Video News Releases

A First for the FCC: Fining Fake News!

The VNR that cost Comcast $4,000The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on September 21 that it was fining Comcast Corp. $4,000 for its cable channel CN8's broadcast of fake TV news, a video news release (VNR) without disclosure.

The Comcast fine is the first-ever sanction for airing a VNR, a sponsored PR video that mimics the structure and style of television news reports. The fine is a direct result of Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) investigations, and of a joint complaint filed with the FCC by CMD and Free Press.

The FCC's action against Comcast is precedent setting. It firmly rejects the public relations industry's argument that no disclosure is needed if television stations are not paid to air VNRs. Hopefully, the FCC will soon address the nearly 140 other undisclosed VNR broadcasts that were documented in CMD's two reports, "Fake TV News" and "Still Not the News."

The Spin Doctor Will See You Now

"If I had to do it all over again, I don't think I would use the Ontario system," said Canadian cancer patient Lindsay McGreith. "I would get my wife to drive me to Buffalo, because I know in Buffalo you'd get looked after, whereas here you'd just sit for seven and a half hours. ...


Reporting from Margaritaville

Valarie D'EliaThe Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority recently held its first "fam," or familiarization tour, of the year, "wooing about 35 meeting and event planners, people in the tourism business, travel journalists and their guests." Included in the junket were "pina coladas and a lobster dinner overlooking Gardner's Basin ... and tickets to see Jimmy Buffett.


Canadians, Beware: The Bugs Are Coming! (Or So Says Lysol)

A B-roll video -- an unassembled video news release -- has been distributed to Canadian newsrooms warning consumers that "disease causing germs can be found lurking" just about everywhere in the home.


Coke's Water Deal Omits India

When Coca-Cola announced it would fund a joint water conservation initiative with WWF, it identified seven major water reserves around the world where it would fund projects. But none of the projects will be in India, where the company has been embroiled in controversy.



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