Propaganda or video news release?

NY Times — Under Bush, a New Age of Prepackaged Television News. The government has made for several years video press releases where they hire people to perform interviews and package the material like interviews.

Video releases were started under the Clinton administration and continues with the Bush administration. Segments are sent to TV stations. At this point there’s little difference between video and traditional press release.

Many corporations also do this Medialink Worldwide Inc. is a major business in this industry, according to the article.

TV stations air the pieces, but do they let viewers know this is a prepared piece by the interested party? Too often they don’t. There’s where the foul occurs. Readers or viewers can decide the credibility of the material shown, just let them know the source of the information.

It’s a lengthy article, but it’s great reading when the news directors try to explain or don’t bother explaining why they showed the segments without letting viewers know the source. Also the need to cut costs at local television stations make video press releases a tempting solution in filling the need for material.

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