Call It What It Is: Propaganda
He hired a press officer and began issuing press releases. Knowing the media loved a good story, Roosevelt press-agented himself by arranging photo ops of him sitting at the controls of a steam shovel at the Panama Canal and riding in a submarine.
Even before Wilson’s CPI came into being, Congress was not happy to have the president and executive agencies using public relations techniques to persuade the public. “This press-bureau business is a sort of political campaigning,” one legislator complained in 1913. Congress hounded Roosevelt to force his secretary of the Panama Canal Committee, a former journalist, to stop his public relations activities. It passed laws forbidding executive agencies to hire “publicity experts” or to use advertisements, telegrams and other means of mass communications to stoke public pressure on legislators to vote for or against any particular pending legislation.
Congress took a run at writing guidelines in 2001, when it passed the Information Quality Act. Rather than revise the few existing policies, it instead directed agencies to adopt policies “ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated.”