Video News Responses

In response to Sunday's New York Times expose, White House press secretary Scott McClellan called government-produced video news releases "an informational tool." Their source, he said, is "very clear to the TV stations." The head of Medialink, one of the largest VNR companies, said "the government's use of VNRs dates back to the Eisenhower presidency," adding that the Times "failed to report on the long history of such government education programs." In a letter to the Times, the president of West Glen Communications wrote, "Newspapers don't reveal that much of the news they print originates from press releases supplied by corporate communications departments, PR agencies, college sports information offices and staffs of mayors and legislators." O'Dwyer's summed up VNR producers' reactions as saying the Times piece was "old" and "politics-ridden."