Uh, Hooray for Transparency? Government Propaganda Now Legally Available in America


Never forget! |||

Via Drudge comes this Foreign Policy article about how July 2013 marks the the first month in decades that the United States government has been legally cleared to broadcast its vast overseas propaganda broadcasts inside America:

For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government's mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts. […]

[Broadcast Board of Governors spokeswoman Lynne Weil said] that the reform has a transparency benefit […]. "Now Americans will be able to know more about what they are paying for with their tax dollars—greater transparency is a win-win for all involved," she said. And so with that we have the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, which passed as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, and went into effect this month.

In a world where Bruce Springsteen's "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" is not only a terrible song but a woefully inadequate depiction of our audiovisual plenty, there's something to be said about doing away with the fiction that television programming can be contained within geographical borders. And Reason's Greg Beato, for one, makes a good argument that this reform indeed exposes government to much-needed scrutiny.

Still, this move is part of a protracted and alarming degradation of an important taboo. Americans used to hold as a value that we not become like them, even while fighting wars cold and hot against totalitarians unbothered by civil libertarian niceities. Now, government propaganda has become the rule, not the exception, particularly as concerns the international and domestic selling of America's overseas wars. Never forget that a Yemeni journalist who exposed a deadly U.S. attack against women and children sits rotting in jail partly due to the direct intervention by President Barack Obama:

American politicians should not use our taxpayer dollars to lie, period. It's immoral, misused to cover up misdeeds, produces self-defeating feedback loops of bad information, and makes a mockery of the very values we claim to champion. Which is a lesson partisans of both major political tribes need reminding.

Reason on propaganda here.

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  1. Now I don’t need to download the torrent of this propaganda streamed from a mud hut in Afghanistan.

    1. Though you have to wonder how that mud hut can stream video while my phone completely loses signal if I get too close to the border.

  2. Who gives a shit? A guy was acquitted in a local self-defense case – that’s a WAY more important thing to take to the streets over! NO JUSTICE NO PEACE YES PROPAGANDA

  3. It’s sad how our government has become that which it once stood against.

  4. How do you suppose Democratic partisans are going to pretend that this isn’t awful and undemocratic? My bet it that they’ll say it is needed to counter the propaganda of the evil corporations and their enablers. And that once everything is explained adequately, everyone will love Obama and the federal government and see why it is absolutely essential that they keep doing everything they do forever, plus a bunch of other stuff.

    1. Sad, but accurate.

    2. Now Tony won’t even bother showing up to this thread.

    3. Of course it’s democratic, it’s produced by the government, which is US! Or owns US! one of those.

      Besides, it’s just Rethuglican propaganda. They snuck it into the NDAA and MADE Obama (PBUH) sign it.

    4. Blame the Great Kochtopus for this. If they weren’t out there running ALEC and the media outlets and controlling the narrative, the government wouldn’t have to step in to correct the market. It’s capitalism that got us to this unbalanced place where Faux News dominates, and it is We The People who will tip the scales of Social Justice back where they belong.

      1. The sad thing is you could copy/ paste this comment word for word into a Huff Post or Dail Kos article and probably get a thousand “likes.”

  5. Earlier this morning, on MSNBC(!), there was a commercial with some woman blabbering a big sob story about her terminally ill baby. And she says, “Before Obamacare, insurance companies could actually impose a LIFETIME EXPENDITURE CAP on insured medical care. But now they can’t, YAY! because my little baby blew threw the cap befoe she was even a year old, but now you suckers are all on the hook for keeping my child with a grossly unsurvivable birth defect breathing for as long as the doctors want her as a science project!”

    When I heard it, I had one of those WTF? moments; you know, “Wait, what? Did I really just hear that?”

    It’s all clear to me now.

    1. Wonder if anyone is working on cataloging the propanda that comes out of this.

      1. I am as pro-panda as they come, buddy.

        1. My typing ability has degenerated greatly. I don’t even have an excuse.

          Ask your doctor if Propanda? might be right for you!

    2. Sad things aren’t allowed to happen anymore, the people have voted that they don’t like them and it just shouldn’t be so.

    3. Don’t jump to conclusions, Brooksie. That very well may have been an MSNBC-funded ad.

    4. I’m confused. Shouldn’t they just have aborted it?

      1. + 1 coat hanger

      2. That question should be answered only by the parents.

        But it’s quite possible that with Obamacare you’ll see more parents choose to not terminate pregnancies knowing that unlimited free medical care is available.

    5. I thought cases like this were what the DEATH PANELZ!!!!11!!! were for. Oh wait, those are for deciding what to do with old people who aren’t even useful as science projects anymore. Nevermind.

  6. The Top Men Broadcasting Corporation: Because fuck you, that’s why!

  7. It is amazing how incompetent and stupid liberals are. For years they have had this wonderful thing. They have had a legal ban on government propaganda. This has allowed them to conduct all kinds of government propaganda campaigns in the name of public service while still maintaining plausible deniability. For example, endless propaganda about healthy eating, tobacco and other such is not propaganda. That is illegal. That is just good science and public service. It was a great bait and switch. But liberals are so stupid and arrogant they have now repealed the law and their propaganda will now be called what it is.

