Fake TV news
FAKE TV NEWS: WIDESPREAD AND UNDISCLOSED is the title of a report released April 6, 2006, by the Center for Media and Democracy. This multi-media report is the result of an intensive ten-month investigation by CMD's senior researcher Diane Farsetta and research consultant Daniel Price. It documents for the first time how commercial propaganda -- fake TV news created by PR experts -- is being extensively broadcast as TV "news". The Center for Media and Democracy and the media reform group Free Press simultaneously filed a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission requesting a crack-down on TV news fraud and calling for mandatory on-screen labeling of all phony news stories so that TV viewers know what is real reporting, and what is fake TV news.
The report FAKE TV NEWS: WIDESPREAD AND UNDISCLOSED is also available in PDF format. The URL to download the PDF of the report is:
On November 14, 2006, CMD release its follow-up report titled "Still Not The News," further documenting the ongoing and widespread problem of fake TV news. 
The term "fake TV news" usually refers to the widespread and undisclosed use of video news releases by commercial television news producers. Thousands of VNRs are produced each year by public relations firms and experts on behalf of corporations and government agencies. These appear to be TV news stories, but in fact they are biased stories favorable to the corporate or government client who paid for the creation and distribution of the fake TV news. TV journalists commit plagiarism when they take VNRs and disguise them as their own reporting, rather than labeling them so that viewers can see who provided the fake news and on whose behalf. Fake TV news is very widespread but very hidden because it exists as a secret arrangement between PR firms and TV news producers and news editors. The VNRs are very difficult to obtain outside the domain of the commercial TV newsroom.
- Barbara Cochran
- Fake news
- Radio-Television News Directors Association and Foundation
- Video news releases
- Neil Roland, FCC's Martin Orders Probe of TV Stations That Air Ads as News, Bloomberg online, May 25, 2006.
- FCC Probling Complaint on Video News Releases, Reuters, May 25, 2006.
- Jim Puzzanghera, FCC Looks at Stations' Use of PR Videos; The corporate releases aired on news programs without disclosure, a nonprofit group says, Los Angelese Times, May 26, 2006.
- Christina Hoag, FCC investigates video releases; The Federal Communications Commission is investigating the airing of a video news release by WBFS-TV UPN 33, Miami Herald, May 26, 2006.
- Dick Kreck Channel 2 under scrutiny in "fake news" investigation; It walks and talks like news but it isn't news, Denver Post, June 4, 2006.
- Diane Farsetta and Daniel Price, Still Not The News, CMD's November 14, 2006, followup to the April 2006 report.
- "FCC Proposes 'Fake News' Fine," Associated Press, September 24, 2007.
- Matthew Lasar, "FCC hits Comcast with fake news fine," Lasar's Letter on the FCC, September 24, 2007.
- Jeff Gelles, "FCC fines Comcast over video news release," The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 25, 2007.
- Tonya Garcia, "FCC fines Comcast for airing VNR," PR Week, September 25, 2007.
- "Comcast, D S Simon Named in VNR Notice," O'Dwyer's PR Daily (sub req'd), September 25, 2007.
- Brooks Boliek, "FCC urges fine for Comcast: VNR was aired as part of newscast," Hollywood Reporter, September 25, 2007.
- Ellen Gray, "CN8 to fight fine for promo use," The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 26, 2007.
- John Eggerton, "FCC’s VNR Fine: More to Come? Levy against Comcast for unidentified video news release could be start of get-tough policy," Broadcasting & Cable, October 1, 2007.
- John Eggerton, "FCC: Free, Noncontroversial VNRs Can Still Trigger Fines: Comcast Faces Four More FCC Fines, Totaling $16,000," Broadcasting & Cable, October 1, 2007.
- Kara Rowland, "FCC fines use of VNRs," Washington Times, October 3, 2007.
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