Poynter has an article (taken from another site) about how news media outlets also gather data from site visitors, mentioning tracking services, such as Chartbeat (which I have mentioned previously). They don't follow you around and keep notes just for giggles or to make sure you're doing okay, kids.
No shock that this is done to sell you their product, and offer a profile to advertisers.
But the practice is nothing new. I wrote an article about it for Presstime magazine way back in 2001. It was about how Canadian newspapers were having their circulation and editorial departments team up -- find out what readers want, and then have editorial pander to them...then put up signage in boxes and newsstands that targeted areas according to their demographics, and then the paper can go to advertisers with it as a draw to them.
This practice is nothing new.
What's new is that another medium managed to outdo them, and now it is strategic temper tantrum time...