The Senate passed a measure Thursday that would stop government agencies from using taxpayer funds to disguise video press releases as real news, putting the brakes on a product Democrats call propaganda. President Bush cautioned that some responsibility for full disclosure rests with news outlets.Nice, Mr. Bush. Blame the messenger instead of acknowleding that your administration was caught creating and trying to pass off GOVERNMENT PROPAGANDA to the public via the mainstream media. I have to give you some credit tho', blaming the very people that helped your administration pass off said propaganda as "news" is a rather novel approach. (It's their fault! They should have stopped us from doing unethical things!)
"It's deceptive to the American people if it's not disclosed," Bush told the American Society of Newspaper Editors on Thursday. "But it's incumbent upon people who use them to say, 'This news clip was produced by the federal government.'"
Senators voted 98-0 to attach the measure, sponsored by Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., to the $80.6 billion emergency spending bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It would be nice if the Senate didn't have to declare tax-supported government propaganda as wrong in the first place, but perhaps this will at least shine a little spotlight on the issue or related issues such as this one-- that the Bush Administration spent $88 million tax dollars on private PR firms in 2004.
However, I'm not holding my breath. Especially considering that it's not exactly front page news that that the White House is obstructing the Armstrong Williams payola investigation. (Sorry, it's none of your business how that happened. Move along, please.)
Then again, this is really all the media's fault. After all, we can't expect to hold the Bush Administration accountable for trying to manipulate the public, can we? They can't help themselves, it's far too much like breathing.