Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Indiana's Incipient Pravda

The Atlantic has now weighed in on Pence's new propaganda machine:

"Should politicians be in the news business? Sure, Pence needs to be able to communicate what the state is doing, but communication and reporting are different matters. It's unclear what the cost of the project will be to taxpayers, though the Star says the combined salaries of its employees will be about $100,000. More importantly, it's an obvious threat to the notion of a free press. State-sponsored journalism is generally the province of authoritarian states—think Pravda or Xinhua. If the government is pushing out information with newspaper-style coverage that looks like the standard press but is actually government ventriloquism, will readers be able to tell the difference?" writes David A. Graham.

"There's every reason to believe that government propaganda presented under the guise of reporting could fool readers just as easily [as hoaxes on the internet]. It would be even more pernicious if Indiana press outlets opted to run pre-written news stories alongside standard reportage, giving the state a chance to co-opt the free press' authority."

And, from The Daily Beast:
"Q: When does the conservative governor of a majority-Republican state start to resemble an old-line Communist apparatchik?
A: When he uses taxpayer money to fund government-approved “journalism” to compete with privately-owned, independent news outlets."

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