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Mon Jul 15, 2013, 10:33 AM

Americans Finally Have Access to American Propaganda

This discussion thread was locked as off-topic by greatauntoftriplets (a host of the Latest Breaking News forum).

Source: Atlantic Wire

A law went into effect this month that ends the ban on U.S. government-made propaganda from being broadcast to Americans. In a remarkably creative spin, the supporters of this law say that allowing Americans to see American propaganda is actually a victory for transparency.

As Foreign Policy's John Hudson explains, the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 went into effect July 2, and allows government-made news like Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks to reach Americans. These outlets "should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics," Sen. William Fulbright said in the 1970s. Fulbright and his allies said U.S. taxpayers should not have to pay for propaganda directed at them. But now the government says that's actually unfair to taxpayers. Broadcasting Board of Governors spokeswoman Lynne Weil said it's actually best for taxpayers to be able to see the propaganda, so they can serve as a check on it. "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. Likewise, a former government official said: "Previously, the legislation had the effect of clouding and hiding this stuff…. Now we'll have a better sense: Gee some of this stuff is really good. Or gee some of this stuff is really bad. At least we'll know now."

To be clear, only State Department-made news, not Pentagon-made news, will be available to Americans. Who are the targets? One example, Foreign Policy explains, is the Somali community in St. Paul, Minnesota. In Somalia, there are three choices for news, a government source said: "word of mouth, Al-Shabaab or VOA Somalia." While that's not true in Minnesota, the government still wants to reach Somalis: "Those people can get Al-Shabaab, they can get Russia Today, but they couldn't get access to their taxpayer-funded news sources like VOA Somalia... It was silly."

Read more: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/07/americans-finally-have-access-american-propaganda/67167/



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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply Americans Finally Have Access to American Propaganda (Original post)
bananas Jul 2013 OP
think Jul 2013 #1
Pholus Jul 2013 #2
leftyohiolib Jul 2013 #3
Iliyah Jul 2013 #4
Lydia Leftcoast Jul 2013 #5
KoKo Jul 2013 #6
Blue_Tires Jul 2013 #11
Proud Public Servant Jul 2013 #13
formercia Jul 2013 #7
Proud Public Servant Jul 2013 #8
pscot Jul 2013 #9
snappyturtle Jul 2013 #10
Proud Public Servant Jul 2013 #12
snappyturtle Jul 2013 #15
AsahinaKimi Jul 2013 #14
greatauntoftriplets Jul 2013 #16

Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 10:37 AM

1. propaganda makes me feel good!

well, that is if I believe it....

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 10:42 AM

2. Why am I constantly referring to what was said about Bush these days....

I guess the inertia means this stuff is finally coming to pass?

Remember the "Office of Special Plans?"

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/05/12/030512fa_fact

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 10:47 AM

3. seems like both parties have a common goal. they just differ slightly around the edges

 

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 10:47 AM

4. Propaganda-er to propagandist

and vice versus. Won't there be any real journalists any more? Probably not, since Pres Clinton reversed the fair act doctrine which open the gates to hell re: fake news.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 10:48 AM

5. It's always been possible to bring in the Voice of America on shortwave

We used to do this when I was a teenager visiting my grandmother's lake place. She had an old multi-band shortwave radio, and one of our evening amusements was seeing what stations we could bring in. VOA came in in various languages, as did Cuba and Radio Moscow, but we were really thrilled when we got "Ra-dee-oh In-do-nay-see-a."

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 10:49 AM

6. I thought this was the "Onion" until I went to the link....

I wonder if the Somalian Community in St. Paul...is only a test before they bring out the full Product! And, I thought that CNN, FOX and CLEAR CHANNEL...MURDOCH were bad enough with propaganda.

Coming Soon...the RADIO FREE AMERICA PROGRAM....beamed to you 24/7. The Antidote to RT, Al Jazerra, BBC WORLD, PRESS TV and other International sources that many American's can't get and may eventually be blocked from those who can.

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Response to KoKo (Reply #6)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:28 AM

11. The irony is as shitty as CNN is

"CNN International" is surprisingly excellent -- I happened to see it in Germany and it's in another universe as far as excellence...Sharp, concise global news, a minimum of spin, great analysis, no screechmeisters, nightly RW shills, sensationalism, meaningless fluff, etc.

If Americans of any political stripe could EVER, EVER get the ability to order it and watch the two side-by-side, they would be shocked and instantly demand better from the domestic product...

