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.
Last month, the Government Accountability Office warned that prepackaging news “for purposes of publicity or propaganda” has been banned since 1951, unless the reports are clearly labeled.
Often the videos are shown as is. But sometimes the reporters even re-record the government’s scripts to make them sound more local.