When News Isn’t News

Rocky Mountain Media Watch has filed a formal petition with the Federal Trade Commission over four Denver TV station’s news broadcasts. They’re asking the FTC to declare advertisements promotion the local news programs to be deceptive because, according to their press release, “the entertainment-oriented content of the local TV ‘news’ programs cannot be considered news.” If this works, I wonder if we might see a similar action against WVIR somewhere down the line?

2 thoughts on “When News Isn’t News”

  1. I know I’d definitely be tempted to file just such a petition against WVIR. I try and watch their news a few nights out of the week, and I’m pretty much always left with the same feeling: What Charlottesville do they live in? Whatever that they’re talking about, it always invariably has nothing to do with me, or anything that I’d ever have anything to do with. If there hasn’t been a press release or they haven’t heard something on their scanner, it’s just not news. (As best as I can tell.) But they are full of 3-minute segments from Jeannie Moos.

    Prior to last year’s City Council elections, there’s no way that they spent 3 minutes all told on coverage of that. “Investigative journalism” must not be in their lexicon. C-Ville Weekly provided an admirable piece of journalism (and that’s not the sort of thing that I generally find myself saying about C-Ville) last year about WVIR. It broke down a year’s worth of programming, analyzing how much time that WVIR spent on each subject. It was absolutely fascinating, and very depressing. WVIR, of course, never acknowledged this study in any way, if I recall correctly.

    Too bad that doesn’t exist on-line somewhere. If anybody over at C-Ville is reading this, how about posting a copy? If you e-mail it to me, I’ll append it to the story.

    Anyhow, that’s just my $0.02.


  2. Why WVIR exists at all is a question any news-hungry local must ponder on a daily basis. The alarming vacuous posture of its presence paints a sad and inappropriate televised image of Charlottesville and is an insult to such an educated community. From the idiotic banter of the morning team to the broken-record repetition of the 5:30-6:30pm “news” (“Here’s Norida Higgins with the story LIVE in our newsroom down the hall”), I often have to watch and wonder: Does this cast of clowns truely believe it’s serving the community? Are they ALL on Prozac? Someone pull the plug. I’d be first in line to sign a petition similar to the Denver action.

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