Monday, March 15, 2004

A New Oxymoron?

I ran across a job description in a news story this morning I'd never seen before: "news media ethicists." One of these mythical beasts was interviewed for a story about the "pre-packaged" propaganda pieces that BushCo. have been delivering to news media on Medicare. The story, which most of you have heard about by now, is that the Department of Health and Human Services created these "information pieces" to be given to news outlets and they would be played as hard news about Medicare. What was discovered is that not only were the pieces scripted by HHS, but the supposed reporters heard on the videos are just actors and that even the lead-in to the stories were scripted by HHS.

Federal law prohibits the use of federal money for "publicity or propaganda purposes" not authorized by Congress. In the past, the General Accounting Office has found that federal agencies violated this restriction when they disseminated editorials and newspaper articles written by the government or its contractors without identifying the source.
That BushCo. would use such nefarious means to push their controversial Medicare reforms is not all that surprising, given the garbage they've pushed on every subject from Iraqi WMDs to Climate Change. Or maybe it's just that my outrage meter has been pegged for so long this kind of thing just doesn't register all that much anymore.

Whatever. I did find interesting, however, the name of the media company that created these and other Medicare material for Tommy Thompson's folks: Home Front Communications.

Interesting choice of names, no? I wonder who these folks might be connected to? I wonder, if I find out, will it register on my outrage meter?

Somehow I really doubt it.

Where can we find more of these "news media ethicists?" Can we send one to each of the major networks and news papers? Maybe then we could retire the terms "So Called Liberal Media (SCLM)" and "Media Whores (MW)."

Unless of course "news media ethicists" refer to beasts as mythical and magical as unicorns.

No comments: