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Mar 11, 2005 - 11:55 AM

The War of the Words

by Carmen Balber
In 1938, Orson Welles' dramatization of "The War of the Worlds" sent American radio listeners into a panic when late-comers to the realistic broadcast were convinced that Martians were attacking New Jersey. Welles later apologized, concerned that anyone mistook the fictional dramatization for reality.

67 years later, Arnold has no such qualms about using fake media reports to deceive the public -- or spending taxpayer funds to do it.

The gov has used tax dollars to produce at least four fake news reports to advance the governor's political agenda that look and sound like real stories, featuring the actor-in-chief himself. But, just as Welles' 1938 broadcast would be unbelievable if heard today, the governor's nonsensical scripts don't have a plausible storyline.

According to Arnold's "news casts," lunch hour rules opposed by employee groups will "mean that [workers] can eat when they're hungry." Staffing rules opposed by nurses because they don't meet patient safety standards are "intended to assure patient safety... and improve nursing work conditions." Boards now required to meet in the open would be "more publicly accessible" when under the governor's exclusive control.

These Hollywood fictions don't report that the governor's proposals are opposed by the real people they effect and are designed to benefit the governor's big industry contributors.

It's bad enough when the gov raises $80,000 a day from big business, then turns around and promotes those industry donors' agenda in a special interest extra election. But it's inexcusable that taxpayer dollars are paying for Arnold's propaganda.

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