Thursday, March 31, 2005


George W recently declared: "There needs to be a nice independent relationship between the White House and the press."

Lovely sentiment... except that even as he mouthed the words, he knew that his administration is stomping on press independence every chance it gets. The latest revelation is that various agencies under Bush are sending out hundreds of government-made "news videos" to local television stations. The videos use fake reporters, extol the virtue of Bush policies, and are aired with no mention that this "news" is Bushite propaganda.

George has been roundly and rightly blistered for this un-American scam – though he says he's going to keep doing it. But what about his co-conspirators? Hundreds of corporate-owned TV stations have willingly participated in his tax-paid media campaign.

Many of the pre-packaged videos arrive with government-written scripts for the local news anchors to use as introductions to the video segments – and, sure enough, the station managers have the anchors mindlessly read them. The managers even make the government's videos more deceptive by editing the tag lines used by the fake reporters. For example, WCIA in central Illinois routinely airs puff pieces produced by Bush's ag department. These video stories end with a sign-off by the department's fake reporter saying, "I'm Bob Ellison, reporting for the USDA." The station, however, got the agency to alter the sign-off so it now says: "With the USDA, I'm Bob Ellison, reporting for 'The Morning Show.'"

One of the fake reporters who's done several of these video segments for seven federal agencies bluntly calls herself a "paid shill for the Bush Administration." She used to be a real reporter – and, when asked if she would use one of these government reports if she were a local news director, said "Absolutely not."

To learn how you can help stop your local stations from using Bush's propaganda pieces, call Center for Media and Democracy: 608-260-9713

"White House won't halt government-made news videos," Austin American-Statesman, March 15, 2005.
"Hidden News and Government Spin," New York Times, March 16, 2005.
"Under Bush, a New Age of Prepackaged News," New York Times, March 13, 2005.
Center for Media and Democracy,

originally published March 30, 2005