WASHINGTON: Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) have introduced legislation that would mandate disclosure of sources on all government produced prepackaged news stories, or VNRs.
"The American people deserve to know that they're not just watching the administration's spin on their local newscasts ? they're paying for it, too," said Kerry in a statement. "It's one thing to watch Jon Stewart on television. It's another to imitate him with Americans' hard-earned tax dollars."
The proposed Lautenberg-Kerry Truth in Broadcasting Act would establish permanent federal law requiring VNRs to feature a disclaimer that would run continuously throughout the piece.
The act follows last year's legal ruling by the Government Accountability Office, which determined that government VNRs that don't disclose their source are illegal "covert propaganda."
According to a press release from Sen. Kerry's office, Senate commerce committee chairman Ted Stevens has committed to holding a hearing and a markup on the bill in early May.