Morning Links: Chinese Journalists Cut Out PR Middle Men

Ok, so, yes, the phone hacking and bribery scandals are terrible, but it could be way worse. Paying journalists for positive coverage is commonplace in China. A flattering profile in Chinese Esquire costs $20,000 a page, for example.  “If one of my companies came up with a cure for cancer, I still couldn’t get any journalists to come to the press conference without promising them a huge envelope filled with cash,” said one Shanghai-based private equity investor. [NY Times]

President Obama at the AP lunch: “I think that there is oftentimes the impulse to suggest that if the two parties are disagreeing, then they’re equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and an equivalence is presented — which reinforces I think people’s cynicism about Washington generally.” [Poynter]

Wall Street Journal reporters reminded not to pass out buttons or host fundraisers this election season. [Romenesko]

Keith Olbermann had a hard time finding a car service that wasn’t too smelly. [Post]

There’s a random long reads generator on the Internet but it’s less of a generator and more of a scraper. Generating the long reads is the hard part. And why we need to pay people to write them. [BuzzFeed]

Netflix for magazines “Next Issue Media” will offer The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Elle, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and Better Homes and Gardens. [AllThingsD]

American Apparel ads banned in UK for being too porny. Better to be photoshopped into science-fiction dimensions than be sexually suggestive! [WWD]

Here’s a hopeful publishing tale: This promising debut novelist is 57. She look really good for her age, though. [NY Times]

Zimmerman’s friends and neighbors available for racist comment. [Yahoo!]