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Corporate Propaganda Still On the News 275

Posted by kdawson
from the corporate-speech dept.
mofomojo writes, "Democracy Now! reports that a new study by the Center for Media and Democracy says Americans are still being shown corporate public relations videos disguised as news reports on newscasts across the country. In April, the Center identified 77 stations using Video News Releases in their newscasts; the findings led to an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission. A followup study has found that 10 of those stations are still airing VNRs today, for a new total of 46 stations in 22 states." From the article: "Most of the VNRs have aired on stations owned by large media conglomerates such as News Corp., Tribune, and Disney. They've also been sponsored by some of the country's biggest corporations including General Motors, GlaxoSmithKline, and Allstate Insurance."
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Corporate Propaganda Still On the News

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  • by Timesprout (579035) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @08:44AM (#16850554)
    Adverts disguised as stories?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Otter (3800)
      For that matter, what is this story except a regurgitated press release from one of "the country's biggest" political non-profits?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JabberWokky (19442)
        Most news is wire stories and press releases. That it is expected to be any different for television news is a bizarre concept.

        --
        Evan

    • by Gregory Cox (997625) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @10:04AM (#16851258)
      Yes, but these are worse.

      Slashdot editors don't check the affiliations of people who submit stories, and allow anonymous submissions, so Slashvertisements are possible. However, I don't think anyone expects anything different. The submitters are named, or the story starts "An anonymous reader writes...", and readers are left to draw their own conclusions about any potential bias.

      On the other hand, news channels don't take submissions from just anyone when they make news stories. They're supposed to be deciding what to air themselves, with the aim of informing their viewers. If they use a corporate PR video that looks like a news report, they ought to know the source; the problem is when they deliberately fail to declare who made it, as this means that they are disguising advertisements as news.
  • Let me be.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by myspys (204685) * on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @08:47AM (#16850570) Homepage
    .. the first one to say DUH
  • by Salvance (1014001) * on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @08:54AM (#16850612) Homepage Journal
    I've seen a few of these fake corporate news stories, and usually it's pretty obvious that the story came from a company (particularly for regular viewers, since the local news reporters are typically not involved). As sneaky as this is though, I'd much rather watch corporate ads disguised as news than government propaganda disguised as news [independent.co.uk], something the current administration has been found to do.

    Either way, it's pretty sneaky and low.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:17AM (#16850772)
      As sneaky as this is though, I'd much rather watch corporate ads disguised as news than government propaganda disguised as news

      What have you got, then?

      Well there's news, propaganda and news, news news ads and propaganda, propaganda news ads and propaganda, news news ads ads and propaganda, and propaganda news and ads...

      Have you got anything without propaganda in it?

      Well, there's news news ads and propaganda. That's not got much propaganda in it.

      I don't want any propaganda!
      • by wolfemi1 (765089)
        News without propaganda in it? Eeew!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Stormwatch (703920)

        Well there's news, propaganda and news, news news ads and propaganda, propaganda news ads and propaganda, news news ads ads and propaganda, and propaganda news and ads...

        Well, there's egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam; spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam; or Lobster Thermidor a Cr

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      How dare you express such insubordination toward our rightful superiors?

      Don't you realize that they have our best interests at heart? Those kind leaders, in government and industry alike, seek naught but to guide us gently along the correct path.

      Without such friendly guidance, would the plebes understand the importance of torture, the vital necessity of constant surveillance, and the horrible danger of jury trials? These ideas are all vital and beautiful aspects of enlightened rule, yet we see at every tu
    • by real gumby (11516) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:40AM (#16850980)
      ...usually it's pretty obvious that the story came from a company...
      The problem is: how do you know?
       
