CORRUPTION IS RAMPANT AND OUT OF CONTROL
'Although both [public affairs] and [military information operations] conduct planning, message development and media analysis, the efforts differ with respect to audience, scope and intent, and must remain separate.'
-- Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a letter to top military officials
|Mainstream Media is Pentagon's Propaganda Arm|
Infowars.com | December 1, 2004
by Violet Jones
"The first casualty when war comes is Truth"-- U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson, 1917
The Pentagon's use of the mainstream media to perpetuate lies and disinformation to influence not only the enemy we are engaging but the American people as a whole has been ongoing.
As recently as July of this year, we ran a flashback report on the Office of Strategic Information (OSI), of which The New York Times reported that the Defense Department had paid the Rendon Group, a Washington-based international consulting firm, ,000 per month to help the OSI with a broad campaign that would include "black" propaganda, or disinformation.
The London Telegraph reported in February of 2004 that a "Pentagon source, who asked not to be named, said there were some European nations that "sometimes needed to be helped to see the light." The OSI would be used for such purposes.
PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror
The use of misleading information as a military tool sparks debate in the Pentagon. Critics say the practice puts credibility at stake.
WASHINGTON — On the evening of Oct. 14, a young Marine spokesman near Fallouja appeared on CNN and made a dramatic announcement.
"Troops crossed the line of departure," 1st Lt. Lyle Gilbert declared, using a common military expression signaling the start of a major campaign. "It's going to be a long night." CNN, which had been alerted to expect a major news development, reported that the long-awaited offensive to retake the Iraqi city of Fallouja had begun.
In fact, the Fallouja offensive would not kick off for another three weeks. Gilbert's carefully worded announcement was an elaborate psychological operation — or "psy-op" — intended to dupe insurgents in Fallouja and allow U.S. commanders to see how guerrillas would react if they believed U.S. troops were entering the city, according to several Pentagon officials.
In the hours after the initial report, CNN's Pentagon reporters were able to determine that the Fallouja operation had not, in fact, begun.
"As the story developed, we quickly made it clear to our viewers exactly what was going on in and around Fallouja," CNN spokesman Matthew Furman said.
In the hours after the initial report, CNN's Pentagon reporters were able to determine that the Fallouja operation had not, in fact, begun.
"As the story developed, we quickly made it clear to our viewers exactly what was going on in and around Fallouja," CNN spokesman Matthew Furman said.
Officials at the Pentagon and other U.S. national security agencies said the CNN incident was not an isolated feint — the type used throughout history by armies to deceive their enemies — but part of a broad effort underway within the Bush administration to use information to its advantage in the war on terrorism.
The Pentagon in 2002 was forced to shutter its controversial Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), which was opened shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, after reports that the office intended to plant false news stories in the international media. But officials say that much of OSI's mission — using information as a tool of war — has been assumed by other offices throughout the U.S. government.
Although most of the work remains classified, officials say that some of the ongoing efforts include having U.S. military spokesmen play a greater role in psychological operations in Iraq, as well as planting information with sources used by Arabic TV channels such as Al Jazeera to help influence the portrayal of the United States.
Other specific examples were not known, although U.S. national security officials said an emphasis had been placed on influencing how foreign media depict the United States.
These efforts have set off a fight inside the Pentagon over the proper use of information in wartime. Several top officials see a danger of blurring what are supposed to be well-defined lines between the stated mission of military public affairs — disseminating truthful, accurate information to the media and the American public — and psychological and information operations, the use of often-misleading information and propaganda to influence the outcome of a campaign or battle.
Several of those officials who oppose the use of misleading information spoke out against the practice on the condition of anonymity.
"The movement of information has gone from the public affairs world to the psychological operations world," one senior defense official said. "What's at stake is the credibility of people in uniform."
Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said he recognized the concern of many inside the Defense Department, but that "everybody understands that there's a very important distinction between information operations and public affairs. Nobody has offered serious proposals that would blur the distinction between these two functions."
Di Rita said he had asked his staff for more information about how the Oct. 14 incident on CNN came about.
