Jason Blair's Scandal Pales Compared to the VNR Scandal

Web journalist and novelist Daniel Price points out that here at the Center for Media & Democracy we have been sounding the alarm on Video News Releases for over a decade. Price writes that "thanks to the Medicare fake news flap (see 3/22 'spin of the day' below) America has been formally introduced to the Video News Release. Except they've been around for twenty years and we've already seen thousands of them. You know life is getting strange when even Jon Stewart can't handle the irony. As host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, America's leading source of mock news and news-mocking, Stewart devoted a chunk of the March 17 broadcast to [the Karen Ryan VNR controversy.] ... The real humdinger -- as Stewart was quick to point out -- is that the entire news report was bogus; a slick video package commissioned by the government, produced by a media communications firm , performed by a PR consultant, and then distributed to newsrooms all across the country. Forty different stations had shuffled the story into their homegrown newscasts, never once attributing the source. Upon hearing this, the Daily Show studio audience vented their surprise through a procession of screams and jeers. Stewart himself seemed to have a hard time wrapping his mind around the fact that out of TV's many journalistic outlets, it took a fake news show to expose a real news show for passing fake news off as real. ... Welcome to the strange and secret world of the Video News Release, where reality is bent in ways that even Jayson Blair couldn't imagine ... ."