“How much is good press worth? To the Bush administration, about $1.6 billion. That’s how much seven federal departments spent from 2003 through the second quarter of 2005 on 343 contracts with public relations firms, advertising agencies, media organizations and individuals, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.”
In my humble opinion, elected officials should be prohibited by law from engaging in media manipulation. They have publicly funded offices, staffers, computers, fax machines, etc. They can issue press releases and call news conferences. That’s enough. Spending $1.6B on how we perceive the news – not on telling us the truth – is an indefensible waste of our money and simply Orwellian.
Shoot, we could have paid for a short but highly televised war with that much scratch.
“Careful oversight of this spending is essential given the track record of the Bush administration, which has used taxpayer dollars to fund covert propaganda within the United States,” Rep. Henry A. Waxman (Calif.), ranking Democrat of the House Government Reform Committee, said in a statement yesterday.