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The Center for Media and Democracy Announces
the 2006 Winners of our Third Annual Falsies Awards

For the full list of spinners and sinners go to:

(MADISON, WI) The Center for Media and Democracy's annual Falsies Awards recognize the most heinous polluters of the information environment over the past year. The winners for 2006 are:

The American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) gets the Gold Falsie for using the fifth anniversary of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States as an opportunity to rewrite history, broadcasting "The Path to 9/11," a six-hour "docudrama" written and produced by conservative filmmakers. The made-for-TV blockbuster placed the lion’s share of the blame for the attacks on alleged failures of the Clinton administration. Although it purported to be based on the report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, "The Path to 9/11" included fabrications that are directly contradicted by the Commission report. One such scene portrays Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, refusing to give permission for the Central Intelligence Agency to capture Osama bin Laden.

The second-place prize, a Silver Falsie, goes to the National Association of Broadcast Communicators, an authoritative-sounding group that's actually a lobbying effort by public relations firms in support of fake TV news. After the Center for Media and Democracy released a groundbreaking report documenting how sponsored PR videos called "video news releases" are covertly inserted into TV newscasts, the FCC launched an investigation of the practice. Enter the silver-tongued Communicators, who claim to support "the FCC's efforts to ensure compliance with the sponsorship identification requirements" while bombarding the viewing public with fake news.

This year's Bronze Falsie goes to the telecom industry, for sponsoring more than a dozen front groups to sway the outcome of important and ongoing telecom policy decisions. Many of these groups oppose net neutrality, the principle that Internet providers should not favor some content and applications over others. Industry-funded groups with nice-sounding names like Hands Off the Internet, FreedomWorks, Consumers for Cable Choice, Progress and Freedom Foundation and Frontiers of Freedom claimed that net neutrality would increase costs and reduce choices for consumers. The National Journal reported that telecom companies were spending $850,000 per week to attack net neutrality in advertisements placed "anywhere a congressional staffer is likely to be -- including the Washington area transit system" and "at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport."

Dishonorable mentions go to a partisan front group, anti-environmental think tanks, efforts to recruit elementary school children for the military, and paid bloggers posing as grassroots supporters of the world's largest retailer. Lastly, the 1,204 respondents to our Falsies Awards survey nominated dozens of other worthy recipients, several of whom are mentioned in our Reader's Choice Awards.

Read the full Falsies Awards announcement at: