Remember Karen Ryan, the phony PR-exec-cum-journalist who appeared in pseudo-news video segments by the Bush administration, promoting its Medicare legislation in a way that Congress found constituted political propaganda in violation of federal law?
She's B-A-A-A-A-CK! That's right, this week The Bush administration was busy promoting the No Child Left Behind Act with a video, featuring Ms. Ryan, that many local TV stations ran unchallenged, as a legitimate news story. Neither the video news release nor the TV affiliates made it clear that the content was 100% Republican spin, or that the "reporter" involved was paid with your tax dollars.
Interestingly, Ms. Ryan's earlier Medicaid shilling was picked up by none other than the Sinclair network -- the same one that is now airing the bogus Swift Boat fiction to attack John Kerry. Talking Points Memo notes that not only was Ms. Ryan paid by with taxpayer money, but the Department of Education also used tax dollars to pay Ketchum Public Relations to rank news coverage on the basis of how well it channeled Bush propaganda.
Either TV affiliates are not taking a close enough look at what they are being spoon-fed by the Republican noise machine, or -- in this era of deregulation and profit desperation -- they can't afford to take a closer look. Either way, the public trust in our media is rapidly and rightfully eroding.