EPA paid Weather Channel to design stories

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According to today's Washington Post, records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the EPA paid the Weather Channel $40,000 to produce and air several segments about climate change.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...5071700892.html

In 2003, the EPA paid the Weather Channel $90,000 to produce and air a story on government watershed management, which by the letter of the agreement was to place EPA's work in the most positive and professional context.

What do you all think?

Tim
 
We all know this kind of thing happens on a daily basis; it's nice to finally have some proof.
 
A video spot of a few minutes aired repeatedly isn't news. If it's scientifically and politically objective then it's a "public service announcement" of the kind that's always been wecome in the media. I can't get too worked up about it, so long as the source is disclosed, which I guess they'll try to do a little more clearly.
 
Well, didn't see any of these videos, so can't comment professionally, but the reviewers suggested the content was reasonably fair and balanced. If that was indeed the case, then it seems no real harm was done. It does seem that the source of the funding though should have been noted within the productions - as these are PSAs and not news stories, as they apparently were cloaked to appear as. Interestingly, with any other funding source, proper credits would have been mandatory, a standard procedure the production group would have been used to including. The EPA must have actually requested that they not include their financial contribution, which is what seems most alarming to me.

Glen
 
The article said that they did run text at the end that said the clip was a joint production with the EPA so I don't really have a problem with it.
 
This kind of reminds me of the time TWC used big rental fans during an east coast hurricane (I do not recall which one) to make it look more windy. A friend of mine working for an insurance adjustor saw them next to a hotel. I told him he should have taken a picture!

Mike
 
I think you guys are missing the point. It is never acceptable for a supposedly independent media organization to accept a contract which stipulates right there in black and white that a particular government agency must be placed in a positive light. This to me is too much like the fake journalism that the Bush administration recently bought and paid for to promote the No Child Left Behind act. True, in this case the source of the funding was cited, but I still get an uneasy feeling when I think about this. When a government pays someone in the media to make it look good, it's propaganda by definition. I admit that this particular instance is pretty harmless, but the overall pattern bothers me.
 
This is just another instance in what has been an ongoing trend in the 'news' industry since 2001. Around the time of building up for the Iraq war, 'documentaries' began airing on cable standards like Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel and the History Channel that were slanted in a provocative way. I have an issue of Vanity Fair (May 2002) with a top cover banner reading "Inside Saddam's Deadly Arsenal" that offers an "authoritative report" on the wmd situation.

In short, the reliability of commercial media information in the US is at an all-time low. As a retiring Russian diplomat put it recently, "The difference between Soviet propaganda and American propaganda is that the Russian people knew it was propaganda."

Don't mean to cause a threadjack here...

Dave Gallaher
Huntsville, AL
 
Originally posted by Dave Gallaher
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In short, the reliability of commercial media information in the US is at an all-time low. As a retiring Russian diplomat put it recently, \"The difference between Soviet propaganda and American propaganda is that the Russian people knew it was propaganda.\"

I dont mean to jack this thread either but I think the difference between the Soviet propaganda and American propaganda is that the Soviet govt would create and dissiminate this propaganda. While the American govt may spread some money around to put out certain programming. The example of vanity fair you use is not govt propaganda that is a magazine trying to sell magazines with a catchy sell line.

Now in reference to TWC video funded by EPA, I don't mind that so long as the credits reflect the EPA's involvement. That then allows objective thinking people to think objectively(if that makes sense).
 
Mike Johnson wrote:
This kind of reminds me of the time TWC used big rental fans during an east coast hurricane (I do not recall which one) to make it look more windy. A friend of mine working for an insurance adjustor saw them next to a hotel. I told him he should have taken a picture!

Mike

Thats crazy, their already in a hurricane, isn't that windy enough for them??? Must have positioned themselves in a "bad" spot etc...:lol: :lol:
 
First off....to Dave Gallaher: Dave...I've got a lifelong friend named "Dave Gallaher"...same spelling on the last name too..isn't that weird?
Secondly....you're not submitting that Vanity Fair, et al, we're slanted towards being favorable to the Bush administration are you??
I've got to second Shane's comment. This stuff has been going on for a good 50 plus years. That's why I pretty much never look at the news...or the newspaper...or any of the talking heads anymore. My blood boils so bad when I do, and it affects everybody around me.
The Weather Channel showed it's true colors when they implemented that big fan to dupe the unwary viewers. How damn sad is that...I mean really?? So the EPA greased them to slant a position. Next time one of you guys sees Cantore...why not ask him? See what he says. And if you run into Vivian Brown....tell her Joel said hi and thanks for the memories.
 
