Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Views of the News, May 13, 2009

NPR censors an online review of a documentary that tries to "out" non-gay-friendly politicians ... coverage of the Roxana Saberi case vs. that of imprisoned non-American journalists ... and, does Souter's retirement open the doors to cameras in the Supreme Court? Panelists: Mike McKean, Lee Wilkins, Charles Davis.

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1 comment:

Alan said...

Longtime KBIA contributing member here (this year I mentioned your show specifically as my fave when making my pledge--hope that helps you guys out somehow). I listen every week, either on Wed. evening or via podcast.

I have observed what strikes me as unethical behavior by a Quincy, IL TV news program and wanted to run this by you all. KHQA (CBS, Channel 7) ran a "story" on their ten o'clock news last night that consisted entirely of lauding the services of a carpet and upholstry cleaning service. At the end of the segment, the anchor noted that viewers could get more information about the company by visiting the station's websites, and even mentioned that there would be coupons found there!

Yet at no point was it made clear that this was a sponsorship type thing rather than an actual news story--in fact, I don't know for a fact that money exchanged hands, but the whole thing seems very fishy to say the least.

I pointed out the story to my wife and she recalled that this was the same station that had, a few months ago, done a "news story" (with arguably slightly more newsworthy relevance) on a local Chevy dealership. That story also shone a completely uncritical eye on the dealership and mentioned that the dealer was offering "great deals" as a result of the economy and so on. Then immediately after the story, a commercial ran for the same dealership (Shottenkirk)!

In the more recent case of the carpet and upholstry cleaners, I did not see an ad run (though I didn't watch the whole broadcast), but it hardly seemed necessary since the "story" fulfilled the function already.

Isn't this all highly unethical? I know that weathermen used to promote products in the midst of their reports, but I think they made it more clear that they were taking a moment to plug a sponsor rather than pretending to deliver a news report.