Friday, April 15, 2005

FCC, Democrats Fight Bush's Approved Use of Propaganda


The Federal Communications Commission and Congress are now taking steps to stop news fraud.

Last night, the FCC instructed all newscasters to fully disclose the origin of "video news releases" (VNRs) aired on their programs. The FCC took this action as a direct response to the more than 40,000 Free Press activists who signed our petition last month.

This morning, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) announced that he will call a Senate hearing next week on VNRs. Also, Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and John Kerry (D-MA) announced their intention to introduce legislation to stop the government from putting out VNRs without clearly displaying their source.


The moves come less than a month after two administration officials said in memos that it was ok for federal agencies to feed TV stations prepackaged news stories that do not disclose the government's role in producing them (

The memos prompted President Bush to say at a March 16 news conference: "There is a Justice Department opinion that says these pieces are OK."

Although the Bush administration has suggested that the taxpayer-financed propaganda pieces are clearly labeled as government-produced, local news directors have contradicted this, saying that they wrongly believed the news stories were produced by legitimate free-lance journalists. More than 40 news stations have used the releases.


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