Fake reporters

Fake reporters

: In her column yesterday, Maureen Dowd said that even Nixon didn’t do what Bush is doing with fake news:

They flipped TV’s in the West Wing and Air Force One to Fox News. They paid conservative columnists handsomely to promote administration programs. Federal agencies distributed packaged “news” video releases with faux anchors so local news outlets would run them. As CNN reported, the Pentagon produces Web sites with “news” articles intended to influence opinion abroad and at home, but you have to look hard for the disclaimer: “Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.” The agencies spent a whopping $88 million spinning reality in 2004, splurging on P.R. contracts.

Even the Nixon White House didn’t do anything this creepy. It’s worse than hating the press. It’s an attempt to reinvent it.

Ah, well, actually, Nixon did it, too… I have a story to tell I don’t think I’ve told here before…

When I finished my freshman year at Claremont in California and before transferring to Northwestern to go into journalism, I was told that someone was hiring young reporters to cover the presidential campaign. Spending the summer in California covering an election — who could pass that up? So I went on the interview.

It turned out that it was the Committee to ReElect the President, aka CREEP, that was trying to hire young “reporters” carrying credentials for a made-up news agency to get press access to all of the other side’s campaign appearances; they were to record the speeches and events and report back to the Nixon campaign.

Of course, I said no.