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Who do I pay to make all the media repeat the same banal line? I'm thinking a month of puns will do well for national morale.
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:01 PM on September 2, 2013


It's a little creepy that our local news is, in part, being scripted at the national level.
posted by nixxon at 3:09 PM on September 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jesus, this is actually pretty chilling. It looked like the anchors belonged to stations owned by the gamut of "different" parent companies; so, wtf? If they can all get in lockstep about how priceless a child's happiness is (especially on a birthday), you can only imagine how coordinated the effort must be to get messaging in line for topics of slightly greater consequence.
posted by threeants at 3:14 PM on September 2, 2013 [14 favorites]


In other shocking news, hundreds of local newspapers across the nation print the same Associated Press story. Somebody want to tell my why it's any different when it happens on TV instead of print?
posted by Longtime Listener at 3:15 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


In other shocking news, hundreds of local newspapers across the nation print the same Associated Press story. Somebody want to tell my why it's any different when it happens on TV instead of print?

Because there's a byline that says "AP".
posted by threeants at 3:17 PM on September 2, 2013 [19 favorites]


This has been going on for awhile, both in print and over the air. The ideal of unbiased news made for the perfect cover for homogenous national political and commercial campaigns. Everyone is saying the same thing because it is the truth. If they said different things then they would be biased, and biased is bad, it is unbalanced, it is ideological, bias means an ulterior motive, an agenda. Everyone should always agree, especially journalists. That's what facts are!
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:21 PM on September 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I thought it went beyond shared ownership and re-using AP. Don't companies send ready-to-go pre-written copy and video to media outlets, with many outlets taking them up on it?

In this case, all these party budget tips are from a single filmed piece from CNN Newsline, played on many non-CNN outlets, and includes some talking heads from Kiplinger's Personal Finance. I suspect this started as a complete PR package from Kiplingers (some copy, video that included their guy being filmed by an unseen person) that was packaged and narrated by CNN Newsline and sold to a lot of local news stations.

One

Two
posted by maudlin at 3:26 PM on September 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have not understood why anybody watches local television news for a long time now. The information density is like, IDK, that of hydrogen. Not a chemist, obvs
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:36 PM on September 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


There are more of these bits on Conan's site.

Videos tagged Media Reacts

I'm a fan of this being the end of email overload.
And we don't need them to tell us gas prices are back on the rise!
posted by DigDoug at 3:36 PM on September 2, 2013


KILL YOUR TELEVISION

unless Mad Men is on
posted by jquinby at 3:39 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would like to see this auto-tuned, but not enough to do it myself.
posted by monkihed at 3:41 PM on September 2, 2013


I like the one woman who said, instead, "A child's smile is priceless..." The creativity is astonishing. I also appreciate how incisive the change was - how skillful was her detournement - how she recognizes that it is not the happiness of a child that is without price, but rather the smile of a child, that purely external aspect of alleged happiness, that aspect which is often unmoored from the actual sensation of happiness.

And who would know better about the falsity of a smile than a professional news anchor, who is paid to smile every day for thousands of people, irrespective of her own feelings, irrespective of her own words' authenticity, irrespective of the "news" she relays?

Indeed, we should all thank this woman for her skillful subversion of the dialog opened by the so-called "news." We should thank her by, in the safety of our own homes, screaming and farting at the same time, for an uninterrupted period of time not less than fifteen minutes.

Beginning now.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:55 PM on September 2, 2013 [9 favorites]


In other shocking news, hundreds of local newspapers across the nation print the same Associated Press story. Somebody want to tell my why it's any different when it happens on TV instead of print?

I think it comes across as amusing/slightly creepy because newspapers make the AP attribution clear, but the local news stations make an effort to portray the piece as their own--they're not playing a tape of the original CNN piece; they're each re-stating the line about the child's happiness being priceless as though they came up with it themselves. When you see all these together it just underlines the artificiality.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:58 PM on September 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


The main reason this is funny/creepy is not even the camouflauged syndication trickling down hugger mugger from some nameless national entity. But that by hearing one-by-one all of these broadcasters who at least present themselves on some level as journalists (I know, right?), it's revealed to us just how disconnected the people who deliver our news are from the very thing that they are paid to do.

It's like the Nightly News is the thing that happens and the events it allegedly reports on are completely accidental.
posted by Catchfire at 4:14 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


The comments in here give no clue as to what the video that is not allowed in my country is. In fact, it's like a sci-fi story - a taste of what the book will hold, without revealing the plot too early.
posted by b33j at 4:20 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The uploader has not made this video available in your country.
Sorry about that."