One recent development critics point to is the decision by commanders in Iraq in mid-September to combine public affairs, psychological operations and information operations into a "strategic communications" office. An organizational chart of the newly created office was obtained by The Times. The strategic communications office, which began operations Sept. 15, is run by Air Force Brig. Gen. Erv Lessel, who answers directly to Gen. George W. Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.
Partly out of concern about this new office, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, distributed a letter Sept. 27 to the Joint Chiefs and U.S. combat commanders in the field warning of the dangers of having military public affairs (PA) too closely aligned with information operations (IO).
"Although both PA and IO conduct planning, message development and media analysis, the efforts differ with respect to audience, scope and intent, and must remain separate," Myers wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Times.
Pentagon officials say Myers is worried that U.S. efforts in Iraq and in the broader campaign against terrorism could suffer if world audiences begin to question the honesty of statements from U.S. commanders and spokespeople.
"While organizations may be inclined to create physically integrated PA/IO offices, such organizational constructs have the potential to compromise the commander's credibility with the media and the public," Myers wrote.
Myers' letter is not being heeded in Iraq, officials say, in part because many top civilians at the Pentagon and National Security Council support an effort that blends public affairs with psy-ops to win Iraqi support — and Arab support in general — for the U.S. fight against the insurgency.
Advocates of these programs said that the advent of a 24-hour news cycle and the powerful influence of Arabic satellite television made it essential that U.S. military commanders and civilian officials made the control of information a key part of their battle plans.
"Information is part of the battlefield in a way that it's never been before," one senior Bush administration official said. "We'd be foolish not to try to use it to our advantage."
And, supporters argue, it is necessary to fill a vacuum left when the budgets for the State Department's public diplomacy programs were slashed and the U.S. Information Agency — a bulwark of the nation's anticommunist efforts during the Cold War — was gutted in the 1990s.
"The worst outcome would be to lose this war by default. If the smart folks in the psy-op and civil affairs tents can cast a truthful, persuasive message that resonates with the average Iraqi, why not use the public affairs vehicles to transmit it?" asked Charles A. Krohn, a professor at the University of Michigan and former deputy chief of public affairs for the Army. "What harm is done, compared to what is gained? For the first year of the war, we did virtually nothing to tell the Iraqis why we invaded their country and ejected their government. It's about time we got our act together."
Advocates also cite a September report by the Defense Science Board, a panel of outside experts that advises Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, which concluded that a "crisis" in U.S. "strategic communications" had undermined American efforts to fight Islamic extremism worldwide.
The study cited polling in the Arab world that revealed widespread hatred of the United States throughout the Middle East. A poll taken in June by Zogby International revealed that 94% of Saudi Arabians had an "unfavorable" view of the United States, compared with 87% in April 2002. In Egypt, the second largest recipient of U.S. aid, 98% of respondents held an unfavorable view of the United States.
The Defense Science Board recommended a presidential directive to "coordinate all components of strategic communication including public diplomacy, public affairs, international broadcasting and military information operations."
Di Rita said there was general agreement inside the Bush administration that the U.S. government was ill-equipped to communicate its policies and messages abroad in the current media climate.
"As a government, we're not very well organized to do that," he said.
Yet some in the military argue that the efforts at better "strategic communication" sometimes cross the line into propaganda, citing some recent media briefings held in Iraq. During a Nov. 10 briefing by Marine Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, reporters were shown a video of Iraqi troops saluting their flag and singing the Iraqi national anthem.
"Pretty soon, we're going to have the 5 o'clock follies all over again, and it will take us another 30 years to restore our credibility," said a second senior Defense official, referring to the much-ridiculed daily media briefings in Saigon during the Vietnam War.
According to several Pentagon officials, the strategic communications programs at the Defense Department are being coordinated by the office of the undersecretary of Defense for policy, Douglas J. Feith.
AMERICA'S western allies reacted with concern yesterday to the creation of a Pentagon department of propaganda aimed at planting disinformation in the media of America's friends as well as its enemies.
