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WHNT-19, CBS (TV Station)

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Fake TV News: A CMD Special Report
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This article is part of the Center for Media and Democracy's special report, Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed.
Click here to read the report summary.

WHNT-19 is a Huntsville, Alabama television station and an affiliate of the CBS television network.

Station Owner

The New York Times Company

Use of Video News Releases and/or Satellite Media Tours

In the midday news bulletin on February 14, 2006 the station broadcast an edited and re-voiced video news release (VNR) produced by Medialink Worldwide for Flower MD on flower tips for Valentine's Day. [1]

According to the "Healthy Housekeeper" website, WHNT aired an SMT titled "Quick & Healthy Housekeeping with Laura Dellutri" on June 8, 2004, at 5:30 AM. [2]

Response to Report

In response to a Center for Media and Democracy survey about station disclosure policies, Keith in the WHNT newsroom told CMD on April 3, 2006, "We don't use them [VNRs or SMTs], so don't resend the fax."

However, the station changed its tune when contacted by The Decatur Daily in August 2006, for their response to the FCC investigation into unsourced VNRs: [3]

WHNT-19 General Manager Craig Mars said Wednesday that his television station twice used video news releases, a type of programming critics call "fake news" . ...
"Channel 19 regrettably did air video news releases in the past," Mars said. "Since then, we've clarified our policy and taken the extreme measure that we are not to use any video news releases". ...
"I'm very much against using video news releases on personal principle and policy," Mars said. "I wasn't here for the first one [the Dellutri SMT], but we only used video from the flower industry on the holiday for the noon broadcast. I made sure we didn't use it again."

Contact Details

WHNT-19 CBS
200 Holmes Avenue
Huntsville, AL 35801
Phone: 256-533-1919
Fax: 256-533-4503
Web: http://www.whnt.com/

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