< Back to All News

FCC probes local news reports

A story in this morning’s Chron quotes Democratic FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein (pictured) as saying he wants an investigation into stations that have been using corporate video news releases (VNRs) without telling viewers. However, the Radio-Television News Directors Association says such an investigation has already begun by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau with 77 stations receiving letters in October about their use of VNRs, including KPIX CBS5 and KGO-TV ABC 7.

The news peg for the Chron story was the release Tuesday of a report by the Center for Media and Democracy entitled “Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed.”

The group claims:

The Chronicle’s story fails to mention that the Radio-Television News Directors Association reviewed each of the group’s allegations and found most of them to be unsupported by a review of the video of the newscasts in question. RTNDA called the study biased and inaccurate.

The RTNDA says, “The investigation has had a chilling effect on the dissemination of newsworthy information to the public” and the association strongly opposes government intervention in the newsroom.

The Center for Media and Democracy is seeking a number of new regulations regarding VNRs including continuous “frame-by-frame” identification of all VNR material (possibly with the words “Footage provided by X”) as well as a verbal introduction identifying the VNR’s source. The Center also wants the FCC to require broadcasters to list all use of VNRs in the station’s public file.

< Back to All News