The Oklahoma Employer/Employee Partnership for Insurance Coverage is buying, not merely TV spots, but actual “news” inserts on the two Griffin Communications stations in the state.
Not that there’s anything right with that:
“This kind of question arises when news media organizations try to diversify, when they are looking at more ways to make money,” said Joey Senat, associate professor of media law at Oklahoma State University. “It does create the potential for unethical behavior,” he said.
The key is whether a company discloses the sponsor of the information and “the number of walls they put between the newsroom and the other arm of the company doing the marketing,” Senat said.
The record of state television stations in such matters is not exactly reassuring, though David Griffin insists: “We don’t sell the news. We never have and we never will.”
Now if Gary England directs us to furnish our storm shelters with living-room suites from Mathis Brothers, then we’ll worry.