Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Oh Yeah...THIS Is REALLY...
09/24/2007 @8:47 pmFiled by Greg Wasserstrom
Cable giant Comcast violated the law by
broadcasting video news releases without identifying them as sponsored
programming, the Federal Communications Commission announced today. The ruling
came in response to a complaint from Free Press and the Center for Media and
Democracy, a media watchdog group focusing on
rnum=Math.round(Math.random() * 100000);
"In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture
(“NAL”), we find that Comcast Corporation (“Comcast”), which operates an
affiliated regional cable network, CN8, is apparently liable for a forfeiture in
the amount of four thousand dollars ($4,000) for violating Section 76.1615 of
the Commission’s rules," the FCC ruled (word
The FCC ruling continued, "This rule generally requires cable
operators engaged in origination cablecasting to make sponsorship identification
announcements when presenting matter in return for money, service, or other
valuable consideration. We find that Comcast cablecast portions of a video news
release (“VNR”) produced on behalf of “Nelson’s Rescue Sleep” without also
airing required sponsorship identification announcements."
"We're pleased to
see the FCC is finally waking up to the issue of fake news," said Craig Aaron,
communications director of Free Press. "But the fine levied against Comcast is
just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. Video news releases dressed up as real
news were uncovered at more than 100 stations. We hope the FCC will soon fine
those stations and issue clear guidelines to end the epidemic of fake news once
and for all."
Rulings such at these by the FCC have become increasingly less
frequent over the past seven years. At the same time, the use of VNRs has become
more wide spread. General Motors, Intel, Pfizer and Capital One are among the
companies who produced VNRs with the help of three PR firms, and "[m]ore than
one-third of the time, stations aired the pre-packaged VNR in its entirety,"
according to Free Press.
In April of 2006, RAW STORY reported on a study by a
group that monitors the media which revealed that, over a ten month span, 77
television stations from all across the nation aired video news releases without
informing their viewers even once that the reports were actually sponsored