Does anybody remember which hurricane or what year approximately this "TWC fan thing" occured?? It's hard to believe, and if it really did happen, somehow I don't know about it. If someone can safely say when this happened, I will bring it up. I know for a fact that every time Jim Cantore is talking from the field, Dr. Lyons is watching the TV, scrutinizing every wave cap, every palm tree, every dust cloud that flies by, to see what the winds are. Sometimes, when reporters out in the field try to hype the winds (not just TWC, but all the major news networks), he would not be happy. I'm pretty sure in recent years, he has laid down an iron fist on exaggerating winds at TWC. Something he says is, "unless the person's face is distorted and the microphone is hard to hold, there are no hurricane force winds around 74 mph." As far as I know, if this fan thing occured after 1998, when Lyons started to work at TWC, and he knew about it, heads would have been rolling. Hyping winds is one of his pet peeves. So...any idea when this may have occured?
 
Owen, I really know no more than this: I was told of the Wx. Channel "Big Fan" event within the past year / year and a half. No longer than that I'd say. And, as I understood it....and if my memory serves me well on this.....it took place up around North Carolina / South Carolina...etc. etc. I don't believe there was a Florida or Gulf connection to this story. I myself don't really follow hurricanes all that much, but I remember that the alleged episode happened on one of those hurricanes within the last two years that was supposed to be this big deadly 'cane....and all kinds of locals were climbing up each other's backs to get out of town on the freeways and all....but when it made landfall it was a basically a dud. This is what supposedly led to the initiating of the big fan...and I was told that the "on camera" guy was playing it up hard...making like he could hardly stand up against the winds. And supposedly the meteorologist in the camera shot...and I was told it was Mr. Cantore....after the scene was shot and the cameras off...held his index finger straight up against his lips and did a little kidding with the few onlookers standning around...and said in an attempt at humor...."shssssshhhh...don't tell anybody!".
Once again....I take no responsibility for any part of that story. I am merely passing it along as I heard it...as verbatum as I can.
But as you mentioned, the most recent person at the helm there now put the lid on utilizing "exaggerated winds" in their wx. spots....so there must have been some of that going on in the past for him to implement his policy against it.
 
Threadjack Department:

I'd recommend reading Nathaniel Blumberg (Rhodes Scholar, WWII D-Day combat veteran/author as well as retired Dean of the University of Montana School of Journalism) to be reminded of the carefully crafted stories that are deposited in magazines, tv and radio by various government operatives to slant public ideology. In one of his articles, he reports a time in the 80s (I think) when a CIA official boasted of having writers on every major publication. This is how American propoganda is done; it's easy to spot when a writer no one's ever heard of suddenly appears with a feature in a major mag that is highly polarized in nature. It's not so obvious when established contributors are involved. Mr. Blumberg has been watching and documenting the changes in journalistic practice since the attempted Reagan assassination.

Yes, Joel, I do submit that such publications as Vanity Fair and New Yorker along with others of that fold have been utilized. To be exact, how many people are going to buy Vanity Fair for political input? Practically none--but the article is there to 'inform' the regular reader who may be ignoring news stories.

As for TWC, my few attempts to watch Hurricane Dennis coverage terminated after what seemed to be a large increase in number of ads and commercials running during the time of landfall.

Dave Gallaher #2
Huntsville, AL
 
Thanks for the info Joel. Well, the person "at the helm" right now, Dr. Lyons, is indeed trying to hold back the hyping. That is why he went through the ordeal of standing in a wind tunnel up to winds of 165 mph and was determined to see what it feels like, even though it involved him breaking his own rib while trying to stand up straight at winds only around cat. 4 strength. He did this so he can safely tell when there is hyping going on in the media. However, in what I had said earlier, I did not mean to say that since he is laying down an iron fist on hyping, that it implies that there used to be a lot of "trickery" going on in the back with the winds. Somehow, I don't think many people at TWC knows about this "big fan" story. So this was certainly not an action taken by the "higher ups" in the organization. I dunno, I just would hope that this did not really happen. And if I do ever bring it up, I won't use anyone's names on this board so no one will take responsibility for the story.
 
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