Here's the latest from Washington's propaganda follies. Sadly, Bush thinks it's all a joke. His Justice Department gives the thumbs up to more fake news reports, despite a congressional report that they are breaking federal laws that prohibit the covert spread of government propaganda. What’s more disturbing is a DC press gaggle that laughs along with a joke told at its expense.
It seems our president takes America's legal system about as seriously as he does our free press. Meanwhile, the best the media can do is to provide the laugh track to their own demise:
QUESTION: Mr. President, earlier this year you told us you had wanted your administration to cease and desist on payments to journalists to promote your agenda. You cited the need for ethical concerns and the need for a bright line between the press and the government. Your administration continues to make the use of video news releases, which are prepackaged news stories sent to television stations, fully aware that some or many of these stations will air them without any disclaimer that they are produced by the government.
The comptroller general of the United States this week said that raises ethical questions. Does it raise ethical questions about the use of government money to produce stories about the government that wind up being aired with no disclosure that they were produced by the government?
BUSH: There is a Justice Department opinion that says these pieces are within the law so long as they're based upon facts, not advocacy. . . . And I expect our agencies to adhere to that ruling, to that Justice Department opinion. This has been a longstanding practice of the federal government to use these types of videos. The Agricultural Department, as I understand it, has been using these videos for a long period of time. The Defense Department, other departments have been doing so. It's important that they be based upon the guidelines set out by the Justice Department. Now, I also -- I think it would be helpful if local stations then disclosed to their viewers that this was based upon a factual report and they chose to use it. . . But evidently in some cases that's not the case.
QUESTION: But the administration could guarantee that's happening by including that language in the pre-packaged report?
BUSH: You mean a disclosure, "I'm George W. Bush and I..."
QUESTION: Well, some way to make sure it couldn't air without the disclosure that you believe is so vital.
BUSH: You know, Ken, I mean, there's a procedure that we're going to follow and the local stations ought to -- since there's a deep concern about that -- ought to tell their viewers what they're watching.