March 15, 2005

Propaganda, Public Relations, Damned Lies and Statistics

Oh, Scott. Scott, Scott, Scott. You're certainly preparing to fall on that sword, aren't you?

White House press secretary Scott McClellan commented on the recent controversy over the current Administration's practice of distributing packaged, produced video and audio segments 'explaining' Administration policy initiatives to broadcasters:

White House press secretary Scott McClellan suggested the lack of disclosure was the fault of the broadcasters, not the government.

"Many federal agencies have used this for quite some time as an informational tool to provide factual information to the American people," he said. "And my understanding is that when these informational releases are sent out that it's very clear to the TV stations where they are coming from."

Well. Isn't that interesting. Let's have a look. First of all, it's 'his understanding.' In other words, it may or may not be true, and it may or may not be policy. All we're going to risk here is the statement that Press Secretary actually 'understands' what all these other agencies are doing. In other words, for an administration that doesn't seem to have any trouble having, oh, nominees for SecState lie under oath, we're not backing this statement up with much at all.

Next: it's his 'understanding' that when these releases are sent out, it's very clear to the TV stations where they're coming from. That's nice. That's very nice, Scott. The problem here is that it's not the TV stations it needs to be made clear to. It's the viewers. It's the consumers of the information. You have just acknowledged that the pieces are being produced for the consumption of the American public, and to inform the American public - so why, then, isn't the origin of those pieces being made clear to the American public? Why is making that clear suddenly the job of the middleman TV station? Why is there no identification inside the piece as to the source? Hm. Puzzling, that. Begs the question of which stations choose to identify these segments and which don't, and why...but that's for another time.

So, Mr. McClellan - why is it that the information inside these pieces is intended for the American taxpayer and voter...but information as to who produced them is for the broadcaster? And would some reporter please do their fucking job and ask McClellan that question and not let him go until he answers it?

Posted by jbz at March 15, 2005 4:01 PM | TrackBack

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