Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bush Budget Pumps Propaganda, Slashes PBS

The most recent twist of Bush's budgetary knife lays bare the White House's real information priority: Fake news trumps honest reporting.

Out of his depth

ON MONDAY, President Bush released plans to inject more tax dollars into the government's propaganda machinery while slashing the budget for the nation's public broadcasters.

Bush's proposed 2007 budget calls for a $671.9 million for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency that supervises all US government non-military propaganda. Bush’s budget also cuts by more than $53 million money set aside for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the agency that allocates federal money for NPR, PBS and other federally funded media.

The amount allocated to the BBG is a 4.3 percent increase from the agency's 2006 budget with monies specifically "targeted to the war on terror," according to a Monday news release. These tax dollars would flow to government mouthpieces including the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.

The propaganda earmark exceeds Bush's proposed federal budget for public broadcasting by more than 90 percent. The White House proposal seeks to slash the CPB's 2007 appropriation from $400 million to $346.5 million.

The budget also proposes to "zero out" an additional $65 million that local public broadcasters had requested to help pay for digital TV conversion and the costs of upgrading public broadcasting's satellite interconnection system. These cuts would hobble NPR and PBS stations' ability to deliver the investigative reporting and in-depth news and information that's absent from the programming of their commercial counterparts.

This twist of Bush's budgetary knife lays bare the White House's information priority: Fake news trumps real reporting.

Out of his depth
And who better to deliver the news than propaganda errand boy Kenneth Tomlinson. The disgraced former public broadcasting czar still retains a seat atop the BBG.

"In the post-Katrina budget environment, we are fortunate to get an increase that strengthens our role in the war on terrorism," he said in a release from the propaganda agency. Tomlinson's duplicity is laid on thick here. You may recall he was shown the door at the public broadcasting agency last November after an internal investigation exposed Tomlinson’s efforts to impose a Bush-friendly agenda on PBS, NPR and other publicly funded programming.

We thought we had seen the last of Ken then. Not so. The latest White House move still puts Tomlinson on the receiving end of Bush's propaganda dividend.


chuckbushnow said...

.............IMPEACH ..............

Chris said...

Really great catch, Timothy-- hope this discrepancy gathers further notice.

granny said...

I presume these numbers are on top of the cash he has stocked away for things like aircraft carrier landings and lighting up neighborhoods for a single press conference?


David said...


I have to take some issue with your characterization of all broadcasting under the BBG as "propaganda."

I have been with the Voice of America for nearly 20 years, and in that time my job has been to write news - not propaganda.

We get the news pretty much the same way other broadcasters do - from AP, AFP, Reuters, Washington Post, New York Times, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World report and - of course - from our own correspondents in the field.

I have been to events where I have stood next to the wire reporters in the mixed zone . We have helped one another with quotes, we have shared audio, we have basically done what journalists do - report on what's happening.

However, sadly, the proud journalistic tradition and the independence VOA has sought to maintain over the years has in recent years been sold off to the highest bidder.

Westwood One head Norman Pattiz - a Clinton apointee - eviscerated VOA's Arabic service and gave us Radio Sawa and Al Hurra television - two multimillion dollar entities that seem to be noticably absent from your post. Both entities - are regarded as "U.S. Propaganda" by thought leaders in the Arab world.

The Bush Adminsitration has in recent years tried to put its pressure on VOA's coverage, with Gov. Tomlinson and others seeking use what was designed as a way to inform countries that do not have free media into something to push the Republican (Bush) agenda.

Now the BBG thinks that broadcasting to Iran will keep the Iranians from building a nuclear weapon or supporting Hamas.

Of course the official bureaucrats who run things will deny any of this is true. What I know is that a culture of fear and intimidation has been cultivated inside what was once a great place to work.

The latest decision is to eliminate VOA's main English broadcasts so taxpayer dollars can be spent on expanding Farsi Broadcasting, in addition to pouring more money in Al Hurra and Radio Sawa. English was one of the first languages in which VOA broadcast, but now - if Tomlinson and the other BBG members have their way - English will largely go silent.

Anonymous said...

You silly Dems just don't get it; we Fathers who have been maligned by the pc pbs crowd, well, we actually write to our political representatives and we actually vote and we are becoming a politically significant voice. If Move On would move in our direction we would appreciate the help but instead you move toward increased VAWA funding and dad bashing tv programing. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

I have a problem with ,anyone saying stop abortions, then voting to slash , the bugget ,for funds ,to financing,for the under privilidged,and mental health care, & foster homes . when its time to trim the budget ( welefare is the first to get slashed)( just to mention a few) Exactally what do they want to do with these children. we have trillions of orphants, & unwanted children.They didnt ask to be here. So what do you propose ,we do with them?

Anonymous said...

Bush and his Asshole friends are Un-American. PLEASE VOTE IN THE FALL TO GET THE HOUSE BACK!

Anonymous said...

Is it really a 25% cut or is this an instance of baseline budgeting deception?

It'll be interesting to see if the number is legitimate or not.

For example, in the past if an organization had a reduction in the rate of growth it gets reported as cuts.

As an example, if an organization has $75m budget one year and a projected budget of $100 which gets reduced to an $80m budget the media will report it as a 20% cut even though the actual budget grew.