Television Stations Airing Seeded PR News Reports

You might remember last month’s Wal-Mart blogging scandal, in which it came to light that Wal-Mart was feeding information to bloggers. Many bloggers were posting the propaganda wholesale without attributing the (obviously) subjective source. Slimy MSM toads chortled as a chink in blogging’s armor appeared: why, mainstream media is objective. They’d never betray the precious sanctity of their journalistic integrity, as holy and binding as stone tablets handed down from YHWH. They would never simply ejaculate PR propaganda into our faces wholesale — they were better than that.

Huh. So riddle me this. If mainstream journalism is impervious to the temptation of recycling company propaganda as a breaking news story, why is it that 77 television stations aired fake news reports last year alone? Companies like Pfizer, General Motors and Capital One produced video news releases — fake news reports designed to non-obviously advertise their products and services — and a large number of television stations aired them without ever mentioning that these came from these companies’ public relations firms.

Not only that, but the VNRs in question were often outright lying. One General Motors VNR claimed that GM had the first automobile website… which is simply untrue.

The study, released by the Center for Media and Democracy, prompted F.C.C. commissioner Jonathan S. Adelman to refer to it as “a disgrace to American journalism.” Yeah, sounds about right, but who’s really surprised?

77 TV stations aired ‘fake news reports’ [Raw Story]


Edit Your Comment

  1. The Comedian says:

    Daniel Price wrote Slick, A Novel a few years back, the first few chapters of which explain the game of Video News Releases (VNR’s) in great detail.

    It’s a fun read, and it will change the way you look at the news.

  2. airship says:

    This is, unfortunately, not new. Journalists are just as lazy as actual human beings. Back when I was editor of a computer magazine, it was a source of neverending amusement to us to thumb through our competitors’ magazines and compare their articles to our stack of press releases. A surprising number of them were simply typed in and printed verbatim. While it was plain and simple fun making that comparison with consumer product magazines, it made us shudder when we realized that REAL journalists were probably doing the same thing more often than not with real news, regurgitating press releases relating to product safety, the veracity of various politicians, and whatnot. Don’t believe everything you read, hear, or see, people. Most of it’s just PR hype.
    BTW, that’s why I trust The Consumerist. No self-respecting PR person would hand out anything as cynical and obscene as you read here. I KNOW these guys write their own stuff. :)

  3. Bubba Barney says:

    Sexual, religious, and drinking children references? You are so going to hell Consumerist. [kidding]. Wait do Jews even believe in hell?

  4. AcidReign says:

    …..Sheol, baby. And everyone goes. Matters not. At least the Jews have the hope that one day, God will pull ’em out. I grew up Christian-raised in a Jewish neighborhood, and I have a lot of respect for them. When you’re counting up races and ethnic groups that have gotten a raw deal in history, you have to put the Jews near the top! When my parent’s church burned down a few years ago, the local synagog was quick to come forward and offer them a place to hold their services.

  5. x23 says:

    “I KNOW these guys write their own stuff. :)”

    hmm… i suppose. but i swear i saw this exact story on PBS literally a few days before this article was posted. specifically on the show “NOW”. seems mighty coincidental at the very least. yet no one here nor at the linked page mentions this… the linked page basically seems real close to being a transcript of the show i watched.