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I originally reported on this bill in May, when it was called the "Truth in Broadcasting Act". I liked that title better. Now they're calling it the "Pre-packaged News Story Announcement Act of 2005."

Well, it IS more descriptive. But it doesn't "sing" anymore.

Either way, it's designed to prevent the government from selling pre-packaged government-created news as the real thing.

Here's Kerry's statement on the bill from back in May:

"The American people have a right to know they're not only watching the administration's spin on their local newscasts, they might be paying for it too. It's one thing to watch Jon Stewart on television, but it's another to imitate him with Americans' hard-earned tax dollars. We should stop this abuse of the public trust and waste of taxpayer money.

"It's hard to believe that in the greatest democracy in the world, we need legislation to prevent the government from writing and paying for the news. It runs counter to everything we believe as Americans. I hope Congress will stop the legal hairsplitting and end this dishonest practice."


Well, it looks like it's one step closer now, anyway. I'm not sure where it goes from here, but I've heard that it's now open to amendments, which I assume is the usual next step. Eh, I'll never make a proper wonk at this rate.

Here's a link to the legislation for your reading pleasure, in pdf format:

And the news release from the Committee of Commerce, Science and Transportation:

Senate Commerce Committee Approves
"Prepackaged News Story Announcement Act"

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation today reported by unanimous consent S. 967, the "Prepackaged News Story Announcement Act of 2005," introduced by Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.).

The legislation requires that all prepackaged, government-produced news stories - which are designed to be indistinguishable from those created by independent news organizations - include disclaimers notifying the audience that the government produced or funded the news segment.

The Committee unanimously approved a substitute amendment, negotiated by Senators Lautenberg, Kerry and Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, that includes the following provisions:

· Establishes that prepackaged news stories produced by the government must include a clear notification to the audience that the United States Government prepared or funded the segment.

· Defines "prepackaged news story" as a complete, ready-to-use audio or video news segment designed to be indistinguishable from those produced by an independent news organization.

· Instructs the FCC to determine the circumstances under which the disclaimer may be removed or modified.

· Clarifies that the bill's provisions do not apply to the government's authorized, legal intelligence activities.


Between this and LIHEAP, it's been a busy day for the guy. I don't know how that vote is going, I hope well, but I'm not holding out much hope. Luckily, MY heat is included in my rent, which is likely to go up after this winter. But I know many, many folks aren't that lucky. Hopefully the Republicans can be made to see that we need to help those people who may be in dire need this winter. Or at the least make them vote against the poor over and over and over again to highlight their heartlessness.

I'll let y'all know about the LIHEAP vote as I find out more about it.

Originally posted to Kerrycrat on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 04:39 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Cookie Jar (4.00)
    And we're back to Kerry news again.

    Which reminds me... here bashers, bashers. Come and get your dinner... time to meet the meat, as it were.

    "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

    by Kerrycrat on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 04:39:33 PM PDT

  •  Kerry 2008 (4.00)
    So we dont stop a good thing! coming soon!

    John Kerry 2008, still bumperstickered, still fighting for the truth, still the one.

    by desiunion on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 04:42:13 PM PDT

    •  I like that (4.00)
      A list of the things he's been right about in website form, I assume.

      That would be a nice reference. I know he's been right on more than a few things.

      "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

      by Kerrycrat on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 04:44:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I like it too (4.00)
      I  wish sooooo much that he was our president now.

      This race is about restoring trust...that the things we talk about in a campaign are not promises to be broken, they are promises to be kept. - John Kerry 2004

      by etherapy on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 04:53:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for posting! (4.00)
    I blogged about this awhile ago when he first introduced it, and I had wondered what happened to the bill. Committees are like black holes for legislation.
  •  Terrific First Step!! (4.00)
    I'm glad they've been able to take some steps on at least some of this nonsense.

    Senator Kerry was on target when he said, "Any administration, Democrat or Republican, needs to take a long, hard look at itself when it must hide behind phony newscasts to speak to Americans."

    That is why I am troubled, to use the vernacular, by the B&C's report that "the bill's provisions do not apply to the government's authorized, legal intelligence activities." I am not clear what this is referring to, but I certainly hope it is not authorized "news" outlets like the, a DoD enterprise sponsored by the U.S. European Command. I wrote about this operation back in February and I can't think of anything that fits "covert propaganda" any more than this does. Just as our government shouldn't need to hide behind phony newscasts to speak to Americans, it also shouldn't need to hide behind phony internet sites to speak to the rest of the world.


  •  I wish they'd kept the old title. (4.00)
    Prepackaged News.. Story... uh, Announcement.. Act Quest.. um, Thing? is just horrid.

    That said, yay Kerry!  I still love him and wish he were our President.  I could be proud of a President like him even if he's more centre than I am.

