Federal Communications Commission investigates PR “news”.

Los Angeles Times: The FCC is investigating reports that a number of television news organisations have aired video press releases without disclosing the source of the stories. Up to 98 video press releases were allegedly broadcast on 77 stations, in 30 American states, without disclosure. The station’s claim that the non-disclosure was accidental but others disagree, suggesting that the large number of ‘accidents’ suggests knowledge of non-disclosure.

To some extent I already had knowledge about PR news and the extent to which news coverage and footage is supplied to news organisations from PR departments and agencies. However I reckon that this broadcast of PR news really points out some negative aspects of the current media situation, including:

The pressure news organisations are under as commercial businesses to increase ratings/circulations and the decreased emphasis on the presentation of accurate and independent news.

That 24/7 news channels (and the increased air time given to news) puts pressure on news organisations and journalists to fill-in their allotted timeslot (isn’t it worrying that every night there is exactly 30 minutes of news and they finish by saying “that’s how it is this Thursday” or “you’re now up-to-date” when surely some nights there are differing amounts of newsworthy information to broadcast.)

I also am concerned that the public are unconcerned about the validity, independence and range of opinions they are being presented with when they watch news, and tend to unquestionably trust news broadcasters and personalities.