Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Bush: Propaganda a Laugh

I Just Play Your President on TV

Here's the latest from Washington's propaganda follies. Sadly, Bush thinks it's all a joke. His Justice Department gives the thumbs up to more fake news reports, despite a congressional report that they are breaking federal laws that prohibit the covert spread of government propaganda. What’s more disturbing is a DC press gaggle that laughs along with a joke told at its expense.

It seems our president takes America's legal system about as seriously as he does our free press. Meanwhile, the best the media can do is to provide the laugh track to their own demise:

QUESTION: Mr. President, earlier this year you told us you had wanted your administration to cease and desist on payments to journalists to promote your agenda. You cited the need for ethical concerns and the need for a bright line between the press and the government. Your administration continues to make the use of video news releases, which are prepackaged news stories sent to television stations, fully aware that some or many of these stations will air them without any disclaimer that they are produced by the government.

The comptroller general of the United States this week said that raises ethical questions. Does it raise ethical questions about the use of government money to produce stories about the government that wind up being aired with no disclosure that they were produced by the government?

BUSH: There is a Justice Department opinion that says these pieces are within the law so long as they're based upon facts, not advocacy. . . . And I expect our agencies to adhere to that ruling, to that Justice Department opinion. This has been a longstanding practice of the federal government to use these types of videos. The Agricultural Department, as I understand it, has been using these videos for a long period of time. The Defense Department, other departments have been doing so. It's important that they be based upon the guidelines set out by the Justice Department. Now, I also -- I think it would be helpful if local stations then disclosed to their viewers that this was based upon a factual report and they chose to use it. . . But evidently in some cases that's not the case.

QUESTION: But the administration could guarantee that's happening by including that language in the pre-packaged report?

BUSH: You mean a disclosure, "I'm George W. Bush and I..."


QUESTION: Well, some way to make sure it couldn't air without the disclosure that you believe is so vital.

BUSH: You know, Ken, I mean, there's a procedure that we're going to follow and the local stations ought to -- since there's a deep concern about that -- ought to tell their viewers what they're watching.


Tom said...

While I don't agree personally with the use of VNRs, they have been used for a long time by various administrations. If our news media has made the decision to not even put a small bit of text in the corner of the screen saying something like "Source: So and So Department" then they're just as complicit in pushing propaganda on the American people.

This is a situation, however, where instead of just coming out and saying "Yes, this is a problem and there is a lack of transparency, I'll have my people take care of it," the government and the President is simply taking advantage of the "stupid factor" (I mean that in the least insulting manner, truly) that some people believe there is across the population, and choose to let them run because the gov't agrees that the point will get across. Unfortunately, they're right.

Jon Koppenhoefer said...

The use of VNRs--no matter how great an American tradition--is abominable and displays the incestuous relationship between media owners and the government that regulates them.

Bush makes a joke because it IS a joke, to him and his fellow Masters of the Universe.

The electorate seem to have less interest in this than in the celebrity trials that fill the airwaves, and the only news we get is filtered through late-night talk shows and spoofs like The Daily Show.

To me it is more proof of the complete corruption of American political culture, and underscores the irony of George W Bush selling the virtues of 'democracy' to the Middle East.

He should practice what he preaches.

Anonymous said...

To say that you know it's propaganda and at the same time that it's a tradition is in fact to say you really have no excuse. Slavery was a tradition too and we some how found a way to right that wrong--why can't we do the same here?

Anytime the President has to go hiding behind the skirts of his lawyer, you know he's pulling a fast one.

It's wrong, it's against the law (despite his legal department's untested hypothetical rationalizations) and it's purposeful complicit deception.

And this from our "values" President? Spin again.

Liberal Chrystie said...

Thanks! I seen that today, and heard those laughs. No rocket scientist here, but I figured it out as it was going down.

A disgrace. When is this country going to wake-up!

Let's hope sooner before later. Some Prez. Makes me sick. We the people are being made fools out of in so many ways, is it any wonder he's laughing all the way to the Halliburton Bank on us all.

Wake-up American's. Like Germany said recently, "We had our Hitler, now you have your's!"

To cite from "Sting," "I hope they love their children, too."

"There are none so blind as those who will not see."

Mad Dave said...

The United States runs the largest propaganda machine ever devised. It is effective because our professional propagandists are smart, well-educated and adhere strictly to the following doctrine:
1. A lie well told and stuck to works better than the truth.
2. A lie that is not refuted within 24 hours is generlly accepted as the truth. (Publish it on Friday afternoon of a long weekend.)
3. Great lies are more readily accepted by the public than are small ones - and they are more effective.
5. When faced with an inescapable Freedom of Information Request, shrilly cry "National Security" and redact, redact, redact!
4. When cornered, re-tell the basic lie IAW Rule #1, above
5. When all else fails, deny, obfuscate and offer up a low-ranking sacrificial scapegoat.

That said, a tax-payer-funded lie can nearly always be crippled - if not destroyed - by a determined search of the Internet, our own alternative press and/or foreign press. Unfortunately most people simply accept the words of - for example - Cal Thomas or Rush Limbaugh as gospel and feel no need to look farther.

Extra credit: Do you wonder why the GOP wants to de-fund NPR and PBS?

Anonymous said...

Some 40 years ago, I lived in Tanganyika which was then vavering between communism and capitalism. Both the russians and the americans were unceasing in their propaganda, and most people knew it for nothing but propaganda.Now the American public suddenly realizes that the government is indulging in propaganda?Wake up!If you want to hear unbiased news look up the BBC.

Anonymous said...

Once we understand how necessary it is for propaganda to be adjusted to the broad mass, the following rule results:
It is a mistake to make propaganda many-sided, like scientific instruction, for instance. The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan. As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered. In this way the result is weakened and in the end entirely cancelled out. Thus we see that propaganda must follow a simple line and correspondingly the basic tactics must be psychologically sound. --Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. One, Ch. VI.