The Bush administration faces questions about the bizarre story of Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckert "pimping for the White House," as the Minneapolis Star Tribune puts it, about paying columnists to promote or advise the administration, and about creating an Office of Strategic Influence to provide "news" to foreign media.
And now the U.S. comptroller general has issued a blanket warning that reminds federal agencies they may not produce "newscasts" promoting administration policies without clearly stating that the federal government is the source. That's happened twice in two years -- once for the government's spin on a video news release promoting the Medicare reform legislation. And you, the taxpayer, paid for it.
The comptroller general, chief of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress' investigative arm, wrote: "Agencies may not use appropriated funds to produce or distribute prepackaged news stories intended to be viewed by television audiences that conceal or do not clearly identify for the television viewing audience that the agency was the source of those materials."