Jun 08 2015

CNN’s ‘Courageous’ Advertorial Mill

Giant Hornets Kill 42 People in China"--which CNN thinks is in South America (screen grab: Daily Buzz)

CNN has announced the formation of a new unit that will take money from corporations to produce “news-like content” that is actually PR designed to burnish its clients’ images. The name CNN gives to this mercenary enterprise? “Courageous.”

May 22 2015

Ira Glass Clarifies That Public Radio Is Ready for the GOOD Kind of Capitalism

Ira Glass at Hearing Is Believing (photo: Mattew Septimus/NPR)

“My hope is that we can move away from a model of asking listeners for money and join the free market,” host of public radio’s This American Life Ira Glass declared last month: “Public radio is ready for capitalism.”

Feb 01 2013

FAIR REPORT: 13th Annual Fear & Favor Review

Revealing the hidden influence behind the news


Revealing the hidden influence behind the newsIt’s a fair indication of the current state of play in U.S. media that, in 2012, TV newscasts were acknowledged to be “increasingly seeded with corporate advertising masquerading as news” (Washington Post, 1/3/12)—and the regulatory response was to call, not for an end to the practice of deceiving audiences, but for broadcasters to make note of such arrangements in an online file. While we work on creating the sort of unfettered news media that democracy requires, calling out compromised reporting as we do each year in Fear & Favor is just another way to […]

Nov 01 2012


Extra! November 2012

Extra! November 2012Don’t Look to NYT  to ‘Litigate’ the Facts Margaret Sullivan, the new New York Times public editor (9/16/12), used the topic of “voter fraud” to illustrate the concept of “false balance”―when two sides are treated as equivalent even when one side has reality on its side. Despite Republican efforts to pass laws to prevent voting by the ineligible, research finds next to no examples of this problem―but coverage often treats the absence of fraudulent voting as a partisan assertion (Extra!, 10/12). While Sullivan rightly observed that “journalists need to make every effort to get beyond the spin and […]

May 01 2012

PBS Responds on Dow-Funded Series

PBS ombud Michael Getler (4/27/12) agrees that the Dow Chemical Corporation’s sponsorship of a PBS series violates PBS underwriting guidelines. PBS, unfortunately, stands by its show. A FAIR Action Alert (4/23/12) pointed out that the decision to allow Dow to sponsor the series America Revealed, which deals with issues that closely track Dow’s business interests, flies in the face of PBS funding guidelines. Noting that he had received some 500 messages inspired by the alert, Getler agreed, saying that “the points raised by FAIR were fair ones, in my view, and many of the letters were quite comprehensive in their […]

Apr 27 2012

Mark Weisbrot on Argentina’s Oil, Justin Elliott on Campaign Ad Disclosure


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: Argentina’s move to re-nationalize its oil company, taking it back from the Spanish company Repsol, is not getting good reviews in the corporate press overseas or here at home. The move will hurt and further isolate Argentina, say the critics. We’ll talk to economist Mark Weisbrot for another view. Also on the show: Campaign season means a flood of political ads intended to influence your vote. The FCC has proposed a measure aimed at making it easier to figure out who’s buying those ads, it’s public information after all, and you’ll never guess who’s […]

Apr 23 2012

Is ‘America Revealed’–or PBS?

Dow-sponsored public TV series tracks Dow's product lines

Dow-sponsored public TV series tracks Dow’s product linesThe four-part series America Revealed, airing on PBS stations this month, looks at big-picture economic issues, from agriculture to transportation to manufacturing. The series underwriter? The Dow Chemical Company, whose commercial interests closely track the subjects covered in the PBS series. The first episode (4/11/12) focused on large-scale agriculture, which is one of the industries in which Dow is a major player. The program featured an extended look at the corn industry, including efforts to control pests. As the program explained, the food industry “needed a game changer” in that fight. And it […]

Mar 01 2011

11th Annual Fear & Favor Report

How power shapes the news

How power shapes the newsU.S. media consumers are used to magazines where ads outnumber stories, to on-air hosts who contractually consume brand-name drinks, to “consideration provided by” this and “brought to you by” that. But when it comes to the news, many still maintain at least the kernel of expectation that reports in the paper or on TV have more to do with journalistic judgment than with anything else. The Fear & Favor report is about some of the things that come between that image and reality on a daily basis. From pushy advertisers to heavy-handed owners and local power […]