The FCC fined a pair of television stations for airing commercials masquerading as news segments. These video news releases (VNRs) are advertisements produced to be virtually indistinguishable from news stories and distributed to television news departments, and they violate the FCC’s longstanding “sponsorship identification” rules when they are aired without disclosing their origins.
The fines came in response to a 2006 complaint filed by Free Press and the Center for Media and Democracy, which exposed the rampant use of PR firm-generated VNRs disguised as news programming. The groups filed a follow-up report and complaints in 2007, further detailing the trend. Overall the groups cited the use of over 100 undisclosed VNRs.Jesus, it took them a while to act on this crap wouldn't you say? The fines were minuscule of course, Four grand each.
The stations used the propaganda as if it was actual news. The violation they ran afoul of was disclosure:
The FCC imposed the fines against the licensees of Minneapolis Fox affiliate KMSP-TV and South New Jersey NBC affiliate WMGM-TV for violating FCC rules that requires broadcasters to disclose a sponsor in a broadcast in which “money, service or other valuable consideration is directly or indirectly paid, or promised to or charged or accepted by the station.”Hopefully this trend by the FCC will continue, as I am quite sure those two stations are not the only ones using this brand of fuckery to dupe their audience. Moving at a snails pace however gives these assholes plenty of time to continue showing infomercial-like pieces as valid news.