Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Ghost in the Media Machine

Paid for by you
"State-run media" is a phrase normally reserved for regimes such as North Korea that manipulate and censor all public information.

Media in the United States were thought to be immune to such autocratic control, but recent maneuvers by the Bush administration should make Americans wonder how free our press actually is.

Earlier this year, several "journalists" were exposed as propagandists on the White House payroll. We then learned that broadcasters routinely air government-funded video news releases without disclosing their source; the White House has set aside a quarter billion taxpayer dollars to hire public relations firms and infiltrate our news system with fake news.

A handful of media reformers, including my organization Free Press, are leading the campaign to reveal the extent to which government propaganda has violated laws and compromised media newscasts, and press lawmakers and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to prosecute those in the White House that have used tax dollars to spread fake news.

Their actions come none too soon. 2005 has become a banner year for propaganda. In early January, the $240,000 Armstrong Williams took from the Department of Education headlined national news. Covertly paying journalists to flack for government policies is not only outrageous, it's illegal. The Williams case sparked a public outcry, compelling more than 40,000 people to write the FCC and demand that the agency launch a probe. Other journalists have since admitted being on the take.

In March 2005, the New York Times ran a front page article documenting widespread government efforts to create official video news releases that are cloaked as real news and broadcast to millions of unsuspecting Americans. At least 20 federal agencies have used this tactic distributing hundreds of government-produced news segments via local TV outlets.

A Sept. 30 report by the Government Accountability Office found the White House violated federal law by buying favorable news coverage in advance of the 2004 elections. This is the fourth time the GAO has uncovered the White House's illegal use of taxpayer money to produce "covert propaganda."

These violations may just form the tip of the iceberg. The administration has more than doubled its public relations budget, tapping a quarter billion in taxpayer dollars since Bush came into office. And while the report is damning, the GAO doesn't have enforcement powers to reveal the full extent of the abuse.

Some in Washington have taken up the call for further action. But they have yet to raise this issue beyond a probe into a few bad actors -- such as Williams -- to finger the real source of the problem. In April, Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and John Kerry (D-MA) introduced the "Truth in Broadcasting Act" that would ensure that all propaganda contains announcements to inform viewers that it is a product of the US Government.

Minority calls for a propaganda probe have sounded a hollow echo through the halls of the Justice Department. Washington remains under the thrall of the majority Republican Party, which would rather ignore this simmering scandal than demand that justice be served.

While justice may be blind, presidential appointee Gonzalez is not.

GAO and the Justice Department, the administration's controlling legal authority, have not seen eye to eye on covert propaganda in the past, specifically on the issue of unidentified packaged video news releases. GAO says VNRs are illegal; Justice says the releases are not, so long as they are fact-based. Worseover, Gonzalez's Justice Department appears unwilling to take the next step: a criminal investigation into the administration’s use of millions of taxpayer dollars to push fake news upon Americans.

The official silence speaks volumes. Without popular dissent, an emboldened White House will continue to throw up obstacles to full disclosure. It is now up to the public to do what our elected officials are unwilling or unable to: pressure our government to enforce the law and stop propaganda crimes.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Get a life! The Clinton years were the worst in history for faking news, yet I don't think any fake news is as bad as the fairy tale told by Dan Rather about President Bush's National Guard service. This White House is saintly compared with the grubby group of slimeballs that squatted there in the 1990s. Witness: Paul Begala, James Carville, Anne Lewis, Mike McCurry, Sidney Blumenthal, Al Gore, Sandy Berger, Madeline Albright, and, worst of all, Hillary Clinton (billing records, cattle futures, etc.) I agree this stuff should have been dealt with back then, but either the press corps was too stupid to know fake news when they heard it, or else they were so much in love with Hill and Bill they swallowed the Clinton vomitus without question. We're seeing the consequences of a dumbed-down, highly partisan, brain-dead corps of elitist press snobs who think journalists know everything. . . WRONG! The real people in this country know better, and the poor press poll numbers show it. Nobody trusts the press anymore, anyway.

cb said...

right! Because the press didn't fall hook line and sinker for all the scurrilous rumors dredged up by right-wing fanatics obsessed with real estate deals and years-old infidelity rumors. Because there's no difference at all between a reporter going with a story which turns out to be untrue and a government using tax dollars to create fake news for media outlets desperate for material (who, strangely enough trust their elected leaders not to steer them wrong).

Oh wait, that's crap, complete and utter crap. And you can get off the journalists-are-elites bandwagon, that horse was beaten to death years ago -- funny, a working journalist earning $40K a year for 60 hours a week and burdened with college debt is an "elite," while pandering millionaire demagogues like Hannity, O'Reilly and Rush are somehow speaking for the common man.

Journalists don't know everything. Just more than you.

canada said...

Sounds like a quikie response by the powers that be that EXACT ghost in the machine that you speak about, timothy... great article.
Smarten-up everyone... grab the bush-bull by the horns or it'll be too late (just look at the poor sods in New Orleans who paid with their lives).