The organisation, which is headed by a brigadier and has about 15 staff reporting directly to the under secretary of defence for policy, is already working on ways to influence and mislead the media in a number of countries, mostly in the Islamic world, but also in Western Europe.
A Pentagon source, who asked not to be named, said there were some European nations that "sometimes needed to be helped to see the light". The existence of the OSI was revealed in the New York Times.
It was reportedly established to spread positive messages about the war on terrorism, but it would also use disinformation and misinformation to mislead friend and foe alike.
Reaction among America's allies was universally negative. One Western official said: "This sort of thing might work in countries with no sophisticated media network, but not in Europe or any other mature democracy."
A European diplomat said: "Everyone uses disinformation for military reasons, but I have never heard of using official sources to spread false information to the media of an ally."
Another diplomat said: "The Pentagon is not exactly regarded as the fount of truth and justice now, so I don't know what sort of damage to its reputation this might do if it leaked out.
"All I can see this sort of thing doing is giving a mighty good excuse to our enemies for dismissing all coalition claims as black propaganda."
Media accused of aiding U.S. propaganda
Reuters | January 1, 2004
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - It is one of the most famous images of the war in Iraq -- a U.S. soldier scaling a statue of Saddam Hussein in
Baghdad and draping the Stars and Stripes over the black metal visage of the ousted despot.
But for Harper's magazine publisher John MacArthur, that same image of U.S. military victory is also indicative of a propaganda campaign
being waged by the Bush administration.
"It was absolutely a photo-op created for (U.S. President George W.) Bush's re-election campaign commercials," MacArthur said in an
interview. "CNN, MSNBC and Fox swallowed it whole."
In 1992, MacArthur wrote "Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War," a withering critique of government and media
actions that he says misled the public after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
In MacArthur's opinion, little has changed during the latest Iraq war, prompting him to begin work on an updated edition of "Second Front".
U.S. government public relations specialists are still concocting bogus stories to serve government interests, he says, and credulous
journalists stand ready to swallow it up.
"The concept of a self-governing American republic has been crippled by this propaganda," MacArthur said. "The whole idea that we can
govern ourselves and have an intelligent debate, free of cant, free of disinformation, I think it's dead."
White House spokesman Scott McClellan denied the existence of any administration propaganda campaign and predicted the American
public would reject such notions as ridiculous.
A Pentagon spokesman also denied high-level planning in the appearance of the American flag in Baghdad. "It sure looked spontaneous to
me," said Marine Lieutenant Colonel Mike Humm.
In fact, a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that Americans were happy with Iraq war coverage,
though many wanted less news coverage of anti-war activism and fewer television appearances by former military officers.
But MacArthur insists that both Gulf wars have been marked by phoney tales calculated to deceive public opinion at crucial junctures.
BABIES AND BOMBS
On the eve of the 1991 Gulf War, Americans were asked to believe that Iraqi soldiers tossed Kuwaiti infants from hospital incubators,
leaving them to die. Not true, he says.
This time, MacArthur says the Bush administration made false claims about Iraqi nuclear weapons, charging Baghdad was trying to import
aluminium tubes to make enriched uranium and that the country was six months from building a warhead.
The International Atomic Energy Agency found those tubes were for artillery rockets, not nuclear weapons. And MacArthur says a supposed
IAEA report, on which the White House based claims about Iraqi weapons-making ability, did not exist.
"What's changed is that there's no shame anymore in doing it directly," MacArthur, 46, said of what he views as blatant White House and
Pentagon propaganda campaigns.
Cynthia Kennard, assistant professor at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism, said the Bush administration has mastered the art of
building favourable public images and shaping messages to suit its own interests.
"It's put the journalism profession in somewhat of a paralysis," said Kennard, a former CBS correspondent who covered the 1991 Gulf War.
"This is not a particularly glowing moment for tough questions and enterprise reporting."
As Harper's publisher, MacArthur oversees a 153-year-old political and literary magazine he helped save from financial ruin 20 years ago
with money from the foundation named after his billionaire grandparents, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur.