      Perhaps you only notice the poorly-done ones. After all, it's common to have radio DJs do spots for local businesses, which also is clearly an ad. But it's also common for DJs to work product mentions into the morning banter. The same applies to TV: how can you tell if that news segment on the local Coke plant was just a random filler or an ad placement by the bottler? What's the difference?
    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:45AM (#16851038) Homepage
      Can they take this out of the magazines too? This kind of stuff really bugs me. They look like articles, and take up 4-5 pages in a magazine, but except for the word "Advertisement" appearing in small at the top of the article, they look just like articles. I can understand this happening in crappy tabloids, but I see it more often in news magazines. It's really quite terrible when companies try to hide their articles under the guise of a magazine article. It's deceiving to the public, and it makes it really annoying to try to find the real articles in a magazine.
    • by geobeck (924637)

      I'd much rather watch corporate ads disguised as news than government propaganda disguised as news...

      Really? Who do you think has the greatest influence on the government? Some people are so fearful of the ghost of socialism that they can't see that their government has become little more than an an oligarchy controlled by the rich elite.

      The fact that you get so much of your news from News Corporation should be a strong hint of just how impartial that news is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Simon (815)
        Some people are so fearful of the ghost of socialism that they can't see that their government has become little more than an an oligarchy controlled by the rich elite. The fact that you get so much of your news from News Corporation should be a strong hint of just how impartial that news is.

        To put the whole topic of "corporate bias in the media" in a nutshell: "Beware of advice from the rich, for they do not seek company."

        --
        Simon

  • Has anyone else noticed that at every turn corporations again and again attempt to subvert the powers of the state and twist both public opinion and the law to their own benefit. In many cases, large corporations behave like small, independant countries or baronies, accountable to no one but themselves and largely immune from reprecussion. Only the state can realistically challenge their authority, and even then only with considerable effort and expense.

    The situation in many ways resembles the old medieval baronies, who quarralled and feuded amoung themselves, and methaphoricall and literally stamped on the faces of the general population. The state/king had only limited ability to exercise control and essentially each barony was a virtual state within a state. In many cases, different parts of a country could be at war with one another, or with the monarchy.

    In case anyone thinks this is a bit far fetched, consider this. What if MegaCorp(TM), drove up to your house one day and towed away your car on some flimsy legal pretense? Barons and Lords did this kind of thing all the time. What can you do? It's getting to the point that the police will not even dare to investigate large corporations with their armies of lawyers. Your ability to conclude a successful suit before you grow old and die is also ever decreasing.

    You get a lot of SciFi where in the furture, corporations rule everything. Is this really so far fetched? If they have more de facto power and influence than the nation states in which they reside, then what is to stop them, like the old barons before them, from simply all but forming states of their own? Maybe Richelieu's reforms will be rolled back, just in a different form.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:10AM (#16850730)
      You can tell what a society deems the most important based on the size of the buildings erected for it. For much of the Middle Ages, churches would be the largest buildings, with giant cathedrals constructed as demonstrations of the church's power.

      At some point following the Renaissance, government buildings became the largest buildings. No longer would the town church be the largest building, but instead the local government building would be the largest. The state had become the largest power.

      Who do the largest buildings we erect today represent? The most powerful and important entities create the largest buildings. When you see a city skyline, what makes up most of the largest buildings?

      Can you even see city hall in most modern city skylines?
      • by hugzz (712021) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @10:24AM (#16851568)
        Um maybe it isn't what society deems to be the most important, but what has the most money. I wouldn't be surprised if religion used to have the most money, and then government had the most money, and now business has the most money. It takes money to build big buildings!
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Mr. Slippery (47854)
          Um maybe it isn't what society deems to be the most important, but what has the most money.

          And why do certain groups end up with the most money?

          Because consciously or unconsciously, directly (by forking over cash) or indirectly (through public policy), people direct the flow of money towards them.

          If one group has the most money, that's exactly because society deems them to be the most important.

      • by FleaPlus (6935) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:17PM (#16855530) Journal
        > You can tell what a society deems the most important based on the size of the buildings erected for it.

