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Vyan Donating Member (990 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 11:38 AM
Original message
Bush's Propoganda Swarm
Edited on Fri Jun-02-06 12:01 PM by Vyan
Last night Robert Kennedy Jr. appeared on The Situation with Tucker Carlson to discuss his recent Rolling Stone Article (out on the stands today) involving the possible theft of the 2004 Election by Republicans.

During the exchange Tucker asked what seems like an obvious question:

CARLSON: And my question is, why hasn't Congress determined that -- in other words, if the election were thrown and it were obvious to those who looked carefully, it would be a news story. The press is not going to hide something like that. And neither is Congress. So why isn't this common knowledge?

Besides the fact that there actually has been a Congressional Investigation and book, into the irregularies in Ohio (which Robert duly pointed out) the broader point about the media needs to be addressed.

Why hasn't the media jumped all over this issue? Possibly because of Bush's own propoganda operation which has consistently pushed the truth aside.
Via Hume's Ghost on Unclaimed Terrority the FCC has begun an investigation of government generated "news" segments that are supportive of administration policies and corporations that have been regularly broadcast on local news status as if it were genuine news. From the Independant.

Investigators from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are seeking information about stations across the country after a report produced by a campaign group detailed the extraordinary extent of the use of such items.

The report, by the non-profit group Centre for Media and Democracy, found that over a 10-month period at least 77 television stations were making use of the faux news broadcasts, known as Video News Releases (VNRs). Not one told viewers who had produced the items.

"We know we only had partial access to these VNRs and yet we found 77 stations using them," said Diana Farsetta, one of the group's researchers. "I would say it's pretty extraordinary. The picture we found was much worse than we expected going into the investigation in terms of just how widely these get played and how frequently these pre-packaged segments are put on the air."

A summary of the report (pdf) from the Center for Media and Democracy is here.

Over a ten-month period, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) documented television newsrooms' use of 36 video news releases (VNRs)--a small sample of the thousands produced each year. CMD identified 77 television stations, from those in the largest to the smallest markets, that aired these VNRs or related satellite media tours (SMTs) in 98 separate instances, without disclosure