Advocacy Groups Blur Media Lines
Some Push Agendas By Producing Movies, Owning Newspapers
By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 6, 2004; Page A01
The Madison County Record, an Illinois weekly newspaper launched in September that bills itself as the county's legal journal, reports on one subject: the state courts in southern Illinois. A recent front page carried an assortment of stories about lawsuits against businesses. In one, a woman sought $15,000 in damages for breaking her nose at a haunted house. In another, a woman sued a restaurant for $50,000 after she hurt her teeth on a chicken breast.
Nowhere was it reported that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce created the Record as a weapon in its multimillion-dollar campaign against lawyers who file those kinds of suits....
... The National Rifle Association, which already has a national radio show, is thinking about buying its own radio stations...
... The National Rifle Association believes more lobbying groups will mimic traditional media formats or buy them outright to disseminate their viewpoints. If the NRA buys radio stations it won't bother to label them with its name. "We wouldn't need to any more than NBC needs a disclaimer that it's General Electric-produced or than ABC needs a disclaimer saying it's Disney-produced," said Wayne LaPierre Jr., the NRA's executive director.
"I hope everybody gets into the media business and, I think, many interest groups will," LaPierre said. "We have as much right to be at the table delivering news and information to the American public as anyone else does."
Caveat emptor is the catchprase of the libertarian century.
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