I guess the standards for what constitutes a newscast are slipping these days:
The Federal Communications Commission has ruled as such in the cases of Fox’s “TMZ” and the Christian Broadcast Network’s “The 700 Club,” declaring Friday that each show meets the test for “a bona fide newscast” and therefore would not trigger political equal-time requirements.
Those requirements hold that “if a licensee allows a legally qualified candidate for public office to use a broadcast station, it must afford equal opportunities to other such candidates for that office,” according to FCC regs.
Congress defined “bona fide newscast” as one that holds “genuine news value” and is not intended to boost or aid any particular political candidate.
I’ve seen episodes of both shows and it seems pretty clear to me that the last thing they might be are “bone fide” newscasts. In TMZ‘s defense I suppose it’s only fair to grant the the status seeing as Entertainment Tonight also qualifies and I don’t really see that as much of a newscast either, but to say that the 700 Club doesn’t boost or aid any particular political candidate is laughable.
I do find it interesting that I’m nearly as appalled with TMZ as I am with the 700 Club in terms of the content. It’s hard to say which one was more vapid and potentially harmful to brain cells. I don’t recommend large doses of either over long periods of time.