  •  Kerry gets things done (4.00)
    Thanks for the info.  I continue to admire Senator Kerry's ability to get things done.

    I used to live in the United States of America. Now I live in a homeland.

    by homeland observer on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 04:56:10 PM PDT

  •  only part of the problem? (none)
    This prevents fake news anchors and correspondents from shilling for the administration, but does it address paying pundits to shill for the administration?

    "If you want to trust somebody with your taxpayer dollars, you'd better elect a Democrat because the Republicans can't manage money." - Howard Dean

    by CA Pol Junkie on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 04:58:40 PM PDT

    •  True, only part of the problem (none)
      We need pundit legislation next. But then again, I think what folks like Armstrong and others were doing is already illegal. Not sure. But wouldn't that be akin to payola? Do we need another law, is what I'm asking, if there is one on the books. I'm not sure if there is or isn't. Just wondering aloud.

      "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

      by Kerrycrat on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 05:22:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Warm fuzzies for Kerry (4.00)
    Now I'd like Kerry, Dean, Reid and Pelosi to make a joint statement on the Iraq war:  we were had, we were Wrong to have been afraid of dissent, we are taking back the initiative.

    Kerry did it once during Vietnam.  Let's have the Democrats talk about Americans, illegal wars, and torture.  Let's lance the boil well before the 2006 elections.  Please, Kerry. Please.

    Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

    by soyinkafan on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 05:05:47 PM PDT

    •  This is about as close as Kerry's likely to get (4.00)
      at least at the moment.

      "The way Powell, Eagleberger, Scowcroft, and the others were talking at the time," continued Kerry, "I felt confident that Bush would work with the international community. I took the President at his word. We were told that any course would lead through the United Nations, and that war would be an absolute last resort. Many people I am close with, both Democrats and Republicans, who are also close to Bush told me unequivocally that no decisions had been made about the course of action. Bush hadn't yet been hijacked by Wolfowitz, Perle, Cheney and that whole crew. Did I think Bush was going to charge unilaterally into war? No. Did I think he would make such an incredible mess of the situation? No. Am I angry about it? You're God damned right I am. I chose to believe the President of the United States. That was a terrible mistake."

      I say for the moment, because I suspect that he's getting close to losing his patience with this war. And his questioning of Condi yesterday sounds like it was very sharp and to the point. Not to mention what he told Cindy that made her put him on her hall of fame page.

      He's caught between wanting to see progress happen in Iraq, and not being willing to see anyone else die if that isn't going to happen.

      We shall see.

      "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

      by Kerrycrat on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 05:20:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like... (none)
    The  exemption for the Drug Czar's office present in earlier drafts appears to have been removed.

    I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State. Or yours.

    by ben masel on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 05:35:07 PM PDT

  •  Thank you Senator Kerry. (4.00)

    When this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you're gonna see some serious shit.

    by CO Democrat on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 05:46:03 PM PDT

  •  Like Kerry o-kay, but Teresa (4.00)
    is just a little too strong for the average American who  has the attention span of a knat.  She is a brilliant, educated, accomplished woman who knows her business.  Still, people just do not like her, probably fear her for her intelligence, but do not recognize that fact.

    I'm Edwards all the way, personally.  If they were to run on the same ticket again I would be very happy to dig out my t-shirt and campaign for them again.  Here is to 2008, folks!

    Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth. Naomi Shihab Nye

    by panicbean on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 06:08:44 PM PDT

  •  Kerry should be signing some new bill today (none)
    assisting in NOLA relief or working with our allies to assist us in a draw-down in Iraq, or slapping the  Drug Compainies around and increasing medicaid bennies to our elders today..............

    Oh, I am just dreaming.....what a difference a year makes......our country sucks right sure would be better off if Kerry were President....but sadly we are...under another year of BushFraud!!!!

    "These guys are biggest bunch of lying crooks I have ever seen" John Kerry

    by alnc on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 06:48:46 PM PDT

  •  LIHEAP voted down again (none) amp;vote=00261

    53 yea
    46 nay
    1 not voting

    I guess it needs sixty to pass, eh? Somebody on the DU Kerry group said something about a procedural change, a motion of some sort, that made it so that a simple majority wouldn't make it. I'm not up on my Senate procedures, so I don't quite understand.

    Even so, it's sad. Kerry had a PR event on Tuesday for this issue. I think we improved the yea's by 3 since the last time they tried to tack this amendment onto a bill. Not enough.

    Kerry would seem to be really pushing this. I wonder if they will try tacking it onto yet another bill.

    For those who aren't up on what I'm talking about, the amendment is trying to accomplish this: "To provide for appropriations for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program." In other words, trying to make sure poor folk don't freeze this winter. A pox upon those who voted against it.

    "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

    by Kerrycrat on Thu Oct 20, 2005 at 08:43:06 PM PDT

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