Channel 7 may NOT be on your side? The special report… here on Channel 7!
You’ve seen their ads on television.
(A quick clip of an attractive but not beautiful woman in a business suit. She radiates sincerity as she states, “It’s about the stories. That effect us all. That effect you.” A logo and legend appear on screen: “7 on your side.”)
The ads for Channel 7 promise a lot – to bring you the news in a way that makes sense, along with traffic, weather and sports. And all of these services are promised to be only performed with the best interests of the viewer in mind. That viewer being you.
And in the course of a 22-minute broadcast, Channel 7 seems to satisfy many of these claims, giving accurate if somewhat cursory looks at the day’s events along with a semi-reliable weather forecast and a presentation of the statistics for the local teams and their games. But it is in the other eight minutes of the broadcast where things take a different turn… a turn to greedy self-interest.
These eight minutes are sold – that’s right, sold – to local and national businesses who wish to reach an audience – a trusting audience that believes that 7 is on their side. These businesses which to take advantage of this trust by persuading them to buy a good or service that they don’t need. Lulled into a false sense of security by 7’s slogan, the viewers have no choice but to trust these “commercials.”
And there are several of these commercials within these eight minutes, some of them only 30 seconds long. That means nearly sixteen unnecessary goods or services could be foisted off on unsuspecting Channel 7 News viewers. Sixteen attempts that may cost you and your family money. And how much does Channel 7 gets for selling time – your time? Several thousands of dollars for each segment.
When we confronted Channel 7 News Director Charles Brendon about the existence of these commercials, he refused to speak on camera. However he did make vague threats about how these commercials pay “our salaries” and that if we didn’t like it we could “quit.”
Though we didn’t find anything out from Mr. Brendon, a quick scan of his office did reveal that 7 was far from its viewer sides in other ways. You see, the number of viewer a newscast can attract helps create the rates Channel 7 can charge for its commercial. The more viewers, the more money. To ensure that ratings stay high, Mr. Brendon actively develops Special Reports - like this one - designed to create fear and concern in viewers rather than help them in their daily lives.
Come back tomorrow, when we’ll continue our five-part investigation. Right now, we’re going to explore “Video Games: Are They Prejudiced to Aliens?” But first, some messages from our sponsors.