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The front page story by Plutonium Page, "Curbing noxious human emissions in D.C." details how ExxonMobile and the pertroeum lobby have been pushing the "global climate change hoax." Today the Center for Media and Democracy is reporting its follow-up report, "Still Not the News: Stations Overwhelmingly Fail to Disclose VNRs" on video news releases (VNRs), that 46 stations in 22 states have used corporate VNRs in their newscasts without disclosing that the "news segments" are paid propaganda pieces. Free Press has launched a campaign to demand that the Federal Communications Commission  end the "fake news" programs. A map showing the stations broadcasting VNR fake news and a webpage petition to demand that the FCC put a stop to this.

From the "Still Not the News: Stations Overwhelmingly Fail to Disclose VNR" Executive Summary:

The ongoing controversy over video news releases has not stopped television stations from airing the fake news segments without attribution. Over six months, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) documented 46 stations in 22 states airing at least one VNR in their newscast. Of the 54 total VNR broadcasts described in this report, 48 provided no disclosure of the nature or source of the sponsored video. In the six other cases, disclosure was fleeting and often ambiguous. Ten of the TV stations named in this study were also cited in CMD's April 2006 "Fake TV News" report, for undisclosed VNR broadcasts. These findings suggest that station and industry codes of conduct--not to mention an ongoing investigation by the Federal Communications Commission--are not sufficient to ensure the public's right to know who seeks to persuade them via television news, the most widely used information source in the United States.

Report highlights:

In 12 instances, television stations actively denied disclosure to their news audiences by editing out on-screen and verbal client notifications included in the original VNRs. WMGM-40 in Philadelphia aired a full-length VNR after making just one edit--to remove the on-screen disclosure. A WMGM-40 reporter re-voiced the VNR, following the original script nearly verbatim, but omitting the verbal disclosure at the end of the script.

In four instances, television stations not only aired VNRs without disclosure, but showed PR publicists on screen, as though they were staff reporters. KHON-2 (Honolulu, HI) and KFMB-8 (San Diego, CA) allowed publicist Mike Morris to "report" on Halloween traditions (and promote his client, General Mills), while KVCT-19 (Victoria, TX) and KSFY-13 (Sioux Falls, SD) showed publicist Kate Brookes "reporting" on medical advancements (specifically, machinery produced by her client, Siemens).

Ten television stations named in this study had previously been cited in the April 2006 "Fake TV News" report for undisclosed VNR broadcasts, including such major market stations as New York City's NY1 and WPIX-11, WDAF-4 in Kansas City, MO, and WSYX-6 in Columbus, OH. Only two of the 10 stations previously cited--Philadelphia's KYW-3 and Cincinnati's WCPO-9--provided disclosure of their more recent VNR broadcasts.

In April 2005, the FCC published a Public Notice requiring TV stations to "clearly disclose to members of their audiences the nature, source and sponsorship of the material." Some of the undisclosed corporate sponsors of the "Fake News" violating FCC regulations include Pfizer, Intel and General Motors. Many instances of notifications and disclaimers included in VNRs were deleted by the stations prior to broadcast. Other instances of editing VNRs was apparently used in an effort to circumvent disclosure rules. The report concludes that corporate sponsored VNR propaganda continue to be broadcast as "news," without disclosing sources, even though the FCC is claiming to be investigating undisclosed VNRs.

Link the Executive Summary:

Link to Action page:

Link for tell the people you know about taking action at

Originally posted to FWIW on Tue Nov 14, 2006 at 02:43 PM PST.

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