Not satisifed with the fawning coverage offered by much of the mainstream media and the illusion of popular support created by free speech zones and right wing radio, the Bush Administration has decided on a more direct approach to managing the news: creating their own. And, no, I don’t mean Faux.
The UK Independent reports that:
Federal authorities are actively investigating dozens of American television stations for broadcasting items produced by the Bush administration and major corporations, and passing them off as normal news. Some of the fake news segments talked up success in the war in Iraq, or promoted the companies’ products.
While many of the fake news reports are from corporations trying to sell you something (the one for Trend Micro is pretty impressive), at least 20 federal agencies have produced one or more of these Video News Releases (VNRS), which are often run without attribution. This is sounding more and more like Faux, I know, but at least viewers there know they are receiving direct propaganda from the government. It is something else entirely for home viewer watching her local news to be tricked by reports that are nothing more than government spin. What kind of spin? Things like this:
one in which an Iraqi-American in Kansas City was seen saying "Thank you Bush. Thank you USA" in response to the 2003 fall of Baghdad. The footage was actually produced by the State Department
Craig Aaron, a spokesperson for Free Press perhaps summarizes what’s at stake best:
"Essentially it’s corporate advertising or propaganda masquerading as news," he said. "The public obviously expects their news reports are going to be based on real reporting and real information. If they are watching an advertisement for a company or a government policy, they need to be told."
What’s next from these people?