Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

FCC Not Happy About TV Product Payola

from the and-so-it-goes dept

Last month the Wall Street Journal "broke" the widely known story that the various TV personalities you see on shows talking about products are often paid to do so by the companies who make those products. While it happens with all sorts of products, technology products are clearly a big part of the practice. One month later, the FCC has woken up to this story and realized that (oh, look at that) such practices probably violate "payola" laws. The networks are claiming they had no knowledge that the presenters were being paid, but apparently the FCC doesn't care -- noting that they put the people on their show, and it should have been their job to ask. Of course, it's a bit ironic that the FCC is now taking action on this type of payola, while the whole reason for the laws, music payola, seems to still be going strong.

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  • identicon
    TJ, 25 May 2005 @ 10:54am

    No Subject Given

    I fail to see how this is that different than sponsorship where celebs constantly talk up a product. Okay, if the person claims to be doing independent reviews or a journalist presenting an advertisement as fact, then yes that's a problem. But a guest on a talk show mentions a product because they were paid to? Meh.

    Don't we already assume that people are being paid when they promote a product. Do celebs even go on talk shows if they aren't promoting something? Seems pretty rare to me. Seriously, after Diane Sawyer interviewed the sock puppet on that morning show during the 'net boom it was obvious that any mention of companies and products in the broadcast medium should be viewed as a likely paid shill. Unless it is truly presented as news, so what? The original radio payola problem seems more like something worth addressing, while radio still exists in its current form.

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