Fake news report put out by whitehouse...

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by deciophobic, Mar 19, 2004.

  1. deciophobic
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    deciophobic Guest

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    Did you guys hear about this, I can't find a link yet though.

    On The Daily Show yesterday, they led off the show about how the Whithouse hired actors to play reporters and shoot a fake news segmant making Bush's medicare bill look good.

    Not to mention that the bill will actually cost 135 billion dollars more than what Bush said it would.

    Just wanted to get your thoughts on this.
     
  2. deciophobic
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    deciophobic Guest

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    they sent the report to a couple hundred news outlets too.
     
  3. _dmp_
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    _dmp_ Member

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    The Daily Show - with John Stewart...is COMEDY...it's not real. :)
     
  4. deciophobic
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    the story is real though...duh:p:
     
  5. jimnyc
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    This whole thread would be better if you could supply sources.
     
  6. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    actually, this is close to true. I'll try to find a link for it.

    The gist of it is that the Bush Admin, in promoting its new medicare law and advantages, hired an actress for the commercial bit but at the end she states that she's reporting for some news service.
     
  7. deciophobic
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  8. DKSuddeth
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    DKSuddeth Senior Member

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    http://www.latimes.com/news/custom/showcase/la-na-medicare16mar16.story

    WASHINGTON — It was with great fanfare that the Bush administration unveiled 30- second television commercials and a two-page flier that would be mailed to 41 million seniors and disabled people, touting the newly enacted Medicare prescription drug benefit.

    Missing from the publicity was any mention of "video news releases," which feature "interviews" with government officials and voice-overs by production company employees posing as Washington reporters, for use in local TV news shows.

    On Monday, less than a week after it concluded that the administration's Medicare commercials and fliers were technically legal but contained "notable omissions and errors," the General Accounting Office said it would conduct another investigation to determine whether the video news releases constituted illegal "covert propaganda."

    Several Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, sent a letter to executives of the five major TV networks urging them to "immediately warn stations not to use these materials" because they contain no statement indicating that they were produced by the government.

    Three months after President Bush signed the Medicare reform bill into law, Monday's dispute highlighted the political battle Democrats and Republicans are waging over efforts to interpret the complex law for Medicare beneficiaries and American voters.

    Republicans contend that the law offers seniors and disabled people, especially those with low incomes, much needed help with prescription drug costs. The theme of the administration's promotional campaign, including the mock news story, is "Same Medicare. More Benefits."

    Most Democrats voted against the bill, and they argue that it weakens traditional Medicare and helps private insurance companies and drug manufacturers more than seniors and the disabled.

    "The reason they're doing this, the reason we're being attacked every day with absolutely groundless accusations," is that Democrats "don't want it to be successful," said Bill Pierce, spokesman for the Health and Human Services Department. "Our concern is seniors. Their concern is politics."

    Pierce said the administration welcomed the new probe by the GAO, Congress' investigative arm. "If there's any ethical issues involved," he said, "it's whether [local TV stations] use it or not" as a news story. Video news releases are an "extraordinarily common" way for the government to get out information, Pierce said, adding that the Clinton administration had produced 26 of them.

    But in their letter to TV network executives, six Democratic senators said the mock news story showed that the administration had resorted to "deceptive tacticsÂ…. It is critical to the credibility of an independent news media that covert government propaganda be rejected for use by news organizations."

    Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who signed the letter, said, "If President Bush wants to run questionable ads to convince senior voters that a bad Medicare bill is good for them, then his campaign should pay for it, not the American taxpayer."

    Although nothing in the video material indicates that the government paid for its production, "We did identify ourselves when we pitched it" to individual news shows, Pierce said.

    The administration has spent more than $22 million on the TV ad and the two-page flier. Pierce said he did not know how much the administration spent to distribute the video news release. The controversy over this portion of the Bush campaign was first reported in Monday's editions of the New York Times.

    As of Feb. 12, all or parts of the mock news story had aired 53 times on 40 stations in 33 media markets, including Santa Barbara and Fresno, he said.

    The video news release, offered in English and Spanish, describes the law much as the TV commercial and the promotional flier, with the same "omissions" noted by the GAO.

    The video does not note, for example, that Medicare- endorsed discount drug cards will cost about $30 a year or that the voluntary prescription drug benefit that takes effect in 2006 will carry an initial monthly premium of $35 and an annual $250 deductible.

    "If [seniors] call 1-800-MEDICARE, they'll find out," Pierce said.

    "It's the same Medicare seniors have always counted on, with more benefits," HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson says in the mock news story, which also includes shots of a pharmacist dispensing medicines and seniors playing Yahtzee.

    Democrats reiterated their concerns Monday over statements last week by the top Medicare financial analyst that administration officials threatened to fire him last June if he told lawmakers debating the bill last year that it would probably cost far more than $400 billion.

    A letter to Bush from several Democratic senators asked him to "make it clear to the White House staff that they are not to engage in any kind of retaliation against the Medicare official," Richard S. Foster.

    The White House and Republican lawmakers said during the debate that taxpayers could not afford a prescription drug benefit that would cost more than $400 billion over 10 years, and they tailored the final bill to meet that limit.

    The Congressional Budget Office stands by that estimate of the law's costs, but the administration said in January that the bill would cost $534 billion over 10 years.
     
  9. deciophobic
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    You would think the evil "liberal media" would be all over this.
     
  10. Zhukov
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    One would think that, but since they are not, and since the article indicates that it was 'technically legal' perhaps this sort of thing is more common than has been previously reported. If so, perhaps it is enough that they are even mentioning what would otherwise be a non-issue. Also, the administration evidently did this right out in the open, "with great fanfare", so it's not like they are trying to hide it. There probably isn't anywhere to go with this story.

    Is the point to trick senile seniors into thinking they are watching the news?

    Who knows, maybe we haven't heard the last of this. I'm sure at the very least Kerry will bring it up at some point.
     

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