Thursday, March 18, 2004

Tricky: Last night I finally saw the fake Medicare "news" footage that the Bush administration has been doling out to small-time TV stations. The Daily Show played the clip and provided the requisite lampooning.

It's amazing that the Bushies tried to pass this off as a real news program. Their defense is that Clinton did it at one time. I've never heard of that, and I don't know that he did it during an election year.

The sad part is that the Bush administration did such a poor job. The video looks like a poorly put-together news story. It's hardly one-sided, because it doesn't even argue Bush's side effectively. Instead of presenting any facts as to why the Medicare bill is so great, it offers a bland pseudo-analysis:

The new laws, say officials, simply offers people with Medicare ways to make their health care more affordable. In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan reporting.
Despite the constant complaints of media bias, people still rely on the news media for facts and information that is free from partisan spin. Not only is it deceitful for the Bush administration to slip these videos to small-town TV stations desperate for news copy, but the stations themselves should know better than to air them during the news broadcasts. Political ads should be played during the commercials, along with all the other ads.

It's funny, but much of the political controversy this year that major news stations have been covering involves political ads. What with Bush's ad with 9/11 footage and Kerry's ads that accuse Bush of lying, CNN and the others have had their hands full examining every clip and offering their analyses.

While I was on vacation, I saw some of the news coverage of the ads. I was sitting with my girlfriend, who thankfully isn't nearly as obsessed with politics as I am, when she got fed up with all the news spewage and said: "Since when are commercials covered in the news? Aren't they supposed to be what's played between the news programs?"

Excellent point.

Update: The Columbia Journalism Review's Campaign Desk was able to nab an interview with Karen Ryan. She maintains that she did nothing wrong. In fact, she feels like the scapegoat -- or "political roadkill" as she calls it. It's an interesting read.


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