Clipped From Warren Times-Mirror and Observer
<N h- 05 M u CU X E (U > o Z CO "O « u 3 -C h 0> > k. a> « x: T3 C CO cc > Nixon : The People Know If there is any sincerity on the part of government officials to reduce government spending and reduce an annual deficit that grows with each passing year, the place to start, it would seem, would be in the public relations departments, especially those of the executive branch. While accredited news reporters in the nation’s capital number something over 300, government PR personnel ready and willing to serve them with affirmative information numbers well over the 3,000 mark. In fact, public relations and public information for the executive branch alone is estimated to cost the taxpayer over $400 million annually This is more than is spent to operate the entirety of the legislative and judicial branches. And if federal expenditures are considered on the whole for publicity, news, views, publications and special pleadings the cost is double the combined costs of the news gathering by the two major wire services, the three major television networks, and the ten largest newspapers. And as Susan Schiffer, correspondent for the Westinghouse television system, puts it; you accentuate the positive and avoid the negative in dealing with the government PR men or you’re out on your ear. They suddenly forget to invite you to press conferences and government officials become unavailable. Their attitude, she says, requires the proper adversary relationship balanced with a delicate touch of tact and antagonism, cooperation and conflict. In summing up her views of what all this amounts to, it becomes apparent that even with the tremendous costs of government information services the public is getting little more than what the government wants it to know, and that is presented in a sugar-coated version produced by high-salaried public relations personnel. We can expect much talk within the next couple years of the need to reduce governmental expenditures. It will be interesting to see if the public relations and publicity corps will get the pruning it so rightfully deserves. Or will we be given a long list of reasons at $40 per word, why government expenditures must remain at their present level or even go higher? The outcome, judging from past performances, is obvious.