The Media

The Fake President’s Fake News

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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?

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

4 Comments

  • It’s funny that you should mention this… When I was in high school (a time that seems like ages ago), I worked as a production and newsroom assistant at a television station in Great Falls. It was a small operation: a news director/anchor, sports anchor, weather anchor and 2 or 3 reporters. We received prepackaged news all the time from corporate giants and industry that gave what usually amounted to a commercial for a new product. Our station usually didn’t run them, however, as staff cuts were made and local news became expensive to cover, we often relied on this information to fill the 20 or so minutes, especially on weekends. I wonder how much of this prepackaged crap ends up on the air if for no other reason than desperation.

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