While MacArthur accuses news outlets generally of avoiding opposition stands, his own magazine has been vitriolic towards Bush,
describing the president in its May issue as a leader who "counts his ignorance as a virtue and regards his lack of curiosity as a sign of moral
But MacArthur is not troubled by the thumping patriotism displayed by cable television news outlets like Rupert Murdoch's Fox News
Channel, which leads CNN and MSNBC in viewer ratings.
"All that means is that Murdoch knows how to run a circus better than anyone else. War and jingoism always sell. But the real damage was
done by the high-brow press," MacArthur said.
"On the propaganda side, the New York Times is more responsible for making the case for war than any other newspaper or any other
He blames the Times for giving credence to Bush administration claims about the aluminium tubes. And when Bush cited a nonexistent
IAEA report on Iraqi nukes, he says, it was the conservative Washington Times -- not the New York Times or Washington Post -- that wound
up disproving the assertion.
The New York Times also reported that an Iraqi scientist told U.S. officials Saddam had destroyed chemical and biological equipment and
sent weapons to Syria just before the war.
The only trouble, MacArthur says, is that the Times did not speak to or name the scientist but agreed to delay the story, submit the text to
government scrutiny and withhold details -- facts the Times acknowledged in its article. "You might as well just run a press release. Let the
government write it. That's Pravda," he said.
New York Times spokesman Toby Usnik dismissed MacArthur's claims regarding the newspaper's war coverage as a whole: "We believe
we have covered the story from all sides and all angles."
Fox had no comment on his remarks.
Editors across the nation also worked hard to avoid the grisly images of war, especially scenes of dead Iraqi civilians and Americans, while
Europeans saw uncensored horrific images.
The Pentagon's decision to embed journalists with U.S. forces produced war footage that the 1991 war sorely lacked. But the coverage
rarely rose to the standard MacArthur wanted.
"Ninety percent of what we got was junk...I think probably five or 10 percent of it was pretty good," he said.
MacArthur says the character of the news media, and the government's attitude toward it, was best summed up by Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld at a Pentagon "town hall" meeting.
Asked by an audience member what could be done to reverse the media's "overwhelmingly negative" war coverage, Rumsfeld said: "You
know, penalise the papers and the television...that don't give good advice and reward those people that do give good advice."
MacArthur said that translated as: "You punish the critics and you reward your friends. That's what he means. That's the standard currency
of Washington journalism...To show reality becomes unpatriotic, in effect."
The Pentagon's Humm said Rumsfeld had not been talking about unfavourable reporting but about inaccurate reporting.
MEDIA CORRUPTION CONTINUES
Propaganda of The Police State
Report: PR spending doubled under Bush
USA TODAY | January 28, 2005
By Jim Drinkard
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration has more than doubled its spending on outside contracts with public relations firms during the past four years, according to an analysis of federal procurement data by congressional Democrats.
The administration spent at least million in fiscal 2004 on contracts with major public relations firms, the analysis found, compared with million in 2001, Bush's first year in office. In all, the administration spent million on public relations contracts during its first term, compared with million spent for President Clinton between 1997 and 2000. The analysis did not examine what the Clinton administration spent during its first term.
The top-spending agency during the past four years, at million, was the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The biggest federal public relations contractor in that period was Ketchum, with million.
"While not all public relations spending is illegal or inappropriate, this rapid rise in public relations contracts at a time of growing budget deficits raises questions about the priorities of the administration," said the report by the Democratic staff of the House Government Reform Committee.
The administration's public relations efforts have been under scrutiny since USA TODAY reported that the Education Department, through a Ketchum contract, paid ,000 to conservative commentator Armstrong Williams for helping to promote Bush's No Child Left Behind program.
Bush said Wednesday that he does not think taxpayer money should be used to promote administration policies in that way. "I expect my Cabinet secretaries to make sure that that practice doesn't go forward," he said at a White House news conference.
Of the arrangement with Williams, Bush said: "We didn't know about this in the White House" and he noted that there is "new leadership" at the Education Department, where Secretary Rod Paige has been replaced by Margaret Spellings, a former policy aide to Bush at the White House. "We will not be paying commentators to advance our agenda. Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet," he said.
