Dubya Watch
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want,
and deserve to get it good and hard." -- H.L. Mencken


Monday, March 14, 2005
Bush Administration to Government Accountability Office: Drop dead! The Bush Administration has made heavy use of PR: paying commentators to support their agenda and releasing video segments that often air on local stations as "news," without its origin being revealed. The latter was criticized as illegal by a government organization ... but the administration doesn't care:
The Bush administration, rejecting an opinion from the Government Accountability Office, said last week that it is legal for federal agencies to feed TV stations prepackaged news stories that do not disclose the government's role in producing them.

That message, in memos sent Friday to federal agency heads and general counsels, contradicts a Feb. 17 memo from Comptroller General David M. Walker. Walker wrote that such stories -- designed to resemble independently reported broadcast news stories so that TV stations can run them without editing -- violate provisions in annual appropriations laws that ban covert propaganda.

But Joshua B. Bolten, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Steven G. Bradbury, principal deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, said in memos last week that the administration disagrees with the GAO's ruling. And, in any case, they wrote, the department's Office of Legal Counsel, not the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, provides binding legal interpretations for federal agencies to follow.





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