The Independent | Bush 'planted fake news stories on American TV'This has been common practice for going on at least thirty years, which is about how long ago I found my own informational pamphlet -- oh, all right, "press release" -- for the SCA published verbatim in a local newspaper. (My only regret was that I hadn't put my name on it.)
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.
...faux news broadcasts, known as Video News Releases (VNRs)...
Frankly, I've been ignoring this story for the last week or two, astounded that any responsible news organization has the nerve to present this "scoop" with a straight face. Press and media relations, corporate and governmental, are based on the reality that if you release a publication-ready story, many publications will use it. That's the point.
77 television stations over ten months? Hell, everyone does it. Every television station, every radio station. Every television and radio network. Every newspaper, every magazine. And every outlet that's been reporting this story with the wide-eyed innocence of Casablanca's Captain Renault. It's a real and expected part of where your news comes from.
Should you know about this? Certainly, yes. Should you be concerned? Occasionally. Should you be surprised? Not if you've actually been paying attention to the news and "news" you consume.
I'm much more concerned that the Centre for Media and Democracy is attempting to play it as a "conspiracy".