Anonymous said...

recette de cuisine | skype | tablature guitare | tarot | telecharger acrobat | telecharger antivirus | telecharger antivirus gratuit | telecharger chanson | telecharger clone cd | telecharger codec divx | telecharger divx | telecharger divx gratuit | telecharger divx gratuitement | telecharger divx player | telecharger emoticone | telecharger emoticone gratuit | telecharger emule | telecharger emule gratuit | telecharger e mule gratuit | telecharger emule gratuitement | telecharger e mule gratuitement | telecharger fr | telecharger kazaa en francais | telecharger kazaa gratuit | telecharger kazaa gratuitement | telecharger kazaa lite | telecharger logiciel divx telecharger messenger | telecharger messenger 7.5 | telecharger mp3 | telecharger msn 7.5 | telecharger msn 7.5 francais | telecharger msn gratuitement | telecharger msn mesenger | telecharger msn messager | telecharger msn messenger 7.5 | telecharger msn messenger 8.0 | telecharger msn messenger gratuit | telecharger msn messenger gratuitement | telecharger msn plus | telecharger music mp3 | telecharger musique gratuite | telecharger nero | telecharger nero 6 | telecharger nero gratuit | telecharger nero gratuitement | telecharger norton antivirus | telecharger norton antivirus 2005 | telecharger shareaza | telecharger shareaza gratuit | telecharger shareaza gratuitement | telecharger skype | telecharger winamp | telecharger winzip | telecharger winzip gratuit | telecharger yahoo messenger | winmx | zodiaque | zone alarm ad aware | antivirus | antivirus gratuit | bitdefender | blague blonde | blague humour | clone cd | edonkey | emule | emule telecharger | firewall | horoscope chinois | jeux a telecharger | kazaa | kazaa lite | kazaa lite telecharger | kazaa telecharger | logiciel antivirus | logiciel a telecharger | messenger 7.5 | messenger msn | mp3 gratuit | mp3 telecharger | msn 7.5 telecharger | msn-messenger 7.5 | msn messenger 7.5 telecharger | msn telecharger | musique mp3 | nero | nero 6 | nero burning | nero burning rom | norton 2005 | norton antivirus 2005

Anonymous said...

astuceacuraaston martinad awareantivirusantivirus en lignealbumsastrologieantivirus gratuitadobe acrobatastuce jeu videoalbumassurance autoacrobatastrologie gratuiteantivirus a telechargerantivirus gratuit a telechargeralfa romeo brera

Anonymous said...

telecharger emuletelecharger emule gratuitement telecharger emule gratuit emule telecharger telecharger e muletelecharger e mule gratuitement telecharger e mule gratuit e mule telecharger telecharger kazaa litetelecharger kazaa lite gratuitement kazaa lite telecharger telecharger kazaa lite 2.43 gratuit telecharger kazaatelecharger kazaa lite telecharger kazaa gratuit telecharger kazaa gratuitement nouvelle version msnmsn nouvelle version telecharger la nouvelle version de msn nouvelle version msn messenger msn messengermsn web messenger msn messenger 7.5 messenger msn telecharger msn messenger 7.5telecharger msn messenger 7.5 gratuitement msn messenger 7.5 telecharger telecharger gratuitement msn messenger 7.5 telecharger msn messenger 8msn 8 msn messenger 8 msn 8 beta telecharger messenger 7.5telecharger msn messenger 7.5 telecharger msn messenger 7.5 gratuitement msn messenger 7.5 telecharger parole chansonparole de chanson francaise parole et chanson traduction de parole de chanson partition pianopartition piano gratuite partition gratuite piano piano partition partition guitarepartition gratuite guitare partition guitare gratuite partition guitare classique partition musiquepartition musique gratuite partition musique amelie poulain partition musique classique parole chansonchanson rire et chanson chanson francaise zone alarmzone alarm pro zone and alarm telecharger zone alarm anti spyware gratuitanti spyware microsoft anti spyware xp anti spyware ad awaread aware 6.0 ad aware personal telecharger ad aware telecharger antivirustelecharger antivirus gratuit telecharger norton antivirus antivirus telecharger telecharger antivirus gratuitantivirus gratuit a telecharger telecharger antivirus norton gratuit antivirus telecharger gratuit modèle de tatouagetatouage modèle modèle tatouage tribal modèle tatouage gratuit tatouagetatouage tribal modèle tatouage photo tatouage hennetatouage au henne henne tatouage henne cheveu recette de cuisinecuisine recette recette cuisine recette de cuisine facile recetterecette crepe recette gateau chef recette recette cuisinerecette cuisine facile recette cuisine italienne recette cuisine marocaine pouletrecette poulet tagine de poulet poulet basquaise clone cdcrack clone cd clone and cd telecharger clone cd telecharger mp3 gratuittelecharger musique mp3 gratuit mp3 gratuit telecharger mp3 telecharger gratuit musique mp3mp3 gratuit musique telechargement musique mp3 mp3 musique lecteur mp3mp3 baladeur mp3 telecharger mp3 telecharger codectelecharger codec divx telecharger codec gratuit codec telecharger telecharger chansonchanson telecharger telecharger chanson gratuitement telecharger gratuitement chanson telecharger ad awaread aware ad aware 6.0 ad aware se personal msn 7.5msn messenger 7.5 telecharger msn 7.5 telecharger msn messenger 7.5