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Is FOX Trading News For Favors With Wal-Mart? Panel Gives FNC A Pass

Reported by Ellen - March 7, 2005

On Saturday night's (3/5/05) FOX News Watch, during the "Quick Takes" section, headline #3 was about the Wal-Mart TV network, the television network that is shown only within its stores. Host Eric Burns said, "FOX News channel is on that occasionally... They take some news stories from us, we do some promotions from them."

Burns continued, "This is what TIVO and remotes have led to. Advertisers have gotten more and more creative."

Comment: So has the news, apparently! You might think that a panel of media critics would immediately inquire what kind of promos FOX News provides Wal-Mart in return for its favors, but you'd be wrong. Is it advertising (in which case I'd think the host would have called it such, not "promos") or free publicity which is more in line with the general meaning of "promo?" I immediately thought of a 13-minute, commercial-free interview with Wal-Mart's CEO on Your World With Neil Cavuto last January, which was reported by Melanie.

Since nobody on the panel came up with any questions about this arrangement, we'll do it for them. Is news a trading commodity at FOX News? How much does it go for? Are there other companies, people, entities that have "deals" with FOX for news coverage? In this day of paid-to-shill columnists such as Armstrong Williams and fake White House journalists like Jeff Gannon/James Guckert, it's a real question. And what standards did Wal-Mart apply in deciding which news to carry? The network that gave it the best terms or the one with the best coverage? Finally, did the FOX News Watch panelists really not think of these issues or did tbey prefer not to ask too many questions about their employer? You don't have to be a media expert to wonder.

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