Did you see news headlines last week that Comcast Cable was airing medical marijuana ads? They were wrong, says Brian Stelter of CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” A company called marijuanadoctors.com duped reporters with what Stelter calls “a very confident, very serious-sounding press release” saying that they had begun to air the first-ever marijuana commercial on a major network. The press release went on to say that Comcast had agreed to air these ads locally in New Jersey on A&E, Fox, ESPN, History, and even CNN.
Stelter said many news organizations, including the NBC Nightly News, treated the press release as if it were fact, without doing any more digging, without realizing, for example, that ads for medicinal pot have been running in some local markets like out in California for years. Stelter wrote about it in the New York Times in 2009. Comcast told CNN: “All commercials are subject to final review by Comcast Spotlight prior to airing, and during that process, it was determined that this spot did not meet our guidelines.”