More evidence of the Bush administration’s attempts to manipulate the media at every opportunity has been revealed by the New York Times, which
uncovers examples of the US government’s pervasive use of pre-packaged,
ready-to-serve news reports distributed to TV stations across the
country.

According to the paper, at least 20 federal agencies
have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the
past four years; many of which were subsequently broadcast on local
stations without any acknowledgement of the government’s role in their
production. They’re designed to fit seamlessly into a typical local
news broadcast and promote the impression of a “vigilant and
compassionate administration”.

But the administration lays the
blame on the TV stations which accept the reports as cheap content
despite their dubious origins. “Talk to the television stations that
ran it without attribution,” said a spokesman for the Department of
Health and Human Services. “This is not our problem. We can’t be held
responsible for their actions.”

Meanwhile, Bush has nominated
one of his closest advisors to spearhead the US campaign to repair its
tarnished image around the world, particularly the Middle East. As the
new Under Secretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs,
Karen Hughes, will have the massive task of convincing a “sceptical and
frequently hostile world to learn to love its only superpower,” as The Observer reports here.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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