The idea of a corporate partner or sponsor dictating what sort of editorial content a media outlet can run is basically the worst possible circumstance that a news site or blog network can find itself in. Although the more cynical among us likely presume that such influence plays a role in coverage on a regular basis.

A report by Deadspin that Quicken Loans and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert demanded that Yahoo delete a post from its NBA blog, Ball Don’t Lie, last March gives credence to that kind of skepticism.

The article in question apparently included a swipe at Quicken Loans’ business practices, which incensed Gilbert. Quicken had just agreed to a brand partnership with Yahoo on a March Madness contest, something Gilbert apparently reminded Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer of when protesting the post by Kelly Dwyer.

If you clicked on the link in that tweet, you surely noticed that it doesn’t go to a current article. It’s dead, Jim.

Furthermore, Yahoo’s chief marketing officer — who was put in a position of control over “media and editorial functions” by Mayer — wanted to fire Dwyer, but was reportedly talked out of it by editors.

There is so much more in Kevin Draper’s report, so click over to Deadspin for the full story. However, it’s pretty scary that a corporate partner could exert the sort of pressure that doesn’t just get a line removed from an article, but demands the entire post be deleted and nearly gets a prominent writer and editor fired.


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