News cycle

Politics "Federal authorities are actively investigating dozens of American television stations for broadcasting items produced by the Bush administration and major corporations, and passing them off as normal news. Some of the fake news segments talked up success in the war in Iraq, or promoted the companies' products. [...] The range of VNR is wide. Among items provided by the Bush administration to news stations was one in which an Iraqi-American in Kansas City was seen saying "Thank you Bush. Thank you USA" in response to the 2003 fall of Baghdad. The footage was actually produced by the State Department, one of 20 federal agencies that have produced and distributed such items." -- Andrew Buncombe

I don't usually cover US politics here (or any kind of politics for that matter) but this is really, really horrifying. I suppose the comparison are those media outlets that use the video packs that film companies send out to publicise films in which they'll sometimes use the interviews and pretend the particular actor or director was talking directly to them. But this is political propeganda that cuts to the heart of the subject of journalistic independence. As far as we can tell these news outlets don't have to release this stuff, but that fact that they do and pass it off as real news is wierd. But then I look at the news in the UK when parliament is sitting and see how often the top story is some initiative that the government here is due to/has announced at such time that it'll perfectly hit the news cycle and I wonder. But then, I suppose, in those cases, balance is provided through the opinion of other parties ...

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