Where's the Fire?

Durham, North Carolina's local ABC television affiliate "has been staging fire, foul weather and other news events across Durham this week, shooting advertisements for its news operations that not only put its Eyewitness News team at contrived scenes but also have taxpayers footing the bill for on-duty firefighters and other emergency workers to give the ads a realistic flair." The city fire chief said the ads weren't "a waste of taxpayers' money," because the spots are "promoting what the Fire Department does," using "air time the city doesn't have to pay for." He added, "If we needed them for a call, we could have called them and they would have been out of there fast." A University of North Carolina journalism professor asked, "If the president can do it, why can't the local news station?" He added, "From an advertising view, people stage all sorts of stuff."