    1. You sound like a Limbaugh sheep moron. What do liberals have to do with anything?

      1. Come on Tony, you are turning into shreek. Christfag and Limbaugh are his moves not yours.

        1. Braying about liberals on a topic that has nothing specifically to do with liberals is pure Limbaugh. Talk about being the victim of propaganda. You might as well be referring to liberals as cockroaches.

  8. American politicians should not use our taxpayer dollars to lie, period.

    They see themselves as speaking truth to power. It’s the moral equivalent of putting flowers in gun barrels.

    1. American politicians should not use our taxpayer dollars to lie, period.

      Actually, they shouldn’t use it to tell us the truth either…except for placing it all in the Congressional record. Other than that, there should be no broadcasting of or by the government, period. No PSA’s, no propaganda, nothing. Because it skews peoples’ opinions and sends the false message that the government is there to solve peoples’ problems and answer questions, when their only real duty is to defend the Constitution, deliver the mail (even if that shouldn’t be in there), protect us from our enemies and run the courts.

      1. I am sympathetic to that argument. But two things. First, I still am okay with emergency broadcasts.If the Russkies finally shoot a nuke or there is a tornado coming, I am fine with the government telling me that.

        Second, the government should print and release some information. Otherwise, how is anyone to know what they are doing?

        1. First, I still am okay with emergency broadcasts.If the Russkies finally shoot a nuke or there is a tornado coming, I am fine with the government telling me that.

          “The National Weather Service has declared an Affordable Care Act Warning in your area. Act immediately by visiting your state’s ACA Exchange web site to make sure you’ve got all of the coverage and discounts you’re entitled to.”

          Damn, wanted that to be over the top, but I could almost see it happening.

          1. So could I. But I still want to know when the tornados are coming.

            1. Then look out your window or tune in to Dallas Raines. Their radar systems are every bit as good as the NWS’s.

        2. In the highly unlikely event of a nuke attack, sure, they can broadcast a warning.

          To your second point, that’s what the congressional record and IG’s reports are for. And they should be made 100% public and list every employee and their duties/accomplishments for each year. More often than not, those are kept secret, which should be criminal.

    2. They see themselves as speaking truth to power stupid.

      FTFY. Sorkin really did let the mask slip bigtime on that one.

      1. I like how she’s talking about “civility” and “respect” immediately prior to the “speaking truth to stupid” line.

        I don’t know about you, but my favorite part about the post-Giffords “eliminationist rhetoric” and civility concern trolling witchhunt was watching it seamlessly transform into “Tea Party Taliban hostage-taking terrorists are holding a gun against the heads of the American people and trying to end life on this planet as we know it because they’re making it impossible to spend any money.”

  9. WTF do liberals or Democrats have to do with anything? You guys are walking knee jerks. The NDAA passed unanimously in the Senate–and there’s a hell of a lot more to be pissed about in that law than updating an anti-propaganda regulation from the 1940s to the Internet age. Every civil libertarian group and many “liberal” newspapers opposed this NDAA for many reasons other than this–which if you’re angry about it’s because some blogger somewhere misunderstood what it is.

    1. Hee hee. What’s it like to have such an ordinary, narrow brain? I bet it’s fascinating being you.

      1. Libertarians: mastering the art of intellectual douchebaggery one lame insult at a time.

        1. Is each thought tiresome, like pawing through wool? Or do you just not realize how hard it is, like someone who lives in mud and just doesn’t notice?

          1. Tell me again how climate change is a hoax and how tax cuts pay for themselves.

            1. *yawn*

              Gosh, I was hoping for a little sport today, but Rien.

            2. How high are you? The climate change thread and the tax policy threads are somewhere else.

              But let’s not a little thing like staying on topic stop you from arguing with the voices in your head.

              1. *let a little thing…

        2. I take offense to that. I can make multiple lame insults at a time.

          For instance, I can call you a pedophile and a mindless dickface at the same time.

          1. You didn’t actually do it at the same time, because there is an ‘and’ between two insults. In order to do it at the same time, you’d have to clone yourself or something and have both clones say ‘Tony is a pedophile’ and ‘Tony is a mindless dickface.’ Then you could do it at the same time.

            Do you see?

            1. See, this is what double posts are for.

        3. Tony| 7.15.13 @ 11:15AM |#
          “Libertarians: mastering the art of intellectual douchebaggery one lame insult at a time.”

          Shithead: Making it all too easy.

    2. WTF do liberals or Democrats have to do with anything? You guys are walking knee jerks.

      Do you mean John in particular, or are you arguing with the voices in your head as usual?

  10. Ask your doctor if Propanda? might be right for you!

    An, now, with Obamacare, it’s FREE!


  11. blew threw


    The skwerlz changed it. I’d never make a mistake like that.

  12. Tell me again how climate change is a hoax and how tax cuts pay for themselves.

    He’s got us, boys. Throw down your guns and surrender.

    1. Well, I would hope that tax cuts pay for themselves, or else the government might have to cut spending.


  13. Now Americans will be able to know more about what they are paying for with their tax dollars – greater transparency is a win-win for all involved…

    Paging Barfman…

  14. Look, this is old news. They’ve been running propaganda here for decades. Look at all the press releases that the head of the DEA puts out. Everyone knows this goes on.

    Plus its completely legal, Congress knows about it and has appropriate oversight so I don’t see what the big deal is.

    1. This message is approved by Diane Feinstein.

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