Fake News for the Masses

The migration of sponsored video news releases (VNRs) and B-roll footage from television stations to websites is increasing. Major companies are "bypassing the press and going directly to the masses," in part because of increased scrutiny of fake news, according to Brandweek. An Allstate representative said posting the videos to their website "started as an experiment," but is now the norm. General Motors's director of broadcast communications explained, "We're just trying to get impressions out." Bev Yehuda of the PR firm MultiVu agreed: "Our customers are no longer reliant on broadcasters to tell their stories." In related news, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) marked the holiday season with "a series of initiatives to offer consumers tips for avoiding pirated music," including an alarmist VNR. As Consumerist.com noted, the RIAA video was "leaked (promoted?) heavily by the [public relations] company that produced it," so "keep your bullshit 'stealth marketing' sensors up."