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Monday, March 14, 2005

The Timesian Tease

The New York Times' category killer on the feds' use of video news releases yesterday had a distressingly low news-to-word count ratio, but my ears pricked up when I read that some fake news segments "were broadcast in some of nation's largest television markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta."

That's news. Third-ranked hayseed station in Des Moines broadcasts USDA propaganda on a 5 a.m. agricultural show? Mildly interesting, but not too surprising. Network-owned major-market station in Chicago broadcasts video news releases without attribution? That's a story, which is evidently why the Times teased it near the top.

Sadly, a tease is all it was. The major-market allegation is not revisited, and nowhere in the story is any evidence presented of federally produced video news releases being broadcast in New York, Chicago, L.A., Dallas, or Atlanta.