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Fake News on your TV... does it matter where your news comes from?

Priya Shah | 14:01 UK time, Monday, 29 May 2006

What do you expect when you watch the News on TV? Many would expect reporting on real facts gathered by journalists - but TV stations in the US are being investigated for airing "news reports" that were actually produced by government departments and commercial companies. It appears spin has been taken to another level, beyond press releases to professionally produced videos which look just like a normal news item.

A non-profit group in the US, the Centre for Media and Democracy has found that 77 TV stations across the US have shown these pre-packaged reports, without explaining where they actually came from. So you get health stories produced by PR departments of drug companies, and reports about Iraq from the Bush administration.

Does the discovery of "fake news" bother you? Have you come to expect it? Have you ever trusted the news media? If everyone today is a journalist - is the old-style objective professional journalist a thing of the past? Ultimately, is where your news comes from as (or more) important than what is actually being said?

And isn't this just another kind of censorhip -filling airtime with 'news' that is acceptable to the rich and powerful? Where can you find out whats really going on in the world? How can we criticise countries like China for restricting what is seen and heard on the news, when government sanctioned propaganda can be seen on US TV?

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