March 13, 2005

Subtle Word Play

I love the new vocabulary coming out of the States. Extraordinary Rendition means you can be grabbed and held without charge for as long as the government pleases. Video News Release means covert propagranda segments disguised as news footage.

The Bush admin didn't start the VNR juggernaut; that honour belongs to Mr. Clinton. But the Bush admin certainly knows a good thing when they see it, and want to make sure the voters see it too; Bush's first term spent $254 million on PR contracts.

If you're interested in the journalistic independence thing, you can read about it here. It's worth a look: How a television reporter in Memphis came to unwittingly narrate a segment by the State Department reveals much about the extent to which government-produced news accounts have seeped into the broader new media landscape.

The interesting thing to me is that the State Department is is moving away from producing narrated feature segments. Instead, the department is increasingly supplying only the ingredients for reports - sound bites and raw footage. Since the shift, even more State Department material is making its way into news broadcasts. So I wonder how much of this stuff is making it into NZ broadcasts? I should imagine a reasonable amount, because I can remember seeing some of the segments and footage described in the article.

I found an op-ed piece on the Death of Environmentalism. It's worth a read.

And this one on Excessive Caution In Stupid Ways was good too, and funny. I thought this was particularly good: I blame the arbiters of virtue. Sometime over the past generation we became less likely to object to something because it is immoral and more likely to object to something because it is unhealthy or unsafe. So smoking is now a worse evil than six of the Ten Commandments, and the word "sinful" is most commonly associated with chocolate.

Posted by phreq at March 13, 2005 07:10 AM | TrackBack
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