Tuesday, January 27, 2015

IN.gov Advertorials

This Indianapolis Observer is speechless at the report that Gov. Mike Pence is using taxpayer dollars to fund a state office to write and distribute "news releases" -- "a state-run news organization that will offer pre-written articles to smaller news outlets, as well as break stories about his administration."

How can this be considered ethical behavior by a governor? How is this different from writing, printing and distributing campaign materials on state time?

Will they be labeled as "advertorials", for they fit the definition. We the People are paying to promote Pence's presidential bid (or, at the very least, his re-election campaign).

Comments came quickly, including this pointed jab: "the notion of elected officials presenting material that will inevitably have a pro-administration point of view is antithetical to the idea of an independent press."

What legitimate news organization would publish such obviously slanted "news"? Oh, wait. I forgot about Gannett.


Paul K. Ogden said...

There are people all over state government who write press releases about what is going on in the agencies. They are called communication directors or Public Information Officers. This is no different.

Indianapolis Observer said...

How is this different from press releases? Apples and oranges, Paul.

A "pre-written article" is propaganda mascarading as news. It's intended to be used "as is", without independent reporting.

I'll admit that sloppy journos run press releases as is, but that's a whole 'nother topic.

No reputable pub would run this sponsored news without all sorts of disclaimers (which would defeat the purpose of setting up Indiana's version of Pravda).

Then again, we don't have reputable newspapers in Indy anymore, so the topic is probably moot.