As PR Watch previously reported, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Broadcast Media and Technology Center seems to be pushing the controversial Central American trade agreement CAFTA in its audio and video news releases. BMTC "has churned out three dozen radio and television news segments since the first of the year" that "promote" CAFTA, writes the Chicago Tribune. In one radio segment, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns says that voting against CAFTA is "voting against our producers." Senators Akaka and Landrieu sent a letter to Johanns expressing concern that "many listeners in rural America may believe these releases are objective news reports, rather than political statements ... intended to advance a specific trade agenda." A USDA spokesperson defended BMTC's work, saying, "They are reports about what the secretary of agriculture has said."
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