GSA Denounces Self-Produced ‘Parody’ Videos

Agency produced about 20 videos, but only ‘the silliest’ have been shared
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WASHINGTON—The U.S. General Services Administration has denounced several training videos it produced that are based on movie parodies, calling those videos an example of agency “misjudgment.”

The GSA is the second federal agency this year to have produced training videos that are parodies, and in a written statement, the agency said the videos are “another example of past GSA practices and an already recognized pattern of misjudgment spanning many years and administrations.”

In addition, Dan Tangherlini, the head of GSA, has referred the “videos to the inspector general for further review,” the statement said.

On July 2, Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, made the existence of the videos public. Using the Freedom of Information Act, Judicial Watch obtained more than a half-dozen videos from the GSA in which senior agency officials and staff are shown participating in costumed playacting and parodies.

Examples of those videos include “The Leasefather,” a parody of the 1972 movie “The Godfather,” in which GSA employees promote new initiatives and talk about agency practices; “The Rocky Jog,” in which music from the 1976 movie “Rocky” is playing as senior GSA officials lead employees on an extended jog through the corridors of the GSA’s New York office and the streets of Manhattan; and “Sherlock Holmes,” in which GSA employees are dressed as the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson and they talk.

Those videos and others were on the GSA’s website for public viewing, but they were removed not long after the release of an April 2012 report by the Inspector General’s office that is critical of GSA spending, according to Judicial Watch.

In addition, a GSA spokesman who declined to be identified told Government Video that 20 training videos were produced, but only “the silliest” were shared with Judicial Watch.

The GSA is the second agency this year to be criticized for producing training videos that are parodies. In March it was made public that the Internal Revenue Service had produced at least two such videos based on the 1960s television series “Star Trek” and “Gilligan’s Island” at a cost of about $60,000. The IRS has since denounced those videos.

However, unlike the IRS videos, the GSA spokesman said no professional company was involved with the production of the videos making it difficult to ascertain their cost. He added that if there are any costs involved, it is not very much.

Click here to view some of the GSA videos.


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Producing and Programming on a Shoestring-in Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska has about 280,000 residents, a local government access channel (Channel 10), a closed circuit fire training cable channel, a public education Web site, live cablecasting of municipal assembly meetings, satellite downlinks, and video Web production. by James Careless