From the department of kicking the US mainstream media while it’s already down: it’s not unusual for US TV stations to run corporate product pitches as straight news items, according to a new report by a media watchdog.
Over a ten-month period, the Center for Media and Democracy found 77 TV stations guilty of airing video news releases (VNRs) created by PR companies for corporate clients.
- Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed
What happens is that the news anchor stops talking about murder and mayhem on Main Street and cuts to a colleague who talks about a great new product by Acme Corp. The viewer has no reason to think that what’s on show is an advert.
The report finds that while videos were routinely altered to look as though they originated in-house, most stations failed to disclose their promotional nature.
Television newscasts—the most popular news source in the United States—frequently air VNRs without disclosure to viewers, without conducting their own reporting, and even without fact checking the claims made in the VNRs.
- Diane Farsetta and Daniel Price, Center for Media and Democracy
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