Backstage: Will Sony’s deceit and bribes finally end?

Only a brief entry on this one, because the news stories today handled it pretty well: New York’s Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who ranks quite high on my list of do-gooders, has forced Sony to fess up that it had been bribing radio stations, orchestrating fake call-in campaigns to simulate listener demand, and setting up fake contest giveaways for listeners that actually went to station employees. MTV does a good job outlining the story here, but in three words, “big, big sigh.”

I say this, Sony, because I used to respect you so much, and because I keep on praying that Howard Stringer will listen: clean up this garbage already. How many divisions of your company need to be shamed by investigations and revelations like these before someone at the top decides that enough’s enough, the old tricks haven’t been working for a long time, and a return to your roots is now absolutely necessary?

Even after being ripped off by poorly-made PlayStations and misled by movie critics your company invented, your old customers still want their old Sony back. They want a Sony that cares again about making products that last. A Sony that gets public attention through innovation rather than graft or intimidation. The old Sony – the one everyone knew as a humble but consistently excellent Japanese giant, rather than a cesspool of two-bit hustlers willing to deceive and manipulate the media, customers, and anyone else for the sake of a few bucks. Clean it up. We’ll come back. Really.

And we’ll even help you sort out the organizational bad seeds who are making this sort of stuff happen. They’re well-known in media circles. Better people will make better decisions and ultimately a better Sony. Seize the opportunity. Please.

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