Posted by Amanda Chapel
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
As they say in PR these days, "one door closes and another one... well... closes." To the list of institutions we've noted recently now banning PR outright, namely Wikipedia and Second Life, you might soon be able to add TV. Can you imagine? Well, the Federal Communications Commission yesterday threatened increased regulation to block PR "propaganda."
Speaking at a teleconference set up by Free Press and Center for Media and Democracy, FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said that the airways belong to the people and "citizens have the right to know whether the news programming they are watching is propaganda."
Railing against TV stations that broadcast "corporate propaganda," Adelstein threatened FCC regulation. "If the flock ignores the shepherd, it is time to build a fence," he said. Despite an ongoing FCC investigation and industry promises to police itself, local broadcasters continue to air corporate video news releases (VNRs) without disclosure.
The new report is a follow-up to "Fake News: Widespread and Undisclosed," a report on the misuse of VNRs released last April. That report prompted the FCC to launch an ongoing investigation of 77 stations. The new report not only shows that fake news is still a problem, but catches eight stations already under investigation airing new VNRs without disclosure.
The Radio Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) and the National Association of Broadcast Communicators (NABC) have tried their damnedest to shut down the investigation. But Commissioner Adelstein said that "the FCC’s investigation of 77 stations named in a previous CMD report would continue despite the call for its halt" and suggested that an investigation of each of these 46 stations in the new report would be launched imminently.
PUSHERS AND USERS OUTRAGED!
In a shocking development, the pusher-producers of the nefarious content and the user-broadcasters are crying foul.
NABC, a consortium of PR service companies that produce video news releases, vehemently refuted the charges. Kevin Foley, president of the trade group and CEO of KEF Media, a major producer of VNRs, called the new report a rehash that contains the "same allegations and baseless charges made in the first one." The NABC has found "once again-that there appears to be no violations of any rules or regulations of the FCC."
RTNDA also slammed the VNR study. In a statement late Tuesday the group said that it had not reviewed all the findings, but some of the allegations in a study are "inaccurate or represent isolated incidents made in error." The group said that even if the allegations were true, "it provides no credible basis upon which the FCC can justify the extraordinary step of inserting itself into broadcast newsrooms and questioning their exercise of editorial discretion."
Adelstein characterized the issue of free speech as a red herring. The issue is about "identifying who is actually speaking."
Imagine a world without fraud and surreptitious selling.
I saw this story, but never honestly thought about it in this context - maybe I live in a bubble. I was thinking of this in the context of journalistic integrity, and now you have me considering public relations... and thus I am wondering what the difference is... and I think that is the sticking point.
Something else for me to think about... O.o Should I thank you or fling monkey poo at you? :-)