Government "Video News Releases" Suck:
What's been lost in the big, mighty hullabaloo over the Bush adminstration's massive use of fake TV news packages to promote its policies as if poll numbers were Nielsens is this: the video news releases (or VNRs) suck. They're shitty, even by local news standards. Fuck, the Rude Pundit would rather watch Sinclair Broadcasting's insane Mark Hyman rant like a diseased jackal for a minute or two every night on each and every pathetic excuse for a "news" broadcast that Sinclair runs. Sure, it's annoying to hear the pathetic jackal yelp, but at least you know you're not directly paying for the privilege of seeing it.

Unlike the Bush-produced VNRs, which reach new depths of video suckage. Take, for instance, the 2003 video for Seeds of Peace, which is sub-Afterschool Special maudlin, showing Israeli and Palestinians youths at a camp where they learn to really, truly love each other. And, no joke here, the video shows them leaning on each other and singing as Colin Powell speaks about the need to end violence in the Middle East and students talk about how much they learned about love and peace. It's tear-jerking, heartwarming, and loin-chilling because you realize that the agenda behind the production is not "truth," but a way of the Bush administration presenting itself, like a pimp dressing in a Hugo Boss suit for an evening out, but when he gets back, he's still gonna sell his bitches to be roughly fucked.

That's ever so clear on the videos about Iraq: take the oh-so-goddamn touching December 2003 VNR about the first trip of the Iraq Symphony Orchestra. One speaker thanked all the corporate sponsors, President Bush was shown attending, Colin Powell called the performance "the music of hope," motherfuckin' Yo-Yo Ma played, the musicians talked about how much they loved being in the U.S. It was all so calculated, the automaton-like voice of the "reporter" diligently, dutifully spinning the occasion to put pancake make-up on the scabbed face of Bush's Iraq policy. The same goes for other videos of "triumph," like the absurdist piece about Iraqi-Americans celebrating the fall of Saddam Hussein. Oh, how they dance and drum and shout and praise America, the same ten people running around in a circle, like the background of a cartoon. And all one can wonder is if the whole fuckin' thing was staged. (Although, conveniently, the reports never say who is producing them as they're played on the nightly news, probably mostly on Sinclair stations.)

But we know, we know that people-as-props is the modus operandi for the propaganda machine that is our government, from the attendees at Bush rallies to video-presented mourning Iraqis searching for their relatives in mass graves. In the State Department's VNR, they are used as tools in a way that Michael Moore would never dream of. Hell, the weeping Iraqi women in Fahrenheit 9/11 is downright subtle compared to the Iraqi man saying, "This is more than Hitler, Mussolini and all the other criminals of the world combined. All of them together did less than Saddam." Surely Dick Cheney watched and said, "Excellent" as he received his fifth weekly blood transfusion from the Sunni child that he kept locked in the anteroom.

The sight of these videos, from Colin Powell speaking about the "rights" of women in Iraq to reports about reconstruction efforts, is like being brought to a room to watch a group of old men jack each other off. Fat bellies bobble as their johnsons are jostled and joints are jerked, desperately trying to concentrate on both the cock in their hands and their own cocks being yanked, the smell of sweat and cigars and semen, and someone glances at you and says, "Look at this - aren't we somethin' else?"

Of course, this infection is rampant in the rest of the government. Fuck, the Department of Agriculture even has a Broadcast Media and Production Center that promotes its ability to produce TV "News." Says the USDA about the effort, "These stories cover mission messages including trade, biotechnology, rural development, research, water quality, nutrition, food safety, national forests, conservation, cooperative extension, small farms, marketing and food rescue. This is an excellent avenue for agencies to get their message out to consumers and the agricultural community."

Sure, sure, the GAO tried to smack down the broadcasts, and it was looking at Bush propaganda on drug policy. But the Department of Justice ruled that the GAO can go fuck itself and the Bush adminstration can do whatever it wants. But, really, seriously, they've spent a quarter of a billion dollars on these things. And the quality is that of a group of nerdy high school kids who got a camera and free period and wanna make a show.

And anyone paying attention would know that they're made by people with only one goal: make people think, "Must love Bush." The problem is, of course, no one cares, now, do they? When you can turn on the TV and see half-hour advertisements about a food chopper, penis enlargement, and college girl tits, do you think anyone really gives a fuck if the news is coming from the government (even if they should)? If more and more people are gettin' their "truth" from Fox "news," does it really matter anyways?

Interestingly, though, the Office of Governmental Ethics hasn't produced a new video since the year 2000.