on youtube, would you not be afraid that giving a bad review would result in you no longer receiving free products. Or video games. Think of the youtubers who get games early to review and play. You piss of a publisher and no longer get the games for free or more importantly EARLY. Most of the views for a game are just weeks before its release when gamers want to see the game before they can. You now loose all that because you gave a game a 6/10. I always love the before the video starts them saying "I was given this for free or early for review purposes" as a legal thing so we know. Then we are supposed to believe and trust their final score.
That is why I said it would not be a "SHOCKER" Us everyday Joes can all clearly see as of today that such huge companies such as Disney have nearly everyone on their payroll whether they pay them or not. If your job relies on you getting invited to insider events, do you risk bashing that company?