Not for Australian eyes.
posted by kisch mokusch at 4:20 PM on September 2, 2013


An Australian's grief is priceless.

Sorry.
posted by maudlin at 4:31 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Screaming and farting here.
posted by h00py at 4:42 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Watched the vid, laughed my ass off, and then saw on the sidebar, Conan interviewing Lena (Cersei) Headey. Fuck, she's so awesome. And now I've gone down the rabbit hole of GoT cast interviews at various cons and well...see y'all Wednesday.
posted by Ber at 4:47 PM on September 2, 2013


I worked for a number of companies in the past who produced these "VNRs" -- Video News Releases: pre-shot and edited "news packages" (also called video press releases) sent to many TV stations (local and affiliated), along with an intro and outro script which the anchors would read.

The company would have, or get, a client (like Kiplingers) who wanted to reach a TV audience with their message ("hire us and we'll save you money"), and the TV stations would get a free pre-packaged video news piece to call their own.

The win for the client was seeing "air checks" (like the one Conan showed) of all the stations who aired their VNR.

When trouble came it was always one of attribution: the clients wanted to hide their paid message behind the "news", and the VNR industry always fought against having on-screen text that read "paid for by [client]".

PR disguised as news has been around as long as the written press release, and survives quite nicely online as well.
posted by joetrip at 5:12 PM on September 2, 2013 [11 favorites]


I have not understood why anybody watches local television news for a long time now. The information density is like, IDK, that of hydrogen. Not a chemist, obvs

This why I get all my news from the Onion.
posted by Mojojojo at 6:25 PM on September 2, 2013


KILL YOUR TELEVISION

unless Mad Men is on
posted by jquinby at 6:39 PM on September 2 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


These are my exact feelings.
posted by sweetkid at 6:33 PM on September 2, 2013


Haven't had a chance to watch this yet, but I see the thread is about an snarky as I was reacting to the headline, must be pretty good.

At what magic age does a person's happiness stop being "magical," and turn into something we care nothing about? If you're seven, how precious! If you're 24, what are you smiling about, you have too much free time get to work why aren't you raising a family you and your kind make me sick.
posted by JHarris at 7:07 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


For anyone who can't see it, it's a supercut of a bunch of local news anchors all saying the same lead-in line for the same stupid story. I was curious to know what it was actually about, which is how to save money on kid's birthday parties. Another one. They have to fill those minutes up with something, I guess. It would be more interesting if some local news decided to just read Metafilter out loud.
posted by bleep at 7:07 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think most of you understand what is going on here. This doesn't happen because one company owns all these stations, it happens because local news shows broadcast prefabricated "news" segments which are really commercials sent them by outside companies. These packages are designed to look like generic news segments, including a script for the anchor to read, but they are subtle promotional tools used by various industries. This one appears to be put together for Disney or maybe the Party Store. Or it could be a marketing firm representing a group in the toy industry.

It's an appalling practice, but the local "news" station doesn't have to pay to produce it and as long as it's subtle enough they're happy to pass it off as news.

I pine for the days when such practices would have got your license to use the airwaves revoked, but that America is a distant, fading memory.

EDIT: I see joetrip explains this in better detail above.
posted by Max Udargo at 7:53 PM on September 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Had a chance to see it now. Yep, that's infuriating. Thanks for the info joetrip!
posted by JHarris at 8:43 PM on September 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another link to the video here.
(I think it's the same - I also can't see the original.)
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 10:52 PM on September 2, 2013


KILL YOUR TELEVISION

unless Mad Men is on
posted by jquinby at 11:39 PM on September 2


Nope, even then. Or Breaking Bad. Or Orange Is the New Black. None of it is worth it. None of it. It's just very hard to truly realise that when you've been an addict for so long.
posted by Decani at 10:28 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


None of it is worth it. None of it

Nope, disagree.
posted by sweetkid at 10:33 AM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


In 1989, during my first year as an undegrad, I volunteered at the campus radio station doing the news. This was pre-world wide web, so the news came via a wire service, printed out on a dot-matrix printer. We could choose what stories to read, and I always rewrote them, because that was the station best practice.

I would go home and watch the tv news over dinner, and the local and national new announcers would read the same wire service releases word for fucking word.

There is a reason why they call those pinheads "newsreaders."
posted by KokuRyu at 9:48 PM on September 3, 2013


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