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NFFE Member Communications Advisory: Paid (Fake) Media on Official Time

Friday, May 12, 2017

(National Federation of Federal Employees)


Some NFFE members are receiving calls from local and national media reporters requesting information and perspectives from union members regarding federal official time. Many of these inquiries are devised by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, a known conservative media outlet for anti-labor forces that seek to spread misrepresentations on the use, benefits and cost of official time.   

Because this is paid media (as opposed to unbiased and independent journalistic reporting), the writers and reporters will fashion an article per the funder’s specifications. In this case, anti-labor forces are paying for fake media stories that publish misrepresented and misleading information in an attempt to generate support for bills in Congress which eliminate or limit federal official time. The cautionary tale of dealing with paid media is that your words may be used against you, even if you say all the right things.  

Most reporters will acknowledge or admit when asked if they are from Sinclair Media, but some will use a local media outlet to make it appear as if they are simply from the local press looking to do a story on local issues. They may also use official sounding media organizations to hide paid media outlets, such as CNSnews.com, the Washington Examiner, or the Investor Business Daily. Unfortunately, paid (fake) media is easy to publish, although it is sometimes hard to spot.     

If you are contacted by the media regarding official time and are unsure if you should speak with them, contact NFFE Executive Director Steve Lenkart (202) 216-4458 or email slenkart@nffe.org

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