        By that logic, we're clearly a society which places a great deal of importance on aircraft assembly [wikipedia.org].
    • by rs232 (849320)
      "You get a lot of SciFi where in the furture, corporations rule everything. Is this really so far fetched? If they have more de facto power and influence than the nation states in which they reside, then what is to stop them, like the old barons before them, from simply all but forming states of their own? Maybe Richelieu's reforms will be rolled back, just in a different form"

      It happened some time ago. You've basically described the present situation. Take here for instance, as Royalty lost mosts of i
    • by nietsch (112711) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:32AM (#16850890) Homepage Journal
      Most usians may not be familiar with it, but fascism at it's core is the joining of political and corporate powers. Both Italy and Germany in the 30s had huge corporate blocks that had a lot of political power. That may give you some pause next time you see all the 'campaign donations' that flow one way. What do you think flows the other way?

      (oh and mods: please show your immaturiy to mod something down when you don't agree with it)
      • by ElephanTS (624421) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @10:09AM (#16851306)
        People don't seem to know that 'fascism' was the socio-economic paradigm of choice in the 20's and 30's. It's equivalent (or nearest) today is the 'free market economy'. Of course you're quite right about the US - the merger of state and corporation is technically fascism (tied together with the biggest propaganda machine the world has ever seen: the media). I think we're just in the 'benign' part of this new fascism and the next 10 years will begin to reveal the more sinister aspects of it.
        • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @11:00AM (#16852090)
          The media, at least mass media, are by their very definition and size required to be corporations by themselves. The difference to "normal" corporations is that the goods they sell are information.

          Or opinion.

          In a democracy, you cannot rule against the people. Or so you're told in school. Actually, you cannot rule against the public opinion. If that opinion is based on information and facts, and people finding their own opinions, this is actually a good thing.

          That's not the reality today, though.

          Public opinion is made and shaped by the media. You're told what you're supposed to hear, you're shown what you're supposed to see and more often than not, you're also told what you're supposed to think and believe because "that's the public opinion". To support it you often get to see some statistics that make the statistician in me cringe, because you can see easily how crooked they are sometimes.

          And hey, if "the people" believe that, how can it be wrong? 10000 say yes, you say no, now who's more likely wrong? You? Or 10000 others?

          There's a carefully crafted and delicate balance of power (and money) between government, corporations and media (corporations). You, the voter, don't matter anymore. You're being shifted around and moved, statistically dissected and examined to see what spin would make you vote this or the other way.
          • by ultranova (717540)

            In a democracy, you cannot rule against the people. Or so you're told in school. Actually, you cannot rule against the public opinion.

            Sure you can. You just need to have a red herring to turn everyone's attention away while doing so. That, or you need to lie really well.

        • It's equivalent (or nearest) today is the 'free market economy'.

          I'm not sure if that's what you mean with the quotes around "free market economy", but the point here, what makes the current trend dangerously similar to fascism, is that the market is not actually that free.

          Proponents of the free market theory, well at least those who actually mean "free" when they say "free market", recognize that it requires three very basic conditions:

          1. Consumers must be rational, and able to make rational economic decisi

      • One common myth is that corporations pour millions and millions into a candidate's campaign coffers. But they don't and can't. FEC regulations limit donations from one individual or organization to a given candidate or elected official to $2500 in a calendar year. Neither can they give $2500 each to 100 employees on the understanding that they'll give the money to that candidate individually. If they get caught with a scheme like that, or even encouraging their employees to donate to the candidate, they
        • by ultranova (717540)

          The truth is that corporations really have more influence than John Q. Public because they maintain a relationship with officials and John doesn't bother. But he could.

          Except that Joe Senator knows that Disney will be alive and willing to contribute the next year too, while Joe Average might not. Therefore, Disney makes a better master to serve.

          Besides, Disney is old, powerful and famous. Serving it allows Joe Senator to warm himself with that glow. Joe Public can offer no more money, and no glamour w

        • If they get caught with a scheme like that, or even encouraging their employees to donate to the candidate, they will be in hot water and so will the candidate.

