WASHINGTON -- The Center for Media Democracy and Free Press held a press conference today in Washington with FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, calling for a crackdown on stations that present corporate-sponsored videos as genuine news.
CMD, which used the press event to tout results of a 10-month investigation, reported that scores of local stations have been running commercial VNRs into their regular news programming. The new multimedia report released today includes footage of 36 separate VNRs and their broadcast as "news" by TV stations and networks nationwide, including those in the nation's biggest markets.
The center sent out a release noting that 77 television stations "disguised sponsored content from companies including General Motors, Intel, Pfizer and Capital One to make it look like their own reporting. More than one-third of the time, stations aired fake news stories in their entirety as their own reporting," and named conglomerates Clear Channel, News Corp./Fox Television, Viacom/CBS, Tribune Co. and Sinclair Broadcast Group - whose Oklahoma City affiliate was caught airing VNRs on six separate occasions – as central figures in the practice.
In conjunction with the report, Free Press launched www.freepress.net/fakenews -- urging the public to contact the FCC and demand "No Fake News."
Free Press and CMD also filed a formal complaint with the FCC.