Oddly enough, Fox isn’t mentioned :
The Federal Communications Commission has mailed letters to the owners of 77 television stations inquiring about their use of video news releases, a type of programming critics refer to as “fake news.”
Video news releases are packaged news stories that usually employ actors to portray reporters who are paid by commercial or government groups.
The letters were sparked by allegations that television stations have been airing the videos as part of their news programs without telling viewers who paid for them.
FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein said Tuesday the letters ask station managers for information regarding agreements between the stations and the creators of the news releases. The FCC also asked whether there was any “consideration” given to the stations in return for airing the material.
“You can’t tell any more the difference between what’s propaganda and what’s news,” Adelstein said.
The probe was sparked by a study of newsroom use of material provided by public relations firms. The study, entitled “Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed,” was compiled by the Center for Media and Democracy, a Madison, Wis.-based nonprofit organization that monitors the public relations industry.
When stations air video news releases, they are required to disclose to viewers “the nature, source and sponsorship of the material that they are viewing,” according to the FCC.
The rules were prompted by payola scandals of the past, in which broadcasters accepted money from companies to hype their products without labeling the effort as advertising.
They’re talking about you, Karen.