Friday, April 14, 2006

Fake News

For last week's column, I wrote about the results of a study on the use of fake new reports used by TV stations across the country, including two in LA. Here's a link to the executive summary of the report by the Center for Media and Democracy.

While the TV industry quietly took its blows after the report, the PR industry struck back.

Check out this excerpt from an open letter to the Center for Media and Democracy sent by Becky Kern and Jay Elliott, principals, WErPR. This excerpt references my column and attributes my words to Price. I hope they do better reporting in their fake news.

"In closing, we can’t help wondering what the CMD is hoping to achieve with this report. Recently Daniel Price, one of the co-authors of the “study,” summed up his concerns in the LA Daily News by remarking “what if a doctor sees a fake news segment and prescribes a drug based on what appears to be a good news story, but really is well disguised advertising?”'This of course is outlandish, unless this same doctor got his credentials watching ER or Grey’s Anatomy. If more FCC regulation is the desired action, it seems incongrueous with an activist organization sponsored by left-leaning, anti-big brother philanthropists; so a check of the charter might be in order. And if it’s fair and objective reporting by the media, perhaps a closer look at the CMD’s own one-sided report is a good place to start. Maybe the CMD is just looking for its fifteen seconds of fame. Whatever the objective, given the times we live in, there are certainly more important, more subversive and more impactful areas of communication and influence worthy of study.

FYI, if you don't think physicians are influenced by news stories they think are real when they are balancing all the other information they get about new drugs -- including the regular visits from drug compnay reps bearing gifts and samples -- think again. They're human liek everyone else, after all, and cannot be blamed for believing that the reports the see in the news are accurate.


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