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Thread: Bush plants Fake News on Networks

  1. #1
    SVZ
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    Default Bush plants Fake News on Networks

    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/...icle621189.ece

    By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
    Published: 29 May 2006

    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.

    Investigators from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are seeking information about stations across the country after a report produced by a campaign group detailed the extraordinary extent of the use of such items.

    The report, by the non-profit group Centre for Media and Democracy, found that over a 10-month period at least 77 television stations were making use of the faux news broadcasts, known as Video News Releases (VNRs). Not one told viewers who had produced the items.

    "We know we only had partial access to these VNRs and yet we found 77 stations using them," said Diana Farsetta, one of the group's researchers. "I would say it's pretty extraordinary. The picture we found was much worse than we expected going into the investigation in terms of just how widely these get played and how frequently these pre-packaged segments are put on the air."

    Ms Farsetta said the public relations companies commissioned to produce these segments by corporations had become increasingly sophisticated in their techniques in order to get the VNRs broadcast. "They have got very good at mimicking what a real, independently produced television report would look like," she said.

    The FCC has declined to comment on the investigation but investigators from the commission's enforcement unit recently approached Ms Farsetta for a copy of her group's report.

    The range of VNR is wide. Among items provided by the Bush administration to news stations was one in which an Iraqi-American in Kansas City was seen saying "Thank you Bush. Thank you USA" in response to the 2003 fall of Baghdad. The footage was actually produced by the State Department, one of 20 federal agencies that have produced and distributed such items.

    Many of the corporate reports, produced by drugs manufacturers such as Pfizer, focus on health issues and promote the manufacturer's product. One example cited by the report was a Hallowe'en segment produced by the confectionery giant Mars, which featured Snickers, M&Ms and other company brands. While the original VNR disclosed that it was produced by Mars, such information was removed when it was broadcast by the television channel - in this case a Fox-owned station in St Louis, Missouri.

    Bloomberg news service said that other companies that sponsored the promotions included General Motors, the world's largest car maker, and Intel, the biggest maker of semi-conductors. All of the companies said they included full disclosure of their involvement in the VNRs. "We in no way attempt to hide that we are providing the video," said Chuck Mulloy, a spokesman for Intel. "In fact, we bend over backward to make this disclosure."

    The FCC was urged to act by a lobbying campaign organised by Free Press, another non-profit group that focuses on media policy. Spokesman Craig Aaron said more than 25,000 people had written to the FCC about the VNRs. "Essentially it's corporate advertising or propaganda masquerading as news," he said. "The public obviously expects their news reports are going to be based on real reporting and real information. If they are watching an advertisement for a company or a government policy, they need to be told."

    The controversy over the use of VNRs by television stations first erupted last spring. At the time the FCC issued a public notice warning broadcasters that they were obliged to inform viewers if items were sponsored. The maximum fine for each violation is $32,500 (17,500).

    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.

    Investigators from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are seeking information about stations across the country after a report produced by a campaign group detailed the extraordinary extent of the use of such items.

    The report, by the non-profit group Centre for Media and Democracy, found that over a 10-month period at least 77 television stations were making use of the faux news broadcasts, known as Video News Releases (VNRs). Not one told viewers who had produced the items.

    "We know we only had partial access to these VNRs and yet we found 77 stations using them," said Diana Farsetta, one of the group's researchers. "I would say it's pretty extraordinary. The picture we found was much worse than we expected going into the investigation in terms of just how widely these get played and how frequently these pre-packaged segments are put on the air."

    Ms Farsetta said the public relations companies commissioned to produce these segments by corporations had become increasingly sophisticated in their techniques in order to get the VNRs broadcast. "They have got very good at mimicking what a real, independently produced television report would look like," she said.

    The FCC has declined to comment on the investigation but investigators from the commission's enforcement unit recently approached Ms Farsetta for a copy of her group's report.

    The range of VNR is wide. Among items provided by the Bush administration to news stations was one in which an Iraqi-American in Kansas City was seen saying "Thank you Bush. Thank you USA" in response to the 2003 fall of Baghdad. The footage was actually produced by the State Department, one of 20 federal agencies that have produced and distributed such items.

