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FROM THIS EPISODE

Turning on your television to catch up on the day's news, you watch a 90-second report which tells you that there is evidence of new and better security at every airport in the US. What you aren't told is that this is a -video news releases," produced by the Transportation Security Administration. The reporter's name is fictitious, created by the public relations firm hired to make the film. Despite President Bush's recent call for a definitive split between government publicity and journalism, 30 government agencies are in full swing, producing short promotional videos and farming them out to TV news organizations. Guest host Diana Nyad examines how much of today's television news we can really trust with commercial and government news producers, advocates for journalistic excellence, and an expert in political damage control.
  • Making News: Bernard Ebbers Convicted on All Counts
    Yet another corporate scandal has ended in a "guilty" verdict. Today, Bernard Ebbers was convicted on nine counts of fraud and other crimes that pushed Worldcom into the largest bankruptcy in US history. Financial writer Brooke Masters, who is covering the trail for the Washington Post, offers some background as well as details on today's judgment, which could land the "telecom cowboy" up to 85 years in prison.
  • Reporter's Notebook: Judge Rules California Can't Bar Gay Marriage
    There was dancing in the street late into the night, just hours after San Francisco Judge Richard Kramer came down on the side of legal marriage for gays and lesbians. Massachusetts is the only state to stretch the terms of marriage as a union beyond a man and a woman. Josh Richman of the Oakland Tribune says that if yesterday's decision skates through the appeals process, California may follow suit.

Masters' article on Ebbers trial, verdict

Government Accountability Office

MediaLink Worldwide

New York Times article on prepackaged TV news

Poynter Institute

To the Point segment on CBS News, Armstrong Williams and Media Credibility

Judge Kramer on marriage cases

California's Proposition 22 (Knight Initiative, 2000)

President Bush's call for constitutional amendment protecting marriage

Richman's article on yesterday's ruling regarding gay marriage

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