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Prepackaged VNR news under microscope

All the News that's Fit to be Prepackaged
from: http://watchingwashington.blogspot.com/
"Comptroller General David Walker has fired off a memo to federal agencies warning them about 'pre-packaged news.' The PR tool has caused problems for at least two cabinet Departments -- for breaking federal anti-propaganda laws.

The prepacked news stories are called 'video news releases' -- or VNRs in the business. They are one-sided, PR pieces that look like an actual news story. They've gotten on the air without changes -- and without any mention that they are produced by your government.

In his memo, Comptroller General Walker wrote, 'Television-viewing audiences did not know that stories they watched on television news programs about the government were, in fact, prepared by the government. We concluded that those prepackaged news stories violated the publicity or propaganda prohibition.'

His memo goes on to say it's not enough that the content is not objectionable nor that the VNR is identified as a government produced spot. He says the disclosures have to be clear to the television viewing audience. (WashPost)..."

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