Saturday, April 30, 2005

Kerry Fights Government Propaganda!

In 1949, George Orwell (1903-1950) wrote of a "dystopia" where lies were truth, war was peace, and news was manufactured by the government.


Cover of George Orwell's 1984

In an excerpt from 1984, the process of the creation of government propaganda is described:
And the Records Department, after all, was itself only a single branch of the Ministry of Truth, whose primary job was not to reconstruct the past but to supply the citizens of Oceania with newspapers, films, textbooks, telescreen programs, plays, novels-with every conceivable kind of information, instruction, or entertainment, from a statue to a slogan, from a lyric poem to a biological treatise, and from a child's spelling book to a Newspeak dictionary. And the Ministry had not only to supply the multifarious needs of the Party, but also to repeat the whole operation at a lower level for the benefit of the proletariat. There was a whole chain of separate departments dealing with proletarian literature, music, drama, and entertainment generally. Here were produced rubbishy newspapers, containing almost nothing except sport, crime, and astrology, sensational five-cent novelettes, films oozing with sex, and sentimental songs which were composed entirely by mechanical means on a special kind of kaleidoscope known as a versificator.
But with life imitating art, this President has led an Administration intent on avoiding access to the President by newspersons, denying the public information, and even manufacturing the news.

The similarities have been so amazing that Daniel Kurtzman has suggested that President Bush should be charged with plagiarism! In a very biting article, Kurtzman states:
As President Bush wages his war against terrorism and moves to create a huge homeland security apparatus, he appears to be borrowing heavily, if not ripping off ideas outright, from George Orwell. The work in question is "1984, " the prophetic novel about a government that controls the masses by spreading propaganda, cracking down on subversive thought and altering history to suit its needs. It was intended to be read as a warning about the evils of totalitarianism -- not a how-to manual.
Only now, under threat of a Freedom of Information lawsuit, have photographs of hundreds of caskets been released to the public.

It was this Administration that facilitated a phony reporter named James D. Guckert aka Jeff Gannon, in the White House Press Pool who would lob the President leading questions.

It was this Administration who paid Armstrong Williams $241,000, to write propaganda supportive of President Bush and "No Child Left Behind".

And when Jack Higgins, the Inspector General of the Department of Education, tries to investigate the Administration's funding of Armstrong, the Bush Administration blocks him and prevents him from getting the facts. As was explained:
But White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the department's inspector general, who is investigating, lacks the authority to interview White House staff.
But perhaps the most egregious violation of the anti-propaganda laws has been the issuing of pre-packaged "video news releases" (VNR), that appear to be actual news and have been run as news in the main stream media.

Even the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has rebuked this Administration. As Comptroller General David M. Walker stated:
Within the last year, the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, has rapped the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Department of Health and Human Services for distributing prepackaged news stories that do not disclose within the story that the government is the source of the material.

"[T]elevision-viewing audiences did not know that stories they watched on television news programs about the government were, in fact, prepared by the government," Walker wrote. "We concluded that those prepackaged news stories violated the publicity or propaganda prohibition."

But the Bush Administration continues to spin the news. President Bush stated:
"It's deceptive to the American people if it's not disclosed," Bush told the American Society of Newspaper Editors on Thursday. "But it's incumbent upon people who use them to say, 'This news clip was produced by the federal government.'"
But in fact, the government didn't do this at all. In fact, with more phony reporters a la Jeff Gannon, they released videos that appeared to intentionally mislead the American people:
The Office of National Drug Control Policy, for example, released a series of videos in which a narrator, sometimes identified as "Karen Ryan," said she was "reporting" on the office's activities. Separately, the Health and Human Services Department's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services produced video news releases, also narrated by "Karen Ryan," touting changes to Medicare.

The tapes were offered to local television stations for news programs. Some stations aired the videos without identifying their government origins.
At the White House, the spin continued:
The White House Office of Management and Budget on March 11 countered that the GAO report "fails to recognize the distinction between covert propaganda and purely informational video news reports."

And what about Senator Kerry? Has John Kerry had anything to say or do about this?

Senator Kerry, on his government website states:
“I am really looking forward to the hearing on our bill. The American people deserve to know that they're not just watching the administration's spin on their local newscasts -- they're paying for it, too. It’s one thing to watch Jon Stewart on television. It’s another to imitate him with Americans' hard-earned tax dollars. In a time of record-budget deficits, we need to address this abuse of the public trust and waste of money,”
As reported by the Kerry site on April 28, 2005:
Today, Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced legislation to address “covert propaganda” produced by the government. The legislation would require all “prepackaged news stories,” or video news releases, produced by the Administration to contain a disclosure of the source of the material.
Thank you Senator Kerry! The Freedom of the Press guaranteed to every American generation, must be preserved. Thomas Jefferson said it best, when commenting on the corrupt governments of the past who have abused the press to advance their own political agendas. He stated:
" The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers... [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper." --Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp, Oct. 13, 1785. (*) ME 5:181, Papers 8:632

America Deserves Better! Keep up the fight John! We have your back!

Bob

3 Comments:

Blogger Marie said...

Wow! I'm going to have to read Dystopia! Thanks for that excellent analogy. Thats the best part of blogging, finding great information like this.

best wishes marie

11:14 PM  
Blogger BobsAdvice said...

Marie,

Thank you again for your continued support of my writing and always your kind words! What we have to say is so important that I do not wish to reduce it to slogans or rants but try so hard to bring together facts.

Again I thank you.

Bob

12:07 AM  
Blogger BobsAdvice said...

P.S., I believe "Dystopia" was just a 'figure of speech'. This is sort of a 'dysfunctional' UTOPIA, the book written by Sir Thomas More in 1515.

Just a point I wanted to clear up if you hadn't done so already.

Bob

11:19 PM  

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