Propaganda & Mass Persuasion

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

"Under Bush, a New Age of Prepackaged TV News"
New York Times, March 13, 2005
By David Barstow and Robin Stein

Barstow and Steins main argument in the article is that under the Bush administration, news reports are changing and are no longer being made by independent reporters and their investigating. Instead news reports are being controlled and produced by the government to tell the people ONLY what the government wants them to know. These reports often feature interviews with senior administration officials in which questions are scripted and answers rehearsed.Once they are produced they are incorporated into every aspect of media and when finally presented to the people, they are viewed as independent reports.

"Government-produced news reports - traditional lines between public relations and journalism have become tangled. Local anchors introduce prepackaged segments with “suggested” lead-ins written by public relations experts"

When President Bush was confronted about such practice, he took initiative to call for a clearer demarcation between journalism and government publicity efforts. Bush said that "there needs to be a nice independent relationship between the White House and the press." and continued by stating that his administration would no longer pay to support such policies. 

"What is more, these officials argued, it is the responsibility of television news directors to inform viewers that a segment about the government was in fact written by the government. 'Talk to the television stations that ran it without attribution,' said William A. Pierce, spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services. 'This is not our problem. We can't be held responsible for their actions'"

Example of government-produced news:
"Each year, the unit films thousands of soldiers sending holiday greetings to their hometowns. Increasingly, the unit also produces news reports that reach large audiences. The 50 stories it filed last year were broadcast 236 times in all, reaching 41 million households in the United States"

"In interviews, though, press officers for several federal agencies said the president's prohibition did not apply to government-made television news segments, also known as video news releases. They described the segments as factual, politically neutral and useful to viewers. They insisted that there was no similarity to the case of Armstrong Williams, a conservative columnist who promoted the administration's chief education initiative, the No Child Left Behind Act, without disclosing $240,000 in payments from the Education Department."

All the ingredients necessary to make a "good" lunch
Pre-packaged news based on the same principle.


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