Top Reporter: Stop Reporting Pols’ PR Events, Photo Ops
Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus, one of the few traditional media reporters to have forcefully challenged Bush’s prewar claims on WMDs, has called for a moratorium on publishing government statements “that are designed solely as a public relations tool,” like ones where the president speaks before backgrounds that read “Mission Accomplished” or “Restoring America’s Values.”
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Walter Pincus at Nieman Watchdog:
… A new element of courage in journalism would be for editors and reporters to decide not to cover the President’s statements when he — or any public figure — repeats essentially what he or she has said before. The Bush team also has brought forward another totally PR gimmick: The President stands before a background that highlights the key words of his daily message. This tactic serves only to reinforce that what’s going on is public relations — not governing. Journalistic courage should include the refusal to publish in a newspaper or carry on a TV or radio news show any statements made by the President or any other government official that are designed solely as a public relations tool, offering no new or valuable information to the public.
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