Fat Steve's Blatherings

Sunday, March 13, 2005

What Liberal Media?

      The New York Times runs a story in today's edition (hat tip: Hugh Hewitt).

Under Bush, a New Age of Prepackaged Television News

      [Note that all italic and boldface will be mine.]

      Paragraph one:
It is the kind of TV news coverage every president covets.

      Paragraph four:
Under the Bush administration, the federal government has aggressively used a well-established tool of public relations: the prepackaged, ready-to-serve news report that major corporations have long distributed to TV stations to pitch everything from headache remedies to auto insurance. In all, at least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense Department and the Census Bureau, have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the past four years, records and interviews show. Many were subsequently broadcast on local stations across the country without any acknowledgement of the government's role in their production.

      Gee, suddenly it doesn't seem so new after all.  What happened?

      Paragraph five:
This winter, Washington has been roiled by revelations that a handful of columnists wrote in support of administration policies without disclosing they had accepted payments from the government. But the administration's efforts to generate positive news coverage have been considerably more pervasive than previously known. At the same time, records and interviews suggest widespread complicity or negligence by television stations, given industry ethics standards that discourage the broadcast of prepackaged news segments from any outside group without revealing the source.

      Hey, wait a minute!  You just said that this is a well established practice among major corporations.  If it's well established, how is it that broadcasters simultaneously show this stuff and have ethics standards that say they shouldn't show this stuff?  What's the story here: the Administration, or the media's hypocrisy?

      Paragraph 12 (of the story, paragraph 2 on page 2):
The practice, which also occurred in the Clinton administration, is continuing despite President Bush's recent call for a clearer demarcation between journalism and government publicity efforts. "There needs to be a nice independent relationship between the White House and the press," Mr. Bush told reporters in January, explaining why his administration would no longer pay pundits to support his policies.

      Well well.  Suddenly it's something that was going for who knows how long in Washington, as well as a long time in the private sector.

      But rest assured, there is no liberal media, and the preference of most reporters for Democrats has no influence on the way the news is reported.  The Times didn't give this a pass for years when the Clinton administration was doing it because they liked Bill, and they aren't piling on Bush because they hate him.  Perish the thought.

  "And I am Marie of Romania."



Post a Comment

<< Home