What did you just see in the Fox News segment above? Was it an ad? James Rainey of Los Angeles Times believes it is. And he reports that TV stations who have a legal obligation to reveal the relationship between a marketer and paid spokesperson, are failing to do so.
According to Rainey, toy expert Elizabeth Werner touts products on multi-city newsroom tours from companies that have forked over $11,000 in fees (per tour) for her publicity services.
Though parents might have welcomed the advice, and even bought some of the toys, they probably would have liked to know that Werner serves as a spokeswoman for hire, not an independent consumer advocate.
But viewers in several of the cities would have had no way of knowing that Werner’s pitches amounted to paid advertising, because their local news stations failed to meet their legal obligation to identify the segments as paid promotions.
Station operators must “exercise reasonable diligence” in trying to discern whether promotional payments have been made, FCC regulations say.