          So, how many candidates get in that hot water with each election? If the motive is certainly there, but nobody is getting caught, then either your assumption (companies are motivated to buy political influence) is wrong, or the corruption happens but goes undetected.
          IMHO all political advertising in all media should be forbidden, there should be no t

      • This seems like a good opportunity to mention "They Rule" located here:

        They Rule [theyrule.net]

        Its a neat (flash based sadly) tool allowing you to identify which heads of various corporations are also heads of other corporations and see the web of power and influence they exert. I am sure these individuals don't think of themselves as the defacto government, but I think they are rapidly becoming it.

        The core evil to my mind, the main mistake, was in allowing a corporation to have legal status as a type of individual - a "c
    • Governments (Score:3, Interesting)

      by camperdave (969942)
      Not only can the corporations bully the little guy, they can bully the Government. After all, some of these corporations are global in scale, and have economic resources that dwarf those of many countries. I think that's why Microsoft only got a slap on the wrist in their anti-monopoly case aa while back.
      • by Carewolf (581105)
        No Microsoft got a slap on the wrist because you had an election at the end of the trial, and the nature of the US elections requires massive amount of money which Microsoft had.

        They didn't have to bully anyone, the bought their way out.
      • Well, keep in mind that for whatever legislation these corporations are supposedly buying, if it doesn't have significant support to begin with, some bright upstart politician can knock the incumbent out of office simply by campaigning to undo it.

        For example, I hear people complain about corporate welfare, farm subsidies, and protectionist tariffs as exampels of corporate influence. But government "aid to business", farm subsidies, and protectionism are popular!!!!

        If it's corruption, it's corruption by eng
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Phoenix666 (184391)
        I am an ardent populist and progressive (in the T.R. sense of the word) who's worked at a lot of big corporations in New York. I have to say that looking from the inside and having access to the other side of the table, corporations are not quite the monolith that popular wisdom believes. Every brand, product, and campaign I've ever seen they live in constant fear of angry consumers suing them.

        Sure, a $5 million judgement might not mean much to a company the size of GE on the whole, but if your brand or d
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I know there are a lot of sincere libertarians on this site, and I sympathize with the libertarian idea (breifly, get the government off our backs). But this is what always gets me. If we just deregulate, it leaves a power vacuum, and we're left with these other entities governing us instead. Private, unelected oligarchs get to be in charge, and no one 'gets them off your back' if they decide that getting on your back is going be more profitable.

      VNRs seem to be a symptom of this. There's no law, that

      • by CmdrGravy (645153)
        I agree and in that sense libertarianism is effectivley the same thing as facism, corporations end up in control.
    • by ElephanTS (624421)
      You get a lot of SciFi where in the furture, corporations rule everything.

      Actually we are already there. Corporate power transcends national boundaries now for instance. When I was growing up I read a great deal of SciFi and it staggers me how much has come to pass.
    • by Ihlosi (895663)
      What if MegaCorp(TM), drove up to your house one day and towed away your car on some flimsy legal pretense?



      Hasn't this happened before ? Or does it make much of a difference that the corp has to go to the government first, present a business plan, and then the government takes away your property, crying "eminent domain", and hands it over to the corp ?

      • by OakDragon (885217)
        Or does it make much of a difference that the corp has to go to the government first, present a business plan, and then the government takes away your property, crying "eminent domain", and hands it over to the corp ?

        In such a case, does the corporation in question deserve the lion's share of the blame? No, although they may be a villain. The blame lies with the government, the courts, and in ourselves.

    • by bri2000 (931484)
      And then you have the other kind of sci-fi dystopia where it's the state that exerts totalitarian control over its citizens...

      Not to disagree with but, while your penultimate paragraph is certainly true, it's equally true that if the government or any of its agencies were to decide to harass you for some reason you'd have even less chance of redress. I think focusing on large corporations misses the point that the rights of the individual are threatened by large, well funded organisations of any sort and,

    • Well, when you consider the Chamber of Commerce gets 100K from every corporate donor...and that's on the low end...business has a lot of money to make sure enforcement is lax.

