Group says yesterday’s report by the Center for Media and Democracy does not justify FCC “intrusion into newsroom operations.”
The Radio-Television News Directors Association responded to Tuesday’s report by the Center for Media and Democracy purporting to demonstrate that 46 television stations aired corporate video news releases without disclosures.
In a statement, it said: “As RTNDA has stated repeatedly, our organization has long had in place voluntary standards that call for appropriate identification of materials received from third-party sources. While RTNDA has not yet fully analyzed CMD’s latest report, from what we have been able to learn thus far, certain of the allegations regarding VNR use are inaccurate or represent isolated incidents made in error and at variance with station policies that are consistent with RTNDA’s guidelines.
“Even if the allegations made about VNR use by stations in this latest report are true, however, it provides no credible basis upon which the FCC can justify the extraordinary step of inserting itself into broadcast newsrooms and questioning their exercise of editorial discretion.
“It is particularly troublesome to RTNDA, therefore, that two FCC Commissioners joined CMD in today’s press conference praising the report. Both Commissioner Michael Copps and Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein suggested that an investigation of each of these 46 television stations would be launched imminently, and that the FCC’s investigation of 77 stations named in a previous CMD report would continue despite RTNDA’s call for its halt.
“RTNDA maintains that a reasonable reading of the FCC’s rules suggests that the sponsorship identification rules do not apply if stations or their employees have not received consideration for including VNR material in a broadcast, unless the material concerned politics or a controversial issue of public importance. This continued regulatory intrusion into newsroom operations must cease.”