FTC Petition Press Release 8/14/01 


Press Release

Federal Trade Commission Understands RMMW "Concern that Citizens Be Well-Informed on Issues of Civic Importance"

But FTC Rejects RMMW’s Demand to Stop Local TV Stations’ From Falsely Advertising "News" Shows As News

RMMW Appeal: The Stations—Licensed to Operate "In the Public Interest"—Must Either Broadcast Professional Journalism or Stop Deceiving News Consumers


Contact: Shannon Service

The FTC's Letter of Response to the Petition, 7/18/01

RMMW's Response to the FTC's 7/18/01 Letter

Petition to FTC 5/8/01

Press Release 5/8/01
Denver, RMMW (Aug. 14): As news media outlets jump from OJ to Monica to Elian to Chandra on beyond, more and more citizens—and journalists—watch TV "news" and wonder: Is it news or is it entertainment?

That question was at the heart of Rocky Mountain Media Watch’s formal petition to the Federal Trade Commission, requesting Denver’s local TV stations be restricted from advertising nightly "news" shows as news.

In a thoughtful response to the 17-page RMMW petition, the FTC stated that it understands RMMW’s concern that "citizens be well-informed on issues of civic importance," but ruled that RMMW’s remedy was "not appropriate."

In an appeal responding to the FTC’s specific concerns, RMMW documents that citizens expect to find professional journalism on local "news" broadcasts. (The FTC claimed that citizens might not expect "issue-oriented" news to appear on the local broadcasts.) The appeal also states: "It is unrealistic to expect consumers to abdicate the convenience, comfort, and tradition of televised nightly news for additional sources of information, especially when the stations receive licenses from the Federal Communications Commission to operate ‘in the public interest.’" (The FTC suggested that citizens unhappy with TV news find other sources of news.)

The full text RMMW’s Petition to the Federal Trade Commission—along with the FTC response and RMMW appeal—can be found on the RMMW web site, www.bigmedia.org.

Rocky Mountain Media Watch, has received national acclaim for its campaign to hold local television news stations to the basic standards of professional journalism.