      This isn't exactly new. When Clinton proposed universal health care it was HMO's and drug companies lining up to throw money at influencing public opinion against it.

      Unless we come up with a way of creating a more intelligent and discerning general population...and I wouldn't hold my breath on that...anyone with a big enough budge

      • by krell (896769)
        " When Clinton proposed universal health care it was HMO's and drug companies lining up to throw money at influencing public opinion against it."

        I'm glad they did. Hillary's plan to destroy health care (which actually included jail terms for seeing your doctor without government approval) was definitely not in the public interest. Health care is just too important to have the government take it all over and trash it.
    • Worse yet, they're fleeting. They don't like your kind of legal system? They move away. They're nearly intangible, and what hurts more, their business revenue is hardly really taxable. The average corporation pays about half the tax (in percent, not in dollar) that you do.

      It's also fairly hard to hold them liable for something. How do you imprison a corporation? What Sony did with the rootkit would have warranted a jail sentence in some countries. It has (almost) happened to juvenile "hackers" before [crime-research.org]. Inste
    • Since so many willingly pledge allegiance to them, I thought I'd just throw that out there.
    • by Kohath (38547)
      Has anyone else noticed that at every turn corporations again and again attempt to subvert the powers of the state...

      Has anyone noticed that the state continues to accumulate and use their powers to restrict the freedom of the people? Has anyone noticed that corporations are made up of groups of people?
    • by geobeck (924637)

      What if MegaCorp(TM), drove up to your house one day and towed away your car on some flimsy legal pretense? Barons and Lords did this kind of thing all the time.

      Except back then it was "Dude, where's my horse?"

      Sorry, couldn't resist.

  • Real Story...? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LlamaDragon (97577) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:03AM (#16850672) Journal
    Why not link to the the real article [prwatch.org] instead of, or in addition to, the story about the article?
  • what real news? .. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rs232 (849320) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:04AM (#16850674)
    There isn't any real news. Don't you realize it yet. Stories are generated and fed to the media by the PR departments of the various interests. How it works is a bunch of 'journalists' sit in a room and generate feel good stories about the establishment and negative ones about whoever we happened to be currently at war with. You see it doesn't really matter if what is reported happened, all is required is the 'facts' be spun in favour of the winners. Like when Bush recently legalised the torture of prisoners, NBC reported this as Bush banning torture.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tomhudson (43916)

      There isn't any real news. Don't you realize it yet. Stories are generated and fed to the media by the PR departments of the various interests. How it works is a bunch of 'journalists' sit in a room and generate feel good stories about the establishment and negative ones about whoever we happened to be currently at war with.

      Don't laugh - I knew a guy who worked for one of the weekly tabloids (hint - they encouraged people to subscribe by giving away 50-cent lottery tickets way back when), and they had t

    • by XorNand (517466) * on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:28AM (#16850848)
      For anyone who hasn't yet read it, I highly recommend that you read Paul Graham's blog post entitled "The Submarine" [paulgraham.com]. It's a very interesting insight into how PR firms craft the fake news that you describe.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:15AM (#16850752)
    But also for other special interest groups we're supposed to like.

    It's nice to see that somebody else finally noticed. Glenn Reynolds was writing about this problem back in 2002:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,42050,00.html [foxnews.com]

    Recycling is supposed to be a good thing, so you'd think that media organizations would be proud when they do it. But in fact, they tend to keep it quiet.

    I'm not talking about aluminum cans here, but about the tendency of media organizations to turn press releases and written-to-order opinion pieces into apparently objective accounts. This happens all the time, partly because of media laziness, and partly because of ingenuity on the part of the various advocacy groups that depend on media coverage to advance their agendas and promote their fundraising campaigns.