    Many of the corporate reports, produced by drugs manufacturers such as Pfizer, focus on health issues and promote the manufacturer's product. One example cited by the report was a Hallowe'en segment produced by the confectionery giant Mars, which featured Snickers, M&Ms and other company brands. While the original VNR disclosed that it was produced by Mars, such information was removed when it was broadcast by the television channel - in this case a Fox-owned station in St Louis, Missouri.

    Bloomberg news service said that other companies that sponsored the promotions included General Motors, the world's largest car maker, and Intel, the biggest maker of semi-conductors. All of the companies said they included full disclosure of their involvement in the VNRs. "We in no way attempt to hide that we are providing the video," said Chuck Mulloy, a spokesman for Intel. "In fact, we bend over backward to make this disclosure."

    The FCC was urged to act by a lobbying campaign organised by Free Press, another non-profit group that focuses on media policy. Spokesman Craig Aaron said more than 25,000 people had written to the FCC about the VNRs. "Essentially it's corporate advertising or propaganda masquerading as news," he said. "The public obviously expects their news reports are going to be based on real reporting and real information. If they are watching an advertisement for a company or a government policy, they need to be told."

    The controversy over the use of VNRs by television stations first erupted last spring. At the time the FCC issued a public notice warning broadcasters that they were obliged to inform viewers if items were sponsored. The maximum fine for each violation is $32,500 (17,500).

  2. #2
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush plants Fake News on Networks

    Ok, im sorry.. who here is actually surprised by this? Can I get a show of hands of people who had no idea this kind of thing went on?
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  3. #3
    Elite Member Beeyotch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush plants Fake News on Networks

    Shocked, no. Thoroughly disgusted, yes.

    Everyone should be trained to be skeptical of EVERYTHING.

    Lyin' sumsbitches.

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    Bronze Member ultrafabviolet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush plants Fake News on Networks

    Hello?

    For chrissakes people. Wake up.

    EVERY local media outlet is owned by a corporation. Each and EVERY one of them, bar none. This includes that bastion of independent [sic] thought PBS; that is, as in CORPORATION for Public Broadcasting.

    There is money in the "news," becasue the news is entertainment. How much raw, real news do you actually get during a given half-hour "newscast," and who decides that what you are viewing is in fact news, and on what basis?

    Ask yourself, "Who decided this is 'the news [I] can use?'"

    Not you.

    As for "Bush himself planting fake news," I don't buy it. The only thing the guy has planted during his tennure is his face when he went over the handlebars of his bicycle.

    Orwell anticipated us well enough:
    Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
    Just add the Soma and we have arrived.

    But seriously, folks. . . .

    Vi
    Don't be ridiculous, Stephen: wearing a helmet does not make it "safe," and the answer is still "no."

  5. #5
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush plants Fake News on Networks

    You weren't meant to take "Bush plants fake news" LITERALLY.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  6. #6
    Gold Member lovely bones's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush plants Fake News on Networks

    Bush is too damn dumb to do this - his "minders" on the other hand....
    Claude os, aperi oculos!

  7. #7
    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush plants Fake News on Networks

    this is Ri-fucking-diculous! I'm having a treasonous thought right now...

  8. #8
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush plants Fake News on Networks

    treasonous, or patriotic.. depends on your perspective..
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  9. #9
    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush plants Fake News on Networks

    ^ thats true; if i carry out this act; i will be a hero to generations to come and they will rename this country after me to The United States of AliceInWonderlandia!
    or crazytown for short

  10. #10
    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bush plants Fake News on Networks

    ^^
    I'd like to be a citizen of that country.

    Concerning the article, again this is'nt shocking news to me. I agree with ultrafabviolet that the MSM is completely corporate-owned. The same thing can be said about your local news stations since they are affliates of the major networks.
    That's why internet blogging and international news outlinks are getting more people than TV networks. THere's so much news that gets ignored for 'fluffer' stories of entertainment on TV that it's scary how many people can get misinformed from watching an hour of CNN comapared to reading articles off the net.

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