Neues von Bushs Propaganda- und PR-Maschinerie
--- Nachdem Blogger.com seine Blockade am gestrigen Nachmittag überwunden hat, kann man hier sogar mal wieder bloggen! Noch im Nachtrag zum Eintrag von gestern morgen: Die New York Times hat als erste die Nachrichten über die Propaganda-Maschinerie des Weißen Hauses enthüllt. Demnach spielt Bush ab und an gern den Chefredakteur und lässt auf Kosten der Steuerzahler hübsche PR-Filmchen von speziellen Öffentlichkeitsbearbeitungsstellen seiner Ministerien über seine Regierung selbst produzieren. Diese streuen sie dann an die großen TV-Sender für die Abendnachrichten: It is the kind of TV news coverage every president covets. "Thank you, Bush. Thank you, U.S.A.," a jubilant Iraqi-American told a camera crew in Kansas City for a segment about reaction to the fall of Baghdad. A second report told of "another success" in the Bush administration's "drive to strengthen aviation security"; the reporter called it "one of the most remarkable campaigns in aviation history." A third segment, broadcast in January, described the administration's determination to open markets for American farmers. To a viewer, each report looked like any other 90-second segment on the local news. In fact, the federal government produced all three. The report from Kansas City was made by the State Department. The "reporter" covering airport safety was actually a public relations professional working under a false name for the Transportation Security Administration. The farming segment was done by the Agriculture Department's office of communications. 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. 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. ... in three separate opinions in the past year, the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress that studies the federal government and its expenditures, has held that government-made news segments may constitute improper "covert propaganda" even if their origin is made clear to the television stations. The point, the office said, is whether viewers know the origin. Last month, in its most recent finding, the G.A.O. said federal agencies may not produce prepackaged news reports "that conceal or do not clearly identify for the television viewing audience that the agency was the source of those materials.". Die Vermischung von PR und Redaktion in den US-Sendern, die solche Regierungspropaganda ja erst mit ermöglichen, steht damit in der Kritik. Mehr zum Thema im Handelsblatt oder bei Spiegel Online: Insgesamt 20 Bundesbehörden sollen diesen Trick zur Meinungsbildung genutzt haben; darunter auch das Verteidigungsministerium. Allein in den vergangenen vier Jahren sollen sie Hunderte solcher Nachrichten-Beiträge hergestellt haben. Sie sollen vor allem von lokalen Stationen ausgestrahlt worden ein.