A lot of people are already blogging about this, since it was a headline on Huffington Post
, but I can't resist mentioning it.
Bush 'planted fake news stories on American TV'
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
Published: 29 May 2006
Federal authorities are actively investigating dozens of American television stations for broadcasting items produced by the Bush administration and major corporations, and passing them off as normal news. Some of the fake news segments talked up success in the war in Iraq, or promoted the companies' products.
Investigators from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are seeking information about stations across the country after a report produced by a campaign group detailed the extraordinary extent of the use of such items.
The report, by the non-profit group Centre for Media and Democracy, found that over a 10-month period at least 77 television stations were making use of the faux news broadcasts, known as Video News Releases (VNRs). Not one told viewers who had produced the items.
"We know we only had partial access to these VNRs and yet we found 77 stations using them," said Diana Farsetta, one of the group's researchers. "I would say it's pretty extraordinary. The picture we found was much worse than we expected going into the investigation in terms of just how widely these get played and how frequently these pre-packaged segments are put on the air." [...]
I also can't help but notice that the headline states specifically that: Bush 'planted fake news stories on American TV.'
That is based upon the report
from the Center for Media and Democracy
; it has not been confirmed publicly by the FCC. So, it may be premature to take this as a reason to disparage the President and his Administration. Not that we need any additional reason to do so; likewise, we hardly need another reason to disparage and distrust the media.
What is important here is that we cannot trust the media, specifically, to stick to their standard of having at least two independent sources confirm the information in their stories. They may do so for their own items; however, they obviously don't do that with the VNRs.
posted by : Joseph j7uy5