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Karen Ryan is a public relations specialist, and former television news reporter, who became famous for producing controversial video news releases created to promote the Medicare and education systems for the United States government. Her appearance in the video was widely shown, including her closing words, "In Washington, this is Karen Ryan reporting."
Ryan, in conjunction with the firm Home Front Communications, produced "The Government Answers Your Questions on Medicare" with funds from the Department of Health and Human Services. Many U.S. local news stations ran the segment, thinking it was a journalistic report, even though it was financed by the federal government. On May 19, 2004, the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress, said that federal laws had been violated, because federal money cannot be used for "publicity or propaganda purposes" unless authorized by Congress. The GAO declared "the video news releases did not alert viewers that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was the source."  However, as the GAO is not involved with enforcement, the ramifications of the findings are unclear.
- GAO decision - Matter of: Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services—Video News Releases (pdf) File: B-302710, May 19, 2004
- Karen Ryan Group web site
- Karen Ryan Sourcewatch profile
- New York Times - Under Bush, a New Age of Prepackaged TV News
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette article
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