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VNRs: Fair & balanced corporate propaganda

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At a Washington press event today, Free Press and our partners at the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) will release a groundbreaking report on the extent to which corporate propaganda has infiltrated local TV newscasts across the country.

All told, we caught 77 local stations slipping corporate-sponsored "video news releases" — segments promoting commercial brands and products — into their regular news programming. These advertisements, flogging everything from vitamin supplements to porn-free search engines, were passed off to you, their viewers, as legitimate news reports.

This deception is illegal, and it's a serious breach of the trust between stations and their communities. Take action to stop fake news today:

Tell the FCC to Crack Down on Fake Local News

By disguising advertisements as news, stations violate both the spirit and the letter of their broadcasting licenses, which obligate them to be honest brokers in service of the public interest.

The evidence suggests a strong tie between media consolidation and the tendency to abuse the airwaves with deceptive, pre-packaged propaganda. More than 80 percent of the stations snared in the inquiry are owned by large conglomerates. A list of the worst offenders reads like a who's who of Big Media, including stations owned by Sinclair, Fox Television and Clear Channel.

Free Press and CMD delivered extensive evidence of this local TV abuse to the FCC. Our investigation — documenting less than 1 percent of fake news being offered to newsrooms — exposed only the tip of the iceberg; it's likely that fake news reports have been aired on hundreds more local newscasts.

We need your help as we continue to investigate the many facets of propaganda in local news and to pressure Washington to guard our airwaves against the spread of fake news.

Tell the FCC to Stop Fake News Today

Send a strong message to the FCC: Investigate this abuse by local news stations, enforce rules against the airing of covert propaganda and penalize all broadcasters that truck in fake news.

Act Now!

Timothy Karr
Campaign Director
Free Press
www.freepress.net

The full report — "Fake News: Widespread and Undisclosed" — is available at www.prwatch.org/fakenews/execsummary.

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