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GAO: Drug ads amount to propaganda

Washington, DC, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The top congressional watchdog group has ruled prepackaged news stories by the U.S. drug control agency are propaganda because they are not identified.

The comptroller general of the Government Accounting Office ruled the Office of National Drug Control Policy violated a federal prohibition on propaganda when it released the news stories and videos produced using public funds.

The central issue, the GAO said in a statement Thursday, was that the ONDCP did not identify itself to the viewing audience as the producer and distributor of the news stories and videos.

The prepackaged items closely resembled television news programs, including a narrator who said he or she was reporting on a news conference and other events. The office also provided television news programs with suggested lead-in and closing remarks to bracket the story.

The GAO decision came in response to an inquiry by Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and John Oliver, D-Mass.

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