Red-Faced Broadcast Execs Resist Reform

The President of the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA), Barbara Cochran, has conceded the accuracy of the recent Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) report, Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed. "We had good reason to think that many of the video examples posted on the CMD website were simple errors, not deliberate attempts to fool the public, but the similarities between newscast stories and video news releases (VNRs) were embarrassing," Cochran said in a statement. While RTNDA may be red-faced, they are still resisting reforms that would mandate disclosure of VNRs to viewers. Meanwhile, the owner of KEF Media Associates, Kevin E. Foley, has abandoned even referring to VNRs, preferring to call them "TV press releases" instead. The Federal Communications Commission investigation into undisclosed use of VNRs, he complains, represents a threat to "the free speech rights of my corporate clients."


Kevin Foley

This is a clear cut First Amendment issue: Ms. Cochran on June 7:
"We also emphasized that RTNDA opposes any attempt to regulate the form of identification and said those decisions are clearly part of the First Amendment."

Here's what the Las Vegas Review-Journal had to say: Thanks to cable TV and the Internet, Americans now have more sources of news than ever before. If viewers believe a news source is slanting its coverage or purposely leaving out part of the story, they can and do flee in droves to other sources. The government has no role here. It's called "the free market.