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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Fake News

Monday, April 10, 2006

While NPH was living in New Jersey a couple of years ago, he occasionally, when forced, would watch the wretched local news (wretched not because it's local to New Jersey, but wretched in the way that all local news is now wretched). On one particular occasion, NPH watched a piece about the release of the new Corvette. It was a news piece that simply stated the specifications of the car while showing footage of it driving around a windy country road. "Hrmph!" he thought, "that certainly doesn't look like news."

Well here's why: it wasn't. It was what is commonly known as a Video News Release (or VNR), a piece of corporate-funded PR made to look like news and then given to a news station. The Center for Media and Democracy has recently released their report of a study they conducted on VNR's. Turns out that these bits of fake news are way more prevalent than anybody thought. The online report has got a map of the stations who the study found to be using VNR's, as well as several bits of video footage of VNR's themselves.

You really have to see it to believe it. Although, if it's been worth the money paid to PR firms, you already saw it and already, well, believed it.

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 6:59 AM

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