Falsifying the News for a Price
Did CBS Say "Pay Us and We'll Falsify for You"?
On Wednesday January 12, the New York Times reported that CBS News has deliberately falsified news images by tampering with them so as to insert ads. Those aren't commercials, they are ads in its newscasts.
Here is an announcement about the scandal.
Groups Criticize CBS News for Deliberate Falsification of News Images
Following a New York Times article documenting how CBS News has repeatedly inserted virtual advertisements into its newscasts, Commercial Alert and TV-Free America today called CBS News "fundamentally untrustworthy," urged its viewers to get their news elsewhere, and demanded that it stop using virtual ads.
According to today's New York Times, the virtual billboard technology, designed by Princeton Video Image, which is used to insert advertising, "has been used regularly on 'The Early Show' and the news magazine "48 Hours" and was used on the Evening News on Dec. 30 and 31, according to CBS news executives.
"CBS News crossed an important line by deliberately tampering with the content of news footage," said Gary Ruskin, Director of Commercial Alert, which opposes the excesses of advertising, marketing and commercialism. "It's obvious that you can't trust what you see on CBS News."
"These virtual billboards demonstrate that nothing -- not even reality itself -- is safe from creeping commercialism," said Frank Vespe, Executive Director of TV-Free America. "Far from being a simple production technique, virtual billboards alter the actual content of the news. We will never again be certain that so-called live footage shows the real world or an advertising fantasy land."
"Journalism relies on the trustworthiness of journalists and news outlets," Ruskin said. "CBS News has violated any reasonable standard of trust, and they are going to have to think long and hard about how to get it back. At a minimum, to regain public trust, they must agree to never intentionally falsify news footage again."
"CBS' New Year's Eve broadcast marks a red letter day in news history: the day in which television news completely renounced any obligation to viewers to show the world as it really is," Vespe said. "If there was any remaining question, it is now clear that television news is no more serious or realistic than sitcoms or science fiction shows. All of them are about one thing and one thing only: generating maximum ad revenues."
"This is just the latest example of how aggressive commercialism wrecks the newsroom," Ruskin said.
"News which can be altered at will to serve the networks' interest stops being news and becomes simply another sitcom with different characters," Vespe said. "How could anyone ever take it seriously again?"
Vespe and Ruskin urge people to complain to CBS News President Andrew Heyward at (212) 975-2730, or send email to CBS News Executive Vice President Jonathan Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commercial Alert opposes the excesses of advertising, marketing and commercialism. See http://www.essential.org/alert/ for more information. The web address for TV-Free America is http://www.tvfa.org.
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