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White House News Service

February 03, 1985

Although Washington is called the news capital of the world, T.G. Charouhas (Letters, Jan. 25), who has been away in foreign countries where some governments operate their own news services, is worried that our presidents aren't getting their message across.

He agrees with the Reagan Administration, which is considering a White House news service. But since Americans already can easily obtain as much Administration point of view as they care for, such a service would be superfluous at a time when we have been promised a cut in needless government expenditures.

It would also be the last in a steady increase in government information activities that may vary from useful census data to sheer military propaganda, as described in former Arkansas Sen. J.W. Fulbright's "The Pentagon Propaganda Machine."

Investigative reporting by the Associated Press a few years ago revealed that 6,858 government employees were engaged in "public information, news, views and self-pleadings."

These government expenditures amounted to twice the total budgets of the two domestic wire services, plus the three major networks, plus the 10 largest newspapers.

Quite true, there are nations where the leader can command that all his speeches be printed in full. We might vote, however, that this is no guarantee that they are avidly read or agreed with.

Here at home, the President now gets most of the news coverage of federal government activities, especially now that television takes full advantage of every "picture opportunity" he offers.

A White House press service would be only a further concentration of influence in the Executive Branch and a dangerous precedent.

WENDELL W. NORRIS

Del Mar

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