GAO Video "News" Rebuttal

Congress' investigative arm, the General Accounting Office, determined that video news releases (VNRs) touting the new Medicare law, which ran as news reports on some 40 stations, violated a ban on government funded "publicity and propaganda." The Hill notes, "VNRs are standard practice in the public-relations industry and local news reports often rely on them. ... However, the GAO said in its decision, 'our analysis of the proper use of appropriated funds is not based upon the norms in the public relations and media industry.'" O'Dwyer's PR Daily writes, "Video PR pros said many reports [of the Medicare VNR scandal] were off base or simply ignorant as to how TV news is produced ... [or] somewhat hypocritical, in that VNRs are simply video versions of written press releases, which are widely used."