Kathleen writes "The GAO report, Unattributed Prepackaged News Stories Violate Publicity or Propaganda Prohibition was released on May 12, 2005.
Susan A. Poling, Managing Associate General,
Counsel, Office of General Counsel conclueds" HHS (Health and Human Services) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy(ONDCP) both commissioned and distributed prepackaged news stories and introductory scripts about their activities that were designed to be indistinguishable from news stories produced by private news broadcasters. In neither case did the agency include any statement or other indication in its news stories that disclosed to the television viewing audience (the target of the purported news stories) that the agency wrote and produced those news stories. In other words, television-viewing audiences did not know that stories they watched on television news programs about the government were, in fact, prepared by the government. We therefore concluded that those prepackaged news stories violated the publicity or propaganda prohibition." [p.7]
A pdf version is here.