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CNN to broadcast corporate propaganda as news?

‘In a 1958 speech to the Radio and Television News Directors Association, veteran CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow told a roomful of TV executives, “We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent.” The anchorman, who used his position to take on powerful politicians such as former Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy and issues such as segregation, cautioned that the new medium was being used to “distract, delude, amuse and insulate” the public.

Almost 60 years later, Murrow’s warning has gone unheeded by the corporate broadcast media. On June 8, CNN unveiled “Courageous,” a new production unit and an in-house studio that would be paid by advertisers to produce and broadcast news-like “branded content.”

“This isn’t about confusing editorial with advertising,” CNN executive Dan Riess told the Wall Street Journal. But a corporation going beyond advertising on a channel and funding the network to produce PR segments made to look like news is exactly the kind of confusion Riess is referring to.

More than ever before, the American public needs reliable, impartial news outlets that report on the stories of the day honestly and objectively. And while some savvy news consumers may turn to independent, online sources for information that is free from corporate influence, the majority of Americans who work 8 to 10-hour days don’t have the time or energy to seek out these sources.’

 

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