On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher, an authority on marriage and family issues, had received two federal contracts totaling ,500 for writing brochures, a magazine article and a report and briefing government employees in support of the president's marriage initiative. That program called for redirecting welfare funds to pay for premarital counseling and abstinence education.
While doing the work for the departments of Health and Human Services and Justice in 2002 and 2003, Gallagher also wrote several columns supporting Bush's plan. One called the proposal "a no-brainer" because it could help reduce the divorce rate and cut domestic violence. In a statement, Gallagher said her work for the government had no influence on what she wrote in her columns, which reflected her long-held beliefs about marriage. "It was a mistake on my part not to have disclosed any government contract," she wrote. "It will not happen again."
According to a report on Salon.com , another columnist has been paid to promote Bush administration initiatives. Salon claims that the Department of Health and Human Services paid conservative columnist Mark McManus ,000 to back the Bush marriage agenda. The full registration-restricted article can be found here.
One day after President Bush ordered his Cabinet secretaries to stop hiring commentators to help promote administration initiatives, and one day after the second high-profile conservative pundit was found to be on the federal payroll, a third embarrassing hire has emerged. Salon has confirmed that Michael McManus, a marriage advocate whose syndicated column, “Ethics & Religion,” appears in 50
newspapers, was hired as a subcontractor by the Department of Health and Human Services to foster a Bush-approved marriage initiative. McManus championed the plan in his columns without disclosing to readers he was being paid to help it succeed.
Responding to the latest revelation, Dr. Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at HHS, announced Thursday that HHS would institute a new policy that forbids the agency from hiring any outside expert or consultant who has any working affiliation with the media. “I needed to draw this bright line,” Horn tells Salon. “The policy is being implemented and we’re moving forward.”
Bush Orders an End to Hiring Columnists
Associated Press | January 26, 2005
By SIOBHAN McDONOUGH
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush on Wednesday ordered his Cabinet secretaries not to hire columnists to promote their agendas after disclosure that a second writer was paid to tout an administration initiative.
The president said he expects his agency heads will ``make sure that that practice doesn't go forward.''
``All our Cabinet secretaries must realize that we will not be paying commentators to advance our agenda. Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet,'' Bush said at a news conference.
Bush's remarks came a day after syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher apologized to readers for not disclosing a ,500 contract with the Health and Human Services Department to help create materials promoting the agency's million initiative to encourage marriage.
Bush also said the White House had been unaware that the Education Department paid commentator and columnist Armstrong Williams ,000 to plug its policies. That contract came to light two weeks ago.
Bush said there ``needs to be a nice independent relationship between the White House and the press, the administration and the press.''
And he noted that ``we have new leadership going into the Department of Education.''
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings started this week, replacing first-term Education Secretary Rod Paige. Paige had ordered an investigation into whether Williams should have disclosed the deal to produce television and radio ads promoting the No Child Left Behind Act.
Williams has apologized, calling it a mistake in judgment to not disclose that he was being paid by the administration but insisting he broke no laws.
Gallagher apologized to readers in her column Tuesday, saying that she was not paid to promote marriage but ``to produce particular research and writing products'' - articles, brochures, presentations. ``My lifelong experience in marriage research, public education and advocacy is the reason HHS hired me,'' she wrote.
She said it never occurred to her to tell readers about her work for the government. ``I should have disclosed a government contract when I later wrote about the Bush marriage initiative. I would have, if I had remembered it. My apologies to my readers.''
In 2002, Gallagher contributed to an essay promoting marriage that appeared in Crisis magazine under the byline of Wade Horn, HHS assistant secretary for children and families.
Horn said Wednesday Gallagher was never paid to promote the president's marriage initiative in her own columns.
``We hired her because of her expertise in the area of marriage research in order to draw upon that expertise to help us develop materials related to healthy marriage,'' he said, adding that Gallagher drafted brochures and helped draft the article published under his name.
