Uh-oh… MSNBC might have some competition in the “state-run” media market. Republican Governor Mike Pence is planning to launch a state run news site that will offer pre-written articles to Indiana news outlets. Strangely, it is not being named “Pravda”. According to Breitbart.com:
Pence’s government “news” site, scheduled to start in late February, will be called “Just IN” and will feature stories written by state press secretaries.
So… Really, not a whole lot is changing. Of course, it is kinda creepy. Feigned outrage among members of the media seem to be fairly bipartisan:
“I think it’s a ludicrous idea,” said Jack Ronald, publisher of the Portland Commercial Review, a small newspaper. “I have no problem with public information services... But 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.”
Whoa, hang on… We have an independent press? I mean, I hate to break it to you, but this is pretty much just a digital version of what the White House Press Jester, Josh Earnest, does every day with the establishment-media in a small room at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in DC. Oh yeah, and local politicos have pretty much already mastered the art of “mass-email” press releases.
“A state-run, taxpayer funded news organization designed to compete with independent news outlets is a shocking development to many rank and file conservatives,” Dave Read of the Central Indiana Coalition of Tea Parties told Breitbart News. “To think it will be anything but a well-crafted PR machine for the Governor’s Presidential aspirations is naive. Instead of naming it ‘Just In’ he might as well call it ‘Pravda’ and call it a day.”
Okay. I’m sure someone will announce the name change in their inaugural edition. But let’s not pretend this is a monumental departure from the current system. Simply stated, this is nothing more than a continuation of what government already does, via press releases, public announcements, and press briefings. And, yes, it is awfully Orwellian.
But, then again, what doesn’t seem terribly Orwellian nowadays? I mean, the “independent” press went to the edge of the world, and back, to dig up a story about Mitt Romney strapping a dog-cage to the roof of his car (I still think the dog would have enjoyed that), but still can’t seem to root out any details about Mr. Obama’s Harvard grades. The “independent” press is still wildly skeptical of WMDs existing in Iraq (despite countless eye-witness accounts of yellowcake uranium and chemical weapons), but seemed almost too willing to accept the Susan Rice propaganda that our Libya Ambassador was killed during a “spontaneous protest” over an obscure YouTube video.
Yes… Pence’s plan for a state-run media seems pretty Soviet. It reeks of propagandized self-interest. Undoubtedly, it will be little more than a PR-spin-factory for Administration centric “news” stories. Moreover, it is a patently ludicrous idea in today’s age of democratized information, citizen journalism, and calls for government transparency. In short, Pence’s plan is a ridiculous exercise in taxpayer funded propaganda.
After all, a fair and independent press is the greatest threat to government overreach, and the greatest ally to the preservation of liberty… Too bad we don’t seem to have one. Maybe our friendly folks in the media should try doing their job before freaking about the government doing it for them.