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John Oliver segment is a reminder of failings within journalism

Society of Professional Journalists

June 1, 2021

CONTACT:
Matthew T. Hall, SPJ National President, 619-987-7786, mhall@spj.org
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Director of Communications and Marketing, 317-361-4134, jroyer@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — After John Oliver skewered the recent actions of some local media outlets to pass off ads as actual news on “Last Week Tonight” on Sunday, the Society of Professional Journalists calls upon news organizations to end this practice of “pay to play,” which deceives their audiences.

Oliver showed that TV news stations accept money to air advertising disguised as news. Sometimes, a product is marketed with a dubious, unproven medical claim. Yet, some news operations help promote products, giving them an air of credibility, without doing the slightest bit of journalism — failing their viewers and shirking the pursuit of truth.

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