That's obviously not product placement. Not one bit.
This is an image which has caused a massive storm of chaos following the firing of Robert Florence from Eurogamer(CinemaBlend) showing Geoff Keighly sitting beside a table with Doritos and Mountain Dew as well as a poster with Halo with both of those brands plastered right on it. That image begs to the question of where the line of advertising a brand as a journalist by blatantly showing the association with the company and not questioning the fact that you have some sort of influence on the consumer due to that.
This whole ordeal has Robert Florence exposing that certain journalists feel that it's fine by quoting two people who feel as though it is perfectly reasonable for you to accept gifts from companies that make the games you are going to review in the not so distant future. Lauren Wainwright has exposed herself to gamers everywhere by simply saying this on her Twitter.
""Urm... Trion were giving away PS3s to journalists at the GMAs. Not sure why that's a bad thing?" (NeoGAF)
"Lara header, two TR pix in the gallery and a very subtle TR background. #obsessed @tombraider pic.twitter.com/VOWDSavZ"
Having to say that this is what got him fired. Two direct quotes from her Twitter account due as he was trying to prove a point. Her response was not only to go to EuroGamer and threaten libel against him for something which Lauren publicly stated on the thing we call the internet. This has brought into question her integrity as she has also listed Square-Enix as one of her employers being that she is freelance. And freelance doesn't mean that you are allowed to mindlessly praise an unreleased game just because you work for the company. That's a bias by association and therefore is worthy of being called out. And every bet if flack is well deserved.
(Picture posted below of the original page prior to the edit).
Look at that integrity. Heavily praising a game that isn't even released and you list the company as your employer. Gold!
The thing that concerns me the most is that his article was amended due to MCV(Who employs Wainwright) in which her boss, Micheal French,had some fantastic words to say(Twitter) such as "You're a bad guy now if you defend your team. Video games!" Yep, you're a bad person alright if you defend another bad person and then randomly spout the two words that define what you should be impartial to when writing about but nope.
This is one of those times when you wonder what site you should trust for your impartial news and what people within' that site to believe who has some of the greatest integrity. I know Destructoid has a past history with Lauren Wainwright and I hope that those whom have been around her in the past have some decency to admit that she might have proven that game journalism needs alot of work before gamers can take most journalists seriously. Product placement doesn't help and neither does associations with other companies due to your status. You need to be impartial at all times and say what you as a game and not as a fan should be saying to your audience.
What you say will always have an influence whether it is directly or indirectly. It could be as simple as a phrase to wearing a Call of Duty shirt. Everything you say, wear, and do will always have an impact. It doesn't matter what medium. Journalism is journalism. It's best you get it right.