Media

CBS Helps Polish CIA's Image

CBS's new dramatic series about the Central Intelligence Agency, called "The Agency," brings into question the relationship between the network and the government agency. CBS has received input on scripts and support from the CIA for the program, which premieres this month. Jeff Cohen, founder of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting and Newsday columnists, compares the new series to the sixties TV-show "The FBI," produced by ABC with the blessing and cooperation of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI.

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U.S. Newswire Outlines Upcoming Newsmaking Opportunities

U.S. Newswire, a for-profit press release distribution service, faxed the PR Watch office advising us of "numerous newsmaking opportunities." "You should be working now to position your organization as a key news source for media working on these and other stories," said the news release. "One of the best ways to do this is via U.S. Newswire.

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Free the Politicians

A recent survey of politicians found that they are as frustrated as the rest of us with the corruption of modern politics. The University of Maryland interviewed 7,500 winning and losing candidates for election and found that most candidates want the focus of campaigning more on the substance of policy ideas and were frustrated by the media's tendency to focus on personal foibles and insider clashes.

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Product Placement on "The Hughleys"

The Omnicom Group is negotiating a deal with Viacom Inc.'s UPN network to arrange product placements on UPN's TV programs in exchange for Omnicom buying $30 million in TV ads. According to industry executives, part of the deal calls for McDonald's to be scripted into ''The Hughleys,'' a sitcom about an African-American suburban family starring comic D.L. Hughley. Other clients whose products will be scripted into UPN shows include Cingular Wireless, Gillette, Sony's PlayStation, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance and Vivendi Universal's Universal Pictures.

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Reading, Writing and Propaganda

Channel One, which beams TV news programs and commercials into thousands of schools in the U.S., has broadcast dozens of news segments which contained anti-drug messages in the past three years -- and received millions of dollars' worth of ad credits from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy for doing so.

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Think Tank Media Visibility Up

Media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting reports in the latest issue of their magazine Extra! that media citations of think tanks grew 29 percent in 2000. Progressive groups, like the Economic Policy Institute, Urban Institute, and Justice Policy Institute, saw a significant increase in references to them in electronic media. Conservative and right-leaning think tanks, however, still got half of all media citations.

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Sunday Political Shows Ignore Corporate Power

The Sunday morning political talk shows shut out issues related to corporate power. That is the primary conclusion of a new report issued by Essential Information, a Ralph Nader founded organization based in Washington, DC. A quantitative analysis of transcripts broadcast over a period of eighteen months from four talk shows -- The McLaughlin Group, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week -- found that topics related to corporate power -- such as the environment, corporate welfare, and free trade -- make up less than 4% of the shows' discussion topics.

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The Media Is the Mess

The belated discovery that George W. Bush's campaign applied two disparate standards for counting overseas ballots in Florida -- liberal for Bush strongholds and stringent for counties carried by Al Gore -- underscores again the huge advantage that the well-funded conservative news media gives the Republicans. "By having a powerful media of its own -- from TV networks to nationwide talk radio, from news magazines to daily newspapers -- the conservative movement can give its stamp to events during the crucial few days when the public is paying attention," writes Robert Parry.

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Buy News Content Like Ad Space

Media Relations, a Minneapolis-based PR firm, tells potential clients, "The media is separated into two categories. One is content and the other is advertising. They're both for sale." In a press release sent to media watch-dog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, the firm explains that one can now buy news articles for less money than advertisements. That's because unlike other PR firms, Media Relations only charges clients for stories that get picked up by media. According to the firm's website, "Normally clients spend between $3,000 and $50,000 per month with us."

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