A Spitting Image of Genuine News

FOX Network adopts dental industry VNR and distributes it nationally to affiliates

Submitted by Daniel Price on
Clients: American Dental Association
Release Date: June 2005
Aired By: 9 stations
Disclosed By: No stations

On June 10, 2005, KTXL-40 (Sacramento, CA) ran a 90-second news segment on a new dental technique that can test a person for potential diseases through their own saliva samples. After a quick intro, anchor Shana Franklin tossed the story to FOX News Channel's Julie Banderas, who "shows us how regular visits to the dentist's office could one day be a thing of the past."

Unfortunately the story came straight from the mouths of dentists themselves. The KTXL-40 story was built almost exclusively from a video news release (VNR) that was created by MultiVu on behalf of the American Dental Association (ADA).

Within hours of the VNR's release, producers at FOX Broadcasting headquarters in New York re-edited and re-packaged the VNR, enlisting one of their national correspondents to replace the narrating voice of the MultiVu publicist. Of the 90-second FOX edit, 79 seconds of footage came straight from the original VNR. The remaining 12 seconds were pulled from a press conference hosted by the ADA. FOX failed to supplement or balance the VNR with independent journalism.

It appears as though FOX's version of the VNR was distributed to the 130 U.S. affiliates owned by News Corporation. Along with KTXL-40, the VNR was aired by at least five other FOX affiliates: KASA-2 (Albuquerque, NM), WVUE-8 (New Orleans, LA), WHBQ-13 (Memphis, TN), WGHP-8 (Greensboro, NC), and WDAF-4 (Kansas City, MO).

Additionally, the original VNR was picked up by three stations: WRTV-6 (Indianapolis, IN), WHAS-11 (Louisville, KY) and KMAX-31 (Sacramento, CA). Like the FOX affiliates, all three newsrooms masked the VNR as their own journalism, garnishing the video with custom-branded graphics and enlisting a station reporter to replace the narrative voiceover provided by the MultiVu publicist.

Of the nine stations who incorporated the VNR, no one identified the ADA or MultiVu as the source of their story.

Watch the original VNR, as well as the KTXL-40 version of the story, below.

Original ADA VNR KTXL-40 10PM newscast
Created by MultiVu, Inc. June 10, 2005
Voiced by publicist Re-voiced by FOX News reporter