U.S. Government

Conflicted Pentagon Pundits Asked to 'Fess Up

"The Federal Communications Commission has begun notifying several TV military analysts that it is probing congressional complaints that the pundits did not properly disclose their ties to the Pentagon when reviewing the war in Iraq on air," reports Paul Bedard.

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Will New Propaganda Ban Have an Impact?

In April 2008, the New York Times exposed the Pentagon pundit scandal, where the Defense Department cultivated retired military officials who are frequent media commentators, to serve as "message force multipliers" for Bush administration policie

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FDA Tries to Pay Qorvis $300K Under the Table

After the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was "pummeled by Congress for poor inspections of tainted vegetables, drugs and other products," the agency wanted public relations help. First, it hired Mildred Cooper as "a temporary FDA consultant ... on a two-year contract to advise FDA Commissioner Andrew C.

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It's Not Rocket Science

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is poised to end "a six-year-old battle between career EPA scientists" who want to regulate a chemical linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women and children, and the White House and Pentagon, where officials oppose setting a drinking-water safety standard for the chemical, perchlorate. Guess who's likely to win?

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Stealth Marketers Gone Wild: Will the FCC Act?

One of my favorite critiques of our ad-saturated modern world is in "Infinite Jest," the epic novel by recently-departed author and essayist David Foster Wallace. In the novel's not-too-distant future, time itself has become a corporate marketing opportunity. There's the Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar and the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. That's not to mention the Year of the Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade For Infernatron/InterLace TP Systems For Home, Office, Or Mobile, which is often abbreviated.

Image from a Masterfoods video news releaseThe novel's system of Subsidized Time is hilarious ... and you can almost imagine it really happening. At least corporate-sponsored years wouldn't present the disclosure problems of today's stealth ads -- marketing messages that masquerade as entertainment or news content.

The Center for Media and Democracy believes that all advertising should be as clearly announced as the Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar. That's why we just filed a comment with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC is debating how its sponsorship identification rules apply to product placement, product integration and other types of "embedded advertising" relayed over television or radio stations.

In 2003, Commercial Alert urged the FCC to address product placement disclosure. "Advertisers can puff and tout, and use all the many tricks of their trade," the watchdog group wrote (pdf). "But they must not pretend that their ads are something else."

Especially, we would add, when that "something else" is news programming.

Bolivia: The Spies Who Spun Me

In Bolivia, anti-government protests have led to dozens of deaths. President Evo Morales claimed the United States is supporting the violent groups and asked U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg to leave. The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), pointing to earlier reports that the U.S.

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