``At no time was she paid to go outside of HHS and promote the president's healthy marriage initiative,'' he said. ``The federal government hires experts all of the time. There's nothing insidious about that.''
Gallagher got another ,000 - part of which was approved while President Clinton was still in office - from a private organization called the National Fatherhood Initiative, using money from a Justice Department grant. For that 2001 grant, she wrote a report on the institution of marriage, entitled ``Can Government Strengthen Marriage?''
On Wednesday a report released by the House Committee on Government Reform looked into the use of taxpayer dollars to fund public relations campaigns.
The Bush administration spent a record million on government-funded public relations contracts in 2004 - a 128 percent increase over 2000, according to the report prepared for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other Democrats.
Democratic Sens. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey urged the investigative arm of Congress, the General Accountability Office, to expand its investigation of the Education Department's contract with Williams to include Health and Human Services and Gallagher.
Gallagher has testified twice before the Judiciary Committee in support of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage without disclosing her contract with the government, the senators said in a letter to the U.S. Comptroller General David Walker.
``This abuse by HHS is just another in a long list of similar incidents of paid policy advocates supporting Bush Administration policies,'' the senators wrote.
LA Times | January 17 2005
By David Shaw
President BUSH has repeatedly attributed the 9/11 terrorist attacks — and, for that matter, virtually all hostility directed toward the United States by the Islamic world — to their envy and resentment of our way of life, our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. "They … hate America because we love freedom," he said in Minneapolis 10 months to the day after 9/11.
This is, of course, self-serving claptrap that ignores the reality that Islamic extremism is, to a great degree, a reaction to "several decades of specific policy disagreements with the U.S.," as James Fallows of the Atlantic Monthly told me last year.
But as appalled as I am by Bush's willful misreading of history, I'm even more upset by his hypocrisy. He seems determined to destroy the very foundations of American democracy that he insists are our bulwark against our enemies and the cause of our enemies' hatred of us. He launched a preemptive war against Iraq by lying to the American public. He helped create an atmosphere in which the torture of enemy prisoners in violation of the Geneva accords was tolerated, if not encouraged. And his administration has consistently tried to subvert our free press by masking government propaganda as legitimate news and opinion.
The most recent example of the Bush administration's attempts to manipulate the media — and the American public — came to light about 10 days ago, when USA Today disclosed that the Education Department, working through a public relations firm, had paid an African American media pundit ,000 to promote the president's No Child Left Behind Act with minority groups.
Armstrong Williams, a conservative commentator, promoted the law on his syndicated television program and in his syndicated newspaper column without disclosing that he was being paid by the Department of Education to do so.
This violates the most basic journalistic ethics, and Tribune Media Services, which syndicated Williams' column (and which is a subsidiary of Tribune Co., owner of the Los Angeles Times), announced that it would stop syndicating his column.
Because several federal laws prohibit the use of taxpayers' money to influence congressional action or polices of the U.S. government, prominent members of Congress are now demanding an investigation.
In a week when the big media story has been the report on how CBS and "60 Minutes" screwed up a story on Bush's National Guard service, I've been surprised by the relatively little attention given to the Armstrong Williams story. This is not to minimize in any way the shamefully unprofessional behavior of CBS. But the Bush administration has behaved even more shamefully — consistently — and used our tax dollars to do so.
Continuing illegal activity
The Williams case was not the administration's first effort at covert propaganda.
Shortly after 9/11, reports began to circulate that the administration's Office of Strategic Influence was planning to plant false news stories in the international media. In 2002, amid much controversy, the office was shut down. But as my Times colleague Mark Mazzetti subsequently reported, "much of OSI's mission — using information as a tool of war — has been assumed by other offices throughout the U.S. government."
In fact, Mazzetti wrote last December, "a young Marine spokesman near Fallouja appeared on CNN [on Oct. 14] and made a dramatic announcement" signaling the beginning of "the long-awaited offensive to retake the Iraqi city."
