Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Metro News

I know I've complained before about the Transit Television Network-run televisions on the MTA buses--they are really quite annoying--but riding on the bus last week I saw something that I just have to tell you. Within a forty-minute ride, I saw two fake news stories for hormone replacement therapy. Each one was edited and narrated like a news story, and neither mentioned a specific product or brand. They even mentioned risks, but then dismissed them. They each ended with something like "Jane Smith reporting". I knew these were fake, but there was no warning that they were advertisements. The first one was about male menopause, which I think is a made up condition. Near the end the narrator said, "Some people worry that the hormone treatment will increase their risk of cancer. But for many men, it's worth it." What?!?

The FCC is beginning to investigate the use of such PR on news shows:
High Point's WGHP (channel 8) is among 77 U.S. television stations to be asked by the Federal Communications Commission for information about improperly labeled "video news releases" the station aired.

Such releases, nicknamed "fake news," are made to resemble television-news segments but deliver commercial messages. The FCC requires them to be labeled as such before being broadcast. Airing such segments without proper labeling can lead to a fine of up to $32,500 for each instance and, in extreme cases, could lead to revocation of a station's broadcast license.
Someone needs to alert the FCC to what is going on down at the MTA.

Center for Media and Democracy
AP: FCC Questions TV Stations on 'Fake News'
LA City Beat: And Now the News (2/16/06)
LA Times: More Ads May Power MTA (6/16/06)


Blogger erin said...

I think it's "andropause" although I prefer the term "man-opause" b/c it's funnier to say. There was an article about it in The New Yorker a few years back, but I don't remember too much about it.

That sucks - but on the other hand, I am loathe to take away advertising funds from the MTA, who needs all the help they can get to continue providing service to Angelenos like me who don't have cars. (And for those who do but will slowly be convinced to give public transit a try.)

12:38 PM  

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