VNRs/US Govt. Propaganda

When is news not news? When it’s propaganda produced by the government: … overt.html … emid=18720 … /14/152202

Would you buy a used car from this man?

happy reading,

P.S. As a fig leaf to you Republicans, I admit that Clinton did it too. But I was never a fan of his either. So where are you (conservative) people who are opposed to “big government”?

:bravo: Nice post, DB. I think this is an important issue for people to be aware of/discuss, and appreciate you putting together some links on the subject. I also tip my hat to your admirable show of non-partisan candor in stating right off the bat that this is not something that George Bush or the Republicans invented, but rather is something that has been going on for 20 years.

I’ve only started hearing/reading about VNRs recently, and I certainly do not presume to speak for other conservatives. But to answer your question based on what I know at this point:

Q: “So where are you (conservative) people who are opposed to ‘big government’?”

A: I think this practice is a problem. I think it is poor journalism. And I think that the local news outlets that use VNRs should label them as such.

So, what precisely is the issue? While the Clinton administration may have used these video news releases, the only information we have is that his budget for them was not so much as the Bushies spent. With regards to the core issue of the deception, we might need more information about:

  1. Was there was a change in how these reports were attributed? Did the reports from, say, 10 years ago provide upfront that the piece had been filmed by the U.S. government?

  2. Was the “news” presented accurately and even-handedly?

  3. Were the matters being presented as “news” involve issues of reasonable debate? For example, most citizens would probably see a difference between footage of National Park rangers cleaning up litter versus footage in which some unnamed “medical expert” tells you that the Bush plan for medical coverage is the best thing since sliced bread.

The lack of attribution is a key problem, and station managers like the guy at WCIA in Champaign (as mentioned in the NY Times article) are being disingenuous when they say that the “public can make up their own mind” about who produced the reports when it is precisely that information he helps to confuse/withhold. For those who have not read the article in its entirety, WCIA had USDA “reporters” signing off with lines like “with the USDA, I’m Joe Friday, reporting for the ‘Morning Show’”.

Far from there being some sort of “liberal” media bias, what we have is a “lazy” media, one that actually has bent over backwards (or, given the laziness, perhaps “reclined” is a better word fit) to allow the Bush administration plenty of time to present sugar-coated stories.

In the interest of non-partisanship, I’d like to introduce the movie “Wag the Dog”:

If you haven’t seen it, try to rent the video. It’s hysterical. It’s a parody on Clinton’s “bimbo eruptions” and how he tries to manipulate the news to cover it up.