Sunday, July 03, 2005

House Approves Provision Barring Fake Government News

The U.S. House of Representatives wants to stop fake government news.

The House approved a provision on June 30 that would bar the Bush Administration from paying journalists to tout administration policies or public relations firms to create video news releases (VNRs) and other propaganda disguised as objective news reports.

The new amendment, attached to an annual spending bill and sponsored by New York Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey, would bar agencies from hiring private contractors to promote policies as news.

Because the measure is attached to a spending bill, the provision would last only one year, starting Oct. 1, if it becomes law. The provision would have to be adopted in the Senate and President Bush would have to sign it before it could become law.

"A properly functioning democracy depends on a news media that is free of any conflicts-of-interest, especially with the government that it is supposed to be holding accountable," Hinchey said in a statement.


It's unclear whether the Senate would combine the House provision with its "Truth in Broadcasting Act," legislation brought forth in April by Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and John Kerry (D-MA) that would permanently require VNRs to include a disclaimer running throughout the piece stating its source.

The Federal Communications Commission took nine comments on VNRs on June 22, and take replies from the public by July 22.

Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), co-chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, has indicated that the response to the FCC will help him decide what action to take on the Lautenberg-Kerry act. Stevens also has said he would work to make the Byrd amendment permanent.


Blogger Kitty said...

My greatest concern about this is that too many people are too damn stupid to recognize the significance of real news, but will believe the trivial crap news stories paid for by the White House. Its pathetic what this administration has done to journalism. I'm anxious to read more of your posts, as your journalistic perspective carries more weight than the rest of us do.

10:54 AM  

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