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Good news, everyone. The US administration has been discovered making “hundreds” of news reports saying what a wonderful job it’s doing, and then getting them broadcast on local news stations without any acknowledgment that they are government propaganda.

This is beyond “making the Government’s case”. This is beyond arguments about “left” and “right”. This is about the deployment of psyops on your own population, and, as such, has Dick Cheney’s oily pawprints all over it.

Together with the revelations earlier this year that some reporters had been writing in support of the administration while not revealing that they’d accepted payments from the administration to do so (and the fact that the White House had their own man in the press corps to pitch them easy questions, although the revelation that he was also probably a gay hooker at least allows for some comic relief), we’re privileged to be watching the complete usurpation of a functioning free press. It’s part of a wider process of “strengthening the presidency”, which includes shrugging off any Congressional oversight, blocking all access to presidential papers (either your own or your dad’s, in direct opposition to the practice established in the 1970s of open access to all presidential papers)—basically dispensing with every inconvenient democratic process and opportunity for scrutiny that remained in the political process.

And no-one gives a fuck [about the fake news reports - Clarity Ed.].

Truly. No-one’s doing a thing. Most Americans appear to be either too terrified, weary, ignorant or indolent to care. “Your democracy is crumbling from the inside!” “Yeah, but you gotta expect that, we’re at war. And at least Bush doesn’t flip-flop.” Scare and bewilder your population enough—and take them to war and keep them there—and they’ll be in your grasp.

This is what Cheney has understood and put into action, and that is why he is Hermann Goering with an SUV. I don’t sound off about him just because he’s a “red-meat” kind of guy, or because he looks a bit mean, but because he’s a war-profiteering son of a tar-blooded bitch who is playing out his darkest fantasies and trying his damnedest to drag us all with him to hell. Even his own heart keeps trying to kill him.

Many Americans and pro-Americans get very teary-eyed about the Constitution and the Dec of Ind. “We the people”, blub, it’s so beautiful, etc. Well, yes it is, and it’s all very noble (apart from how come “we the people” didn’t appear to include “you the slaves”? But that’s just nitpicking), but they shouldn't let their gummy tears blind them to the fact that at this rate—with this administration's malevolent intent, and no will among the population to stop them—there’ll scarcely be a shred of any of it left.



Under Bush, a New Age of Prepackaged Television News

New York Times, Sunday 13 March 2005

"Thank you, Bush. Thank you, U.S.A.," a jubilant Iraqi-American told a camera crew in Kansas City for a segment about reaction to the fall of Baghdad. A second report told of "another success" in the Bush administration's "drive to strengthen aviation security"; the reporter called it "one of the most remarkable campaigns in aviation history." A third segment, broadcast in January, described the administration's determination to open markets for American farmers.

To a viewer, each report looked like any other 90-second segment on the local news. In fact, the federal government produced all three. The report from Kansas City was made by the State Department. The "reporter" covering airport safety was actually a public relations professional working under a false name for the Transportation Security Administration. The farming segment was done by the Agriculture Department's office of communications.

[…] In all, at least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense Department and the Census Bureau, have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the past four years, records and interviews show. Many were subsequently broadcast on local stations across the country without any acknowledgement of the government's role in their production.

This winter, Washington has been roiled by revelations that a handful of columnists wrote in support of administration policies without disclosing they had accepted payments from the government. But the administration's efforts to generate positive news coverage have been considerably more pervasive than previously known...



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 6th, 2005 09:25 pm (UTC)
basically dispensing with every inconvenient democratic process and opportunity for scrutiny that remained in the political process.

And no-one gives a fuck.

Truly. No-one’s doing a thing.

I really don't agree with you here - unless you mean it in the specific context of the story you post above. The Democrats on Capitol Hill have just fought a long and arduous battle against Republican attempts to end scrutiny of Supreme Court appointments, and this is far from the only battle they're fighting. There's some very real, and very interesting, psephological evidence that the Amercian people are turning away from the policies of Bush and other right-wing Reps in the Congress at the always enlightening Donkey Rising blog. I'm trying not to get too teary eyed as I write this...
Jun. 6th, 2005 09:42 pm (UTC)
No, okay, you're absolutely right. (*Again* with the reasonable...!) In the heat of the moment I elided two separate points.

1) Bush/Cheney are gnawing away at the heart of government, and even with their opponents putting up a fight over scrutiny I'm not sure there's anything anyone can really do - just sigh and maybe make a couple of wistful comments to the press as the administration's nomination heads off to wreak more havoc wherever they're sending him. This shit is going to take generations to fix. That's assuming it can be fixed at all, so long as someone doesn't take Dick to see Revenge of the Sith and he starts getting ideas about literally ripping apart the Senate.

2) Hardly anyone apart from the odd apoplectic blogger (including, now, me) appears even to be making a peep about this propaganda thing - despite the fact that, as I'm sure you know, the US actually has laws specifically forbidding the Government from using propaganda on its own people.

Also, as we know, the fact that people don 't support the policies of Bush/Cheney/Vader etc rarely stops them from implementing them. I sincerely hope that the Democrats will soon be a position to challenge all this - i'm just concerned that too much damage will have been done and it might be hard to reverse it. (I'll be intrigued to see how long it takes, if indeed it's ever possible, to see GWB's presidential papers...)
Jun. 6th, 2005 11:03 pm (UTC)
the fact that people (A) don't support the policies (B) of Bush/Cheney/Vader (C) etc rarely stops them (C) from implementing them (B) -- (Clarity Ed.)
Jun. 6th, 2005 11:06 pm (UTC)
Re point (1) (man, it's like Committee all over again - " with reference to point 1, little (a)...") There is something that can be done to stop Bush and Cheney, inasmuch as the more they lean to the right, the more they piss off liberal Reps in the Senate. Now there aren't millions of these, but the Rep majority in the Senate is so narrow that it only takes about 6 or 7 to vote against what they're doing to stop them. Not much good for legislation, which Bush can veto (although this is always a bit of a desperate option for a President) but plenty good for any crazy constitutional changes they might want to make, like, say stuffing the Supreme Court full of headbangers.

Now, the propaganda thing is interesting, but these things sometimes take time to penetrate the public consciousness. There's an interesting moment in "All the President's Men" where Ben Bradlee berates Woodward and Bernstein in the run-up to the 1972 US election (which Nixon won by a landslide) citing some opinion poll that showed that 72 per cent. of the population had never heard of Watergate.

It'll be interesting to see how the Dems do in the mid-terms next year. Given that Bush has spent most of his time up til now focusing on unpopular domestic policies like privatising social security, the Reps may have some major problems.

One of the recurring topics I mentioned on the blog I linked to earlier is how the Republican party, if not tearing itself apart, is in a state of high tension, between the fiscal conservatives, who look at the spiralling costs of Iraq, and the trillion dollar deficit with horror, to say nothing of Bush's cavalier attitude towards Congress, profitable scientific research and pretty much everything, and the nutty religious right - who generate a lot of heat, don't actually represent that many Americans in the grand scheme of things, but on whom Bush is reliant for at least half of his votes. Of course, Bush can still do plenty of damage in the mean time, but sooner or later the chickens will come home to roost.
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