What’s all this controversy about abs appearing on the cover of Men’s Health magazine?

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Over the years, I’ve seen news coverage about the number of times the word “abs” appears on the cover of Men’s Health magazine, but today marks the first time I’ve seen anything suggesting that “ads” appear on those covers, also.

As I’ve written before, reporters at the New York Times seem obsessed with anything “ad-like” that appears on the cover of magazines. Latest example: This blog post about a non-paid credit line appearing on the cover of Men’s Health magazine. And in this case, the reporter even provides a quote from the group who ajudicates what is, and is not, “an ad,” and even they say it’s not:

According to the most recent guidelines from the American Society of Magazine Editors, a trade group, “companies and products should appear on covers only in an editorial context and not in a way that suggests advertisement.” Sid Holt, chief executive of the magazine association, said through a spokesman that he did not think the placement of the credit broke any of the association’s guidelines.

So, even the ASME police say it’s not a problem, but the NYTimes.com reporter still thinks its news worth posting.

So what’s the deal? Especially, as I’ve noted before, when the NYTimes.com allows advertisers to take over its homepage and interact with editorial content.

Oh, nevermind.