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