Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mr. Bush’s covert propaganda.

I stumbled across a year old article in NYT about the Bush administration and the propaganda machine they built using our tax dollars. I heard last year about Armstrong Williams, the reporter who got paid $241,000 by the department of education in order to praise Bush’s education policy. But I was never aware by the extent of this unethical and misleading approach.

In fact it seems that the US government through dozens of its agencies is becoming a rival to Hollywood producers by producing fictions or fake reports concerning many subjects, even false interviews!!!! These pre-packaged news report are given to TV producers for free who under pressure of budget or for other unethical reason broadcast it as if it is exclusivity and never mention the origin of these reports!!!

Here are a few excerpts from the article:”Under Bush, a New Age of Prepackaged TV News

It is the kind of TV news coverage every president covets.

"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.

Under the Bush administration, the federal government has aggressively used a well-established tool of public relations: the prepackaged, ready-to-serve news report that major corporations have long distributed to TV stations to pitch everything from headache remedies to auto insurance. 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.

Local affiliates are spared the expense of digging up original material. Public relations firms secure government contracts worth millions of dollars. The major networks, which help distribute the releases, collect fees from the government agencies that produce segments and the affiliates that show them. The administration, meanwhile, gets out an unfiltered message, delivered in the guise of traditional reporting.

Confronted with such evidence, most news directors were at a loss to explain how the segments made it on the air. Some said they were unable to find archive tapes that would help answer the question. Others promised to look into it, then stopped returning telephone messages. A few removed the segments from their Web sites, promised greater vigilance in the future or pleaded ignorance

The explanation begins inside the White House, where the president's communications advisers devised a strategy after Sept. 11, 2001, to encourage supportive news coverage of the fight against terrorism. The idea, they explained to reporters at the time, was to counter charges of American imperialism by generating accounts that emphasized American efforts to liberate and rebuild Afghanistan and Iraq

United States law contains provisions intended to prevent the domestic dissemination of government propaganda. The 1948 Smith-Mundt Act, for example, allows Voice of America to broadcast pro-government news to foreign audiences, but not at home. Yet State Department officials said that law does not apply to the Office of Broadcasting Services. In any event, said Richard A. Boucher, a State Department spokesman: "Our goal is to put out facts and the truth. We're not a propaganda agency."


pure_honey_tounsi said...

c'est impressionnant de voir de quoi ces gens sont capables!

je me rappelle du film WAG THE DOG, sorti il y a quelques années avec Dustin Hoffman et Robert De Niro, qui montre comment la maison blanche fait appel à des spécialistes de l'image de marque ou des producteurs d'hoolywood pour créer des menaces de guerre fictives, dans le but de camoufler un scandale impliquant le président. Tout est permis pour donner de la crédibilité à leurs histoires inventées.

je crois que la réalité n'est pas si loin de la fiction :-)

Anonymous said...

I found another article that deals with media censorship and what it all means for our future. I'm deeply concerned about where we're headed when private PR firms are helping government "look good". An unsuspecting public is easily fooled.