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New CIA nominee Michael Hayden: SourceWatch has been on the case since 2003

The man nominated today to head the CIA by President George W. Bush, General Michael V. Hayden, has been tracked by SourceWatch (the "mother-wiki" of Congresspedia) users on his own profile page since 2003. It's still basic, but now that he's famous for more than not knowing what the 4th amendment says while serving as the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence (see his profile), we hope it will be expanded by our community of contributors.

As he moves through his confirmation process I also expect to see postings to the pages on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and its members as that committee's confirmation hearings for Hayden approach.

Television Stations Respond... And It's Worse Than You Think

One news director says, "I have been instructed by corporate not to talk to you."

Hours after the Center for Media and Democracy released our study on television stations' widespread and undisclosed use of corporate video news releases (VNRs), a major organization of broadcast news executives issued its response.

"The Radio-Television News Directors Association strongly urges station management to review and strengthen their policies requiring complete disclosure of any outside material used in news programming," read the statement. RTNDA went on to caution that decisions involving "when and how to identify sources ... must remain far removed from government involvement or supervision."

Fake TV NewsUnfortunately, RTNDA's statement conflates "sources" with broadcast material funded by and produced for outside parties. It also conveniently ignores that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, under its authority to regulate broadcasters' use of the public airwaves, already has disclosure requirements (PDF) on the books. But RTNDA's stance does point to an important, underlying issue: how to ensure both news audiences' right to know "who seeks to influence them," and the editorial freedom of newsrooms.

"True Spin": An Oxymoron or a Lofty Goal?

"Officials from giant corporations meet all the time to share their latest and greatest PR strategies," read the conference website. "Now it's our turn."

spinning topOn February 2 and 3, some 180 people attended the True Spin Conference in Denver, Colorado, which was billed as "a PR conference for progressives." The event was organized by CauseCommunications, a small Denver PR firm whose clients have included Ben Cohen's Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, Winona LaDuke's Honor the Earth, and The Progressive magazine.

Anxious Al Caruba

Alan Caruba
Alan Caruba, from the CDFE website

Alan Caruba is a public relations professional who is so anxious about issues like environmentalism, immigration and the United Nations that he runs the National Anxiety Center. Caruba, who states on his website that his clients include or have included "chemical and pharmaceutical companies, think tanks [and] trade associations," writes a weekly column, called "Warning Signs," which is run by conservative websites.

In last week's column, Caruba, an "adjunct fellow" at Ron Arnold's anti-environmentalist Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise (CDFE), expressed anxiety over our SourceWatch article on his friend Michael Fumento. The title of his column was "Smearing Conservative Writers."


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