Columbus Discovers Local Fake News

Emmy award-winning television reporter Andrea Cambern "might be the most trusted news anchor in Columbus," Ohio, writes Steph Greegor. "So she's believable when she appears in reports reinforcing the notion that the Ohio State University Medical Center is a fine facility. What those clips don't mention is that Ohio State paid Channel 10 for them. ... Cambern appears in Channel 10's Breakthroughs in Medicine, for which Ohio State pays the station almost $100,000 annually. [Local NBC anchor Amy] Basista hosts Channel 4's Med Breaks, for which the station rakes in almost $150,000 a year." Another Channel 10 reporter produces "HealthSource features" sponsored by Nationwide Children's Hospital, McDonald's and Nationwide Insurance, while Mount Carmel Health sponsors "Strides in Medicine" segments on two local stations. Only NBC4 "labels its paid health spot as advertising on its website. None of the stations labels the spots as paid advertisements in the on-air versions, though they do introduce the spots referencing the OSU Medical Center." Health journalist and professor Trudy Lieberman calls for "honest, forthright disclosure" of the sponsored segments. She says, "It's really disguised public relations coming in the guise of a newscast."