I just finished writing up a mini-essay for my Media & Culture class this evening, analyzing some cases of major news networks violating FCC rules for required disclosures when airing VNRs (Video News Reports). The gist is that a company will sometimes sponsor a segment of news and the broadcaster might get some manner of compensation for promoting it. An investment firm may do a special segment on retirement planning, for example. The network should, when airing this “news” (I use the term loosely), clearly indicate that the segment is sponsored by that investment firm.
It doesn’t always happen that way. Today I had to write about a few of the ongoing cases of major media groups like Fox and Comcast continually thumbing their noses at the FCC’s piddly penalties. I posited that the FCC needs to ramp up both enforcement and penalties. And, because we were asked to do so, I included a little personal insight:
As a blogger and a Nintendo Brand Enthusiast, I am held by my employer to the FCC standards – no matter how small my audience. I do not get paid for my work, but I do get complimentary goods, services, and travel for various events. Brand Ambassadors must disclose affiliations on every blog post (we also usually put it in the blog footer on the main page too, just for good measure) and every social media post. Anything I tweet having to do with a sample product must have the hashtag #samp attached.
If I am held to that standard just because I got a free Wii Fit and a fun trip to Seattle, why on earth can major broadcast companies not get their acts together and just abide by the rules? I don’t want to lose my freebies from Nintendo, so I toe the line. Maybe the FCC just needs to hit the violators where it hurts a little more. Take away their toys.
So with that in mind, I bring you my wedding cake toppers. FULL DISCLOSURE: Nintendo and Brand About Town had nothing to do with these. I picked them out and paid real money for them myself.
Goodness, that was easy.