So it spreads. California's show-biz governor is mimicking the Bush adminisration's misuse of taxpayers' funds to pay for propaganda.
LA Times (reg req): "News" Video Extols Gov.'s Plan. Using taxpayer money, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration has sent television stations statewide a mock news story extolling a proposal that would benefit political boosters in the business community by ending mandatory lunch breaks for many hourly workers. The tape looks like a news report and is narrated by a former television reporter who now works for the state. But unlike an actual news report, it does not provide views critical of the proposed changes. Democrats have denounced it as propaganda. Snippets aired on as many as 18 stations earlier this month, the administration said.
There are any number of villains in this story. But I want to single out the TV stations that are playing this garbage and pretending it's news. They are party to deception, and they aid the crowd that wants to debunk all journalism as part of a campaign to turn news into whatever the people in power say it is.
I'm a passionate partisan for citizen journalism. But it is not, anytime soon, going to be a replacement for the valuable work done by the pros -- and the more people like Bush and Schwarzenegger and their allies try to devalue honorable journalism, the more they're devaluing democracy itself.