The Campaign For DA


Commercial Disguised As A News Story

I know I may be the only one bothered by this continuing topic, but it drives me crazy. In my opinion, Fox 4 was guilty of it a week ago and now I believe Channel 8 has done it as well.

Video here. It's just weird. A new "lip filler" drug? That can't be newsworthy. The name of the product is prominently featured and we even get to see "before and after" photos showing how great the product works. It is a glowing review. And there is not a single mention of any side effect which you would think would be a no-brainer in an news story. Wait a second. That may be what's going on. If a drug company advertises in print or on TV, they are required to bombard you with warnings required by the FDA. You've heard them -- they are almost comical.  But that requirement wouldn't possibly apply if a company could "convince" a station to run a "news" story about the product. Hmmmm.

I did a quick Google News search for the product and found on the first page alone that there are four other TV stations which have also presented stories about the product. That's a coincidence?

And it is interesting, although I have no proof the two are connected, that the WFAA medical reporter in that story above, Janet St. James, announced she is leaving the station today after nearly 19 years.


Anonymous said...

Andrew Sullivan talked about this a lot on his blog - The Dish. Do a search there for "sponsored or branded content." It is not just local affiliates courting new revenue streams. It is all forms of news. One money quote:

From Andrew Sullivan on Feb 3rd:

The NYT came up with one today:
Mark Thompson, the company’s chief executive, highlighted digital advertising numbers, specifically noting growth in mobile and video ad sales, as well as native advertising, which are ads that resemble news articles.

I can live with that definition. I just don’t know how the NYT lives with the reality that it is bragging of blurring the lines between advertising and journalism.

Anonymous said...

I used the google on my interweb device. Barry, you are correct about dodging FDA requirements:

"Since 1997, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed pharmaceutical companies to advertise their products on television. But in exchange, the FDA requires their commercials to include "fair balance," important safety information about possible adverse reactions and medical conflicts (also known as contraindications).

While the FDA also requires pharmaceutical video news releases (VNRs) to provide fair balance, TV stations aren't held to the same requirements in their news reports. As a result, the drug giants rely on ethically-challenged newsrooms to not just deliver their product's selling points through undislosed VNRs, but to edit out the safety warnings that might dissuade viewers from considering their new remedy."

Anonymous said...

Disgusting--but mainstream media has been like that for years.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Texas is one big infomercial already. So I wouldn't be surprised if it trickles into the news slots.

Anonymous said...

Why are you hating on these poor corporations? They are people, too!

DF Wordkyle & Friends

Anonymous said...

I wonder if I can use that lip filler on my tallywacker? Midland traffic makes my penis draw up, just saying.

West Texas Flash

Anonymous said...

I saw this broadcast and thought - What the heck? Where is the info on side effects??

Strange. But all news stations are guilty of this. Hope Gannet got a good payout for the infomercial.