But the Fallouja offensive did not start until three weeks later. The CNN announcement, Mazzetti said, was "an elaborate psychological operation … intended to dupe insurgents in Fallouja and allow U.S. commanders to see how guerrillas would react if they believed U.S. troops were entering the city."
This, Mazzetti wrote, was "part of a broad effort underway within the Bush administration to use information to its advantage in the war on terrorism."
Although using misinformation or disinformation to deceive one's enemies has long been an accepted military tactic, deceiving our own news media and the American public in the process is quite another matter.
The Bush administration has not limited its use of propaganda to the battlefield.
Early last year, several news stations around the country broadcast a story on plans for a White House advertising campaign on the dangers of drug abuse. But the "journalist" who reported this story was not a journalist, and his report was actually produced by the Bush administration.
The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, ruled that this amounted to illegal "covert propaganda."
Last May, the GAO said the Department of Health and Human Services violated two federal laws when it created fake news footage to support the administration's Medicare drug benefit bill.
Last week, the GAO criticized the Bush administration for distributing prepackaged "news" reports, including a "suggested live intro" for local anchors to read, interviews with Washington officials and what the Washington Post called "a closing that mimics a typical broadcast news signoff."
TV stations knew these "stories" were put together by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, but viewers didn't.
"What is objectionable about these," said Susan Poling, managing associate general counsel at the GAO, "is the fact that the viewer has no idea their tax dollars are being used to write and produce this video segment."
Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), calls it "particularly outrageous that the government continues to engage in this sort of illegal activity despite the fact that the GAO has said that it is illegal.
"The question now is how extensively has the administration used propaganda to shore up its controversial policies," Sloan said. "Did it pay any commentators to speak out in support of the Patriot Act? Is it paying anyone now to convince the public that Social Security is in crisis?"
Shaping the news
In an effort to answer these questions, CREW last week filed a series of Freedom of Information Act requests with 22 government agencies, asking for copies of every contract they have with public relations firms.
All administrations try to manipulate the news media and shape the nation's news agenda. They do it by controlling access to the president and other top officials, by timing their announcements, by leaking selectively and — like any other institution or agency, public or private — by trying to put the best face on everything they do.
By the sheer force of his personality — and the prevailing mores of the time — President Kennedy was able to keep news of his philandering out of the media during his lifetime and well beyond.
President Reagan used his charisma — and sophisticated Madison Avenue advertising and public relations techniques — to so cow the news media that when Mark Hertsgaard wrote his book on Reagan and the press, he titled it "On Bended Knee."
But few administrations have actually tried to subvert the news media and use taxpayer dollars to mislead the American public as blatantly as has the Bush administration. When you combine those efforts with Bush's record of media avoidance — he had fewer news conferences in his first term than any first-term president since William Howard Taft — it becomes clear that for all his speechifying about American freedoms, he has no in
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A syndicated columnist, who has repeatedly supported the Bush administration's push for a million initiative to encourage marriage, also had a ,500 federal contract to help promote the proposal, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Maggie Gallagher had a ,500 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services. It ran from January through October 2002 and included drafting a magazine article for the department official overseeing the initiative, the Post reported.
"Did I violate journalistic ethics by not disclosing it?" Gallagher was quoted as saying Tuesday. "I don't know. You tell me."
Later in the day, Gallagher filed a column in which she said: "I should have disclosed a government contract when I later wrote about the Bush marriage initiative. I would have, if I had remembered it. My apologies to my readers."
The author of three books on marriage, Gallagher is president of the Washington-based Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, a frequent television guest and has written on the subject for such publications as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Weekly Standard.
Gallagher told the Post that her situation was "not really anything near" the recent controversy involving commentator Armstrong Williams. Earlier this month Williams apologized for not disclosing a ,000 contract with the Education Department, awarded through a public relations firm, to promote Bush's No Child Left Behind law through advertising on his cable TV and syndicated radio shows and other efforts.
The Language of Deceit: A Case Study
Randy Lavello October 26 2003
As Israel's role in furthering the ambitious New World Order takeover begins to clarify, it's important to understand the method of deception. Of course, anyone criticizing the state of Israel's policies is labeled "Anti-Semitic"; but that's just the tip of the iceberg. The tactic employed here is a blurred distinction between "Jewish" and "Israeli." The mainstream media will have us believe they mean one and the same, however they are quite separate entities.
