Phony News Hurts Broadcast Journalism’s Image

Fellow news junkies – It was bad enough when local stations gave IHOP tons of free advertising when they changed their name to IHOB. That was barely news…..just barely, and probably not news at all. Now they’re doing a story about IHOP changing it back again because it was all a ruse to promote their burgers – giving them even more free ads.

I was almost over that slander on what news should really be when a local station did a “story” on Chick-fil-A’s annual promotion, offering a free entre’ to anyone who shows up at one of their outlets dressed as a cow. Salads, not included.

Now there’s a real news story. Something that will impact us all. The gay-bashing owner of a chicken sandwich chain offering free food to any idiot willing to dress up like a cow. Really? Come on. Stop disguising free ads as news. You’re hurting us all by destroying the image of American broadcast journalism.   And just so you’ll know, it’s not the journalists doing this, it’s the companies they work for, who will do almost anything to get ad dollars, even if they have to give away free ads disguised as news to do it.

Don’t criticize FOX, if you’re gonna turn around and disguise free ads as news stories.  Don’t cringe when Trump accuses the mainstream media of doing fake news when that’s precisely what you’re doing.

TV salespeople have been offering  free news coverage as “sweetners” to close deals for years.  Back in the 70’s a former colleague, a producer, was fired for refusing to run the grand opening of a McDonald’s in Columbus, Ohio, as a news story.  He gave up his job to preserve his professional ethics.  Suppose anybody would do that now?

A lie is a lie is a lie.   You either have credibility or you don’t, and when it’s gone, getting it back again is a bitch.   The saddest part, is that most of what the mainstream is doing is an attempt at solid journalism.  But none of that matters when they “fudge” what they’re doing  just a little, to help the sales department get another account.

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