15 March 2004

Those to me are just the next thing to fraud, it's running a paid advertisement in the heart of a news program

Another reason to refrain from watching television journalism.

Local news programs carrying government sponsored video news releases that are tailored to appear as independent news segments without identification of the source.

The materials were produced by the Department of Health and Human Services, which called them video news releases, but the source is not identified. Two videos end with the voice of a woman who says, "In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan reporting."

What does the law say about such matters?

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.

How is this not publicity or propaganda?


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