I haven’t heard about this before. Have I just not been paying attention or is this getting no coverage here?
Federal authorities are investigating dozens of American television stations for broadcasting items produced by the Bush administration and major corporations, and passing them off as normal news.
Some of the fake news segments talked up success in the war in Iraq, or promoted the companies’ products.
Investigators from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are seeking information about stations across the country after a report produced by a campaign group detailed the extraordinary extent of the use of such items.
The report, by the non-profit group Centre for Media and Democracy, found that over a 10-month period at least 77 television stations were making use of the faux news broadcasts, known as Video News Releases (VNRs).
Not one told viewers who had produced the items.
Astonishing, if true. Utterly astonishing. The bleak view is that it’s a more direct version of the media manipulation already in effect. Well, that’s not true. The bleak view is that it’s exactly what it seems to be. I can’t stand those sections in magazines and papers now that mask themselves as content. But at least they usually have a small print watermarkÂ at the top of the page that reads “advertisement” or “special advertising supplement” (like you’d supplement your vitamin C with a pill. Are you dangerously low on advertising? Here take this supplement. And buy a home while you’re at it.)