PR Exec: Fake TV News is Good for You!

In a contributed column titled "Are Video News Releases All Bad?," Kevin E. Foley, the president of the Atlanta-based PR company KEF Media Associates, criticized the Center for Media and Democracy's (CMD) recent report on the widespread and undisclosed use of video news releases (VNRs). Foley acknowledges that television stations often use VNRs as a cheap source of "news" filler but defends their use without disclosing who sponsored them. He argued, "CMD would have us believe that some great social harm is being done if a VNR isn’t attributed, but if the newscaster airs a story that holds the viewer's attention and the viewer walks away informed or entertained, who has been hurt?" The report documented an instance where Ohio-based WYTV-33 broadcast an 80-second news feature on MimyX, a prescription skin cream for eczema, where safety information included in the VNR was entirely edited out of the "story."


Kevin Foley

I assume you collect a pay check from CMD, and so I also assume, the more books you and Sheldon sell, the bigger the paycheck, since you and Sheldon run the CMD.

It would seem, then, that CMD is engaged in a commercial enterprise, much like those clients I work for. Not making a judgement, mind. In fact, we agree that the use of publicity tactics that include things like slick press kits with suggested questions for journalists and VNRs can really help push sales of products like books by creating public awareness of and demand for them.

No doubt Penguin Group USA is grateful to you and Sheldon for your help in pushing up their earnings, too.

I'm curious as to why the VNR referenced as having been aired by KTVI in St. Louis is a problem. It was a lifestyles package on Halloween candy and safe Halloween practices.

Do we think enterprising TV reporters would have uncovered a huge Halloween conspiracy where Snickers and 1-800-FLOWERS were teaming up to brainwash all the little tykes? Divert all resources, boys -- we're taking these Satanic bastards down!

I understand the issues with the arthritis cure and such ... but pick your battles, people.

I think alot of what is shown in the news is purely there as a filler rather than actual news. Its all down to what the news reporters want to report rather than reporting the facts. Theres a thin line between the 2 but the facts are usually either left out or hugely exagerated.