Friday, March 18, 2005

administration's fake news so isn't awesome

I'm getting pretty numb at this point, but i'll try anyway... America rules. Ra, ra, ra. Go team... all that jazz. Now with that said, some of the crap that the white house is pulling right now is really pissing me off. Keep this definition in mind...

propaganda: n. The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.

The Daily Show and The Onion are not the only sources of fake news in this country. The standing practice that so causes my skin to crawl was, once again, expounded in the New York Times recently...

At his news conference yesterday, the president bristled a bit when a reporter reminded him that after it was revealed that his administration was paying columnists to shill for agency programs, Mr. Bush had ordered that such tactics cease. But, as the reporter noted, the administration is still using government money to produce stories about the government that are broadcast with no disclosure that the government is producing them. David Barstow and Robin Stein wrote in The Times on Sunday that at least 20 agencies had made and distributed fake news segments to local TV stations; the administration spent $254 million in its first four years to buy self-aggrandizing puffery from P.R. firms. The president joked that he could tack on an "I'm George W. Bush and I approved this disclaimer." But then he said he wouldn't - that it was up to local stations to reveal the truth. He said his Justice Department had found that the fake news programs are "within the law so long as they're based upon facts, not advocacy."

Consider this fact published in the New York Times on February 19th of this year...

The comptroller general has issued a blanket warning that reminds federal agencies they may not produce newscasts promoting administration policies without clearly stating that the government itself is the source. Twice in the last two years, agencies of the federal government have been caught distributing prepackaged television programs that used paid spokesmen acting as newscasters and, in violation of federal law, failed to disclose the administration's role in developing and financing them. And those were not isolated incidents, David M. Walker, the comptroller general, said in a letter dated Thursday that put all agency heads on notice about the practice. In fact, it has become increasingly common for federal agencies to adopt the public relations tactic of producing "video news releases" that look indistinguishable from authentic newscasts and, as ready-made and cost-free reports, are sometimes picked up by local news programs. It is illegal for the government to produce or distribute such publicity material domestically without disclosing its own role.

November's national voting majority either doesn't believe it, condones it, or doesn't know about it. I shudder to contemplate the numbers that fall into the latter category.


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