Washington editor, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
WASHINGTON – The drug czar’s office didn’t break a federal law with its packaged anti-drug news stories that were narrated by fake journalists, Rep. Mark Souder, R-3rd, said Friday. But the video news releases sent to hundreds of TV stations in the past three years should have made clear that they were produced at taxpayer expense, he said.
Souder, who chairs a subcommittee that oversees national anti-drug programs, said the General Accountability Office was wrong when it ruled that the Office of National Drug Control Policy violated the law by sending the pre-packaged news stories to TV stations without disclosing to viewers that the government had produced them.
The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, said the anti-drug video news releases were “covert propaganda” and violated a ban against publicity and propaganda.