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.
"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.