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #11)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:36 AM

13. As someone who lived overseas for years

I couldn't agree more. Understanding why is easy: domestic CNN has to compete with Fox, while international CNN has to compete with the BBC. Each behaves accordingly.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 10:53 AM

7. Early American Propaganda:


If buttercups buzz'd after the bee
If boats were on land, churches on sea
If ponies rode men and if grass ate the cows
And cats should be chased into holes by the mouse
If the mamas sold their babies
To the Gypsies for half a crown
If summer were spring
And the other way 'round
Then all the world would be upside down!

The legend that this was played at the surrender was manufactured to create a sense of nation for the newly formed United States of America and was printed by the same publication as the story about George Washington and the Cherry Tree. At the time there were two tunes by that name, but it would be hard to say what was being played since all the military bands on site were trying to outplay each other and no one could really hear what was being played.

Legend: Played by the surrendering British Troops at Yorktown. It may be one of the earliest examples of American Propaganda.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 10:53 AM

8. This is hysterical nonsense; the Atlantic should know better

Producing that State Department "propaganda"? That's my job. Here's why the Atlantic piece is bollocks:

1) The State Department in prohibited by law from disseminating false information. The "propaganda" we produce is actually just true information that, yes, tends to stress information favorable to the U.S. and the current administration. But it is by no means propaganda in the conventional sense of being disinformation; we're not allowed to do that (Defense is, which is why the Smith-Mundt revisions don't apply to them).

2) Once upon a time, Smith-Mundt made sense. The law is actually a law about budgets; what it says is that money appropriated for Foreign Operations can't be used to produce material for domestic consumption. In an age before the internet, those were easy, clean distinctions; books you shipped to Pretoria couldn't also be shipped to Peoria. But in the age of the internet, it makes no sense. You can go right now to the main portal for State Dept. "propaganda" (iipdigital.usembassy.gov) from any site, foreign or domestic -- and you always could. State has been pushing for years to revise Smith-Mundt, not because it wants to propagandize Americans but because the law is an anachronism.

3) Even under the revision, State can't actively disseminate material domestically. All it allows for is that, if State receives a domestic request for its goods, it can fill that request provided that no money changes hands. That's all.

The Atlantic really needs to go find something else to clutch its pearls over.

(Oh, and if you've never listened to Voice of America, you should. Go ahead; they're on the web. You'll find that they're both more factual, more informative, and less biased than CNN, let alone Fox. It's also NOT part of the State Department, though I'm sure an article as phoned-in as this one couldn't be bothered with the strenuous fact-checking effort it would take to confirm that via Google.)

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Response to Proud Public Servant (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:19 AM

9. All of which is perfectly sensible

if one retains a modicum of trust in one's government.

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Response to Proud Public Servant (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:25 AM

10. I'm sorry but I can't believe that saying disinformation is prohibited is

keeping government issued news truthful. I've been lied to too many times to believe that anymore.

Do you really think that the M$M won't be looking at their bottom line and jump at free content?

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Response to snappyturtle (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:33 AM

12. Here's why it actually works

State lives in fear of Congress. Because its information efforts are funded by Congress, it lives in fear of crossing them. Publishing disinformation is violation of the law is just a huge invitation to get some Senator pissed off and have her/him start screwing with our budget. It wouldn't matter what the disinformation said; anything Ted Cruz agreed with would piss off Barbara Boxer, and vice versa. The only defense against that is to follow the law. I know that in this day and age it's hard to believe a government information agency would be that benign but, believe me, we are -- and are allowed to be only because there are other information efforts in other agencies that are doing the dirty work.

As for the M$M jumping at free content -- sorry, that ship has sailed. They already reprint/repeat government press releases pretty much verbatim. This isn't going to change anything.

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Response to Proud Public Servant (Reply #12)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:57 AM

15. Isn't what you describe a propaganda of sorts? We 'can follow the law'

ourselves without gov't publicized content. Thankfully. SO, we do that and lo and behold it matches what the gov't is saying. Warm feelings exude. Fine. But that scenario only keeps us feeling good and unaware of other agencies doing the dirty work. I will admit there is good dirty work and bad dirty work. For example we haven't been very well informed by the gov't as to the scope of the NSA data collection. Yes, we sort of knew but............

Your second paragraph is true enough. I just think there will be a lot more of it. Time will tell.

And just FYI, I am the daughter of a proud public servant. But Dad didn't raise no fools! And I mean by that, he would be happy I am the questioning sort.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:38 AM

14. For REPUBLICANS Thats FOX NEWS....

Fair and Balanced (yeah...right.) IN a pigs eye.

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Response to bananas (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 12:09 PM

16. This article is analysis and not late breaking news.

Please feel free to repost in General Discussion. Thanks.

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