If one criticizes the actions of the Italian government, is he Anti-Christian? If one criticizes the actions of India, is he Anti-Hindu? When criticizing the United States' rogue government, are we Anti-White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant? Why then are those who criticize Israel immediately labeled "Anti-Semite?" Is Arial Sharon considered the leader of worldwide Judea? It is, of course, easier to claim that a person's viewpoint is stemmed from irrational hatred than to dispute an obvious truth. With the mainstream media - "Jewish" and "Israeli" will always mean the same thing.
I received an email from Bryon Rankin, a reader who was in debate with a friend over some conflicting information between the Anti-Defamation League, and my previous article "Bombs in the Building." In my article I related the fact that ZERO Israelis were killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center, while more than eighty nations were represented among the dead. Mr. Rankin sent me a page from the ADL stating: "Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, a rumor circulated on the Internet claimed that 4,000 Jews did not report to work, or "called in sick" that morning. It suggested that no Jews died because they somehow had foreknowledge of the attack. There are several variations of this rumor, including one suggesting that Israel was behind the attacks. Such rumors are absurd. Among those who died in the collapse of the Twin Towers were scores of Jews." Instead of disputing the fact that no Israelis were in the towers that terrible morning, the ADL sidesteps the truth, and states that "scores of Jews" were killed. This is obviously a very misleading argument… a dastardly tactic to compare apples and oranges, as such.
Even more despicable, is the ADL's racist statement that Arabs are behind these rumors: "These rumors appear to have originated in the Arab world. They are among several conspiracy theories being circulated in the Arab and Muslim media, as well as on Web sites and bulletin boards, that Israel or the Jews - and not Arab terrorists - were responsible for the attacks on September 11." Here the beast shows itself; the Anti-Defamation League just stereotyped and accused a whole ethnicity… I guess the ADL is only concerned with defending "racism" directed against one group. Is this not perfect poetic justice? Is this not comically hypocritical?
Let's review some incriminating facts of September 11, 2001, using the term "Israeli" in it's proper place, and not the broad term "Jewish." According to CNN, no Israelis were killed in the World Trade Center, even though the September 12 Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli embassy in the U.S. received more than 4,000 calls from worried Israeli families. More disturbing was the FBI investigation of Odigo, an instant messaging company based in Jerusalem, whose workers received warning of the attacks two hours before impact! The ninth largest shipping company in the world is run by the Israeli government and is named Zim Israel Navigational; this company moved out of the World Trade Center one week before the attack, with its roughly 200 workers! And what of the five Israelis dancing, celebrating, and photographing the destruction from across the Hudson River? Two had worked for Mossad, and they were driving a moving truck. Upon investigation of the moving company they claimed to work for, it was discovered that whoever had worked there was gone, and had left in a hurry! Is the truth "Anti-Semitic"? More properly, the truth points accusingly directly at Israel… more narrowly, the Israeli government, likely involved with rogue sources inside the U.S. government.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1945, we were all urged to "Never Forget." We now know that FDR and his administration knew the attack was coming. That said: let us never forget the lesson in deception. We've all seen the 9/11 bumper stickers which read "Never Forget." Well, we should never forget! We should never forget that Israel had foreknowledge of the events, we should never forget that the Bush Administration had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, we should never forget who benefited most from the "war on terror." For once I can agree with "conventional wisdom" (which is to say lack of wisdom entirely) and recommend that we "never forget," as I will not forget, nor forgive the deeds of these demented parasites. Though they may try to hide behind deceptive words and noble gestures, what we are dealing with is the lowest form of life - the cowardly parasite.
Randy Lavello welcomes your comments at PAINTBOX17@aol.com
Previously by this author: The Wisdom of the Parasite: Growth Through Misfortune
Israeli calls for "regime change" in Iran and Syria
Will War Ever End ?
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