    The first part of this formula, media laziness, was demonstrated by journalism students here at the University of Tennessee a few years ago. They produced a fake press release for a non-existent student group opposed to political correctness and sent it to various news organizations. Some ran the item; some even embellished the report of an event that never happened with additional details that weren't in the phony press release. None called the contact number (which was genuine) or did anything else to check its validity. Yet when they were exposed, their response was to call the experiment "unethical."

    http://instapundit.com/archives/021755.php [instapundit.com]

    News stories, to a degree seldom appreciated by the general public, are often the product of press releases generated by trade associations and interest groups. Often those releases are converted into news stories by the simple expedient of placing a reporter's byline on top. Television news stories (especially those appearing on local stations) are often supplied fully produced, with blank spots left for the local news reporter to insert commentary that makes the story appear his or her own. Opinion columns are often "placed" by businesses or interest groups to support a particular point of view -- often, they are even written by those groups and then run with the byline of distinguished individuals, or even regular commentators, who have barely read the piece, much less written it. Indeed, the Sasso "attack video" was something of this sort, for the journalists who broke the Biden/Kinnock story did not at first disclose their source.

    Most readers and viewers have small appreciation of how little of what they see on television or read in newspapers and magazines is original with the reporters, editors, and producers involved. Yet in fact news organizations are highly dependent on predigested information from public relations firms, government officials, and advocacy groups, information that is often passed on to their readers and viewers with no indication that it is not original. That problem is not new, but it has gotten worse in recent years. . . .

    Although a "video news release" is still more expensive to produce than a standard paper press release, they have become much more common. According to a recent poll, seventy-five percent of TV news directors reported using video news releases at least once per day.

  • The trite reply to this article is -DON'T watch it-. I threw out my TV in 2000; I have a Mac, w/ great DVD capability, I rent stuff that's really great --Ken Burns stuff (jazz..), The Sopranos (isn't organized crime SO MUCH MORE interesting than the disorganized variety?), HBO and Showtime specials..... Other than that, TV is a wasteland. Go re-rent Clooney's 'Goodnight and Good Luck', pay attention to this gracious man's words about television. Show your kids.... But mostly, TV's PURE drek. DREK!! Makes k
  • by djupedal (584558) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @09:22AM (#16850802)
    One factor that seems to be overlooked is viewer ability to smell a rat and subsequently not be taken in. I feel more people realize the segment is a crafted fake, versus a genuine news spot, than the agencys doing the monitoring assume. I know I've seen these and have been able to tell, and if I can detect the fraud, so can others.

    Want something to really worry about in terms of broadcast hyjinks? MTV is using the tried and true subliminal 'power of suggestion' in various spots in their broadcasts in Asia. I happened to be capturing TV via a DVR one evening, and when I played back my sample via the jog wheel, I was able to clearly see a text message inside a faint white rectangular box, overlaid into a short commercial for an upcoming show. It came and went quickly...'progress is now - Fridays on MTV'...not long enough to spot unless you were paying close attention at that moment, but long enough to be captured by the brain for subliminal decoding...ouch. MTVs' idea or broadcast on the behest of some agency, perhaps?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Nyph2 (916653)

      Want something to really worry about in terms of broadcast hyjinks? MTV is using the tried and true subliminal 'power of suggestion' in various spots in their broadcasts in Asia. I happened to be capturing TV via a DVR one evening, and when I played back my sample via the jog wheel, I was able to clearly see a text message inside a faint white rectangular box, overlaid into a short commercial for an upcoming show. It came and went quickly...'progress is now - Fridays on MTV'...not long enough to spot unless

  • In the hurricane example, a local news reporter clips out quotes legit a news source from the PR supplied video and wraps her own stuff around it.

    This isn't any different then what happens every day in newspapers when reporters lift quotes from company press releases. If the reporter is worth a shit, they will add their own sources to it, but not their own spin. In some cases, this might be the only way to access a national level source who is difficult to reach, let alone film, especially with limit t

  • When I was in college, I had a part time job as a classroom tech. You see, we had fancy, computerized classrooms that the profs really weren't trained to use. When they ran into issues, I had to help them.

    One of the classes I did this for was a sophmore or junior level public relations class. The technique of handing the news something that looks like a news video, but is really just a corporate press release, was explicitly covered in this class. Not only was it covered, but it was encouraged as a legitima
  • I don't really care if they air these VNRs as long as they have something like a box onscreen at all times throughout it identifying it as an advertisement so I know I should change the channel. And that CERTAINLY needs to be displayed at the beginning, but I'm more of a fan of making it illegal to not show it during the entire length because if someone starts watching in the middle of it they'd have no idea it was paid for.

    This is something that happens in print too with advertorials. Recently in PC Game

  • Work that anti-business /. meme for fun and karma!

    Hot on the heels of telling us these things are shown by "News Corp., Tribune, and Disney," Captain Obvious wants us to know that they're paid for by "the country's biggest corporations." Whoa. No kidding, Sherlock. What next? Water Wet, film at 11:00?

    The only people with money to produce this crap are big corporations. It's pretty unlikely that Joe's Pizza is going to be able to pay for an advertisement disguised as a hard-hitting news story on the benefits
    • by Kohath (38547)
      It's not slashdot's fault. It's because "news" == "opinion with a few supporting factoids" now. So "news for nerds" has become "information supporting the editors' politics". The nature of "news" has changed forever.

      You're supposed to agree that it's bad that corporations get to portray their point of view as news, BTW. At the same time, you're supposed to agree that it's good for left-wing activists to portray their point of view as news. If you don't, you're evil or ignorant (because you don't read t
  • Corporate propaganda isnt' really still in the news. The giant anti-corporate propaganda industry produced and planted this story, and duped news outlets are reporting it. It's entirely untrue that any news outlet would run a story that was pla... nt... oh, wait... Darn.
  • ...which is why I listen to PRI/NPR. I would be overwhelmed with shock to see hour blocks devoted to true discussion of important topics by leaders in their field on both sides of a story on FOX, or CNN (don't get me started on the utter slop that is nightly local news). In between these discussions they report news via BBC WorldWide, which is one of the most respected, public driven news outlets on the planet.

    I watch FOX on occasion for pure enjoyment in exercise. I can talk about all the things flashing
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @11:21AM (#16852360)
    I remember a study from a year back which showed that upwards of 90% of 'news' reports from Iraq all came from Pentagon press releases and contained aboslutely no fact checking or anything resembling actual investigative journalism. "Is your war budget justified?" "Oh, yes! Really, it is! Just look at the news."


    -FL

  • So when a local station did a "report" on Wal-Mart dropping the price of something or other to a quarter, that wasn't a real story? I feel so used.

    In any given 30-minute "news" timeslot I get maybe 5 seconds' worth of actual news between the weather, sports, and paid advertising that should be run during the scheduled commercial breaks. That 5 seconds consists of information I hadn't already found on the internet 2 days previously, and is more often than not celebrity gossip. "Oh, Brittney Spears got divorc
  • When you have several 24 hour news stations and about 6 hours of news on local stations you're going to needs some filler. Basically my local evening news is a three hour loop of the same 15 minutes of stories. I'm sure there is stuff that should be reported that simply isn't but for the most part the local news covers little more than the front page headlines of the local paper. Maybe this waste of airtime would be better spent airing more Judge Judy but Joe Sixpack simply isn't going to watch coverage of
  • I RTFA, and the point of the article... is.... what? The media lies? Wow, now there's a news flash.

    Local stations can play all the propoganda they way and call it "news." That's their right. The evil creeps in when governments begin to _force_ stations to play propoganda as news.
  • It's not just large corporations that do it. I've seen VNRs and the like from law firms trolling for plaintiffs to join class action suits or to gin up sympathy for one of their cases in advance of jury selection.
  • Water is wet. Especially Dasani water, which has been shown to be 15% wetter than the leading brand. Dasani, from Coca Cola. Ain't nothing like the real thing.

You can observe a lot just by watching. -- Yogi Berra

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