The Associated Press had an interesting story yesterday:
Paying Iraqi Newspapers Troubles Bush
President Bush is disturbed by the U.S. military's practice of paying Iraqi papers to run articles emphasizing positive developments in the country and will end the program if it violates the principles of a free media, a senior aide said Sunday.
"He's very troubled by it" and has asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to look into the pay-to-print program, national security adviser Stephen Hadley said.
Complete story here.
Wait a minute. Is this the same President who was pretty keen on the idea of feeding US media outlets fake news stories by fake reporters promoting the White House's policy initiatives, all funded by the executive branch of the government?
Per the Washington Post:
Fake News Gets White House OK
By Dan Froomkin, Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Then Andrea Mitchell reported that "for millions of viewers, the government has found the best way to spin the news is to produce the stories itself. . . .
"On issues from Medicare to farm prices, hundreds of local stations are running stories extolling Bush administration policies, reaching tens of millions of people."
"But all these reports were written and distributed by the administration and its public relations firms -- not by journalists."
Here's McClellan addressing the issue in his briefing yesterday: "As long as this is factual information about department or agency programs, it is perfectly appropriate," he said. In fact, he added, "I think agencies and departments have an obligation to provide the American people with factual information about their programs."
Here's how Ken Herman reported it for Cox News Service: "The White House, intent on continuing to crank out 'video news releases' that look like television news stories, has told government agency heads to ignore a Government Accountability Office memo criticizing the practice as illegal propaganda."
So once again, our administration preaches "do what we say, not what we do" to the world. Advocating torture, but decrying other countries who do it. Advocating freedom, but then passing the most intrusive anti-liberty measures (US Patriot Act) we've seen in quite some time. Advocating free trade, but then setting up tariffs to protect US industries. Advocating a free media, but then subverting the credibility of that media by both feeding it propaganda -and- possibly plotting to destroy foreign media outlets. Advocating fiscal responsibility, but then running up the largest deficit in the nation's history. Advocating unity, tolerance, and equality, but then trying to divide the country by segregating against those who seek same-sex marriages. The list goes on and on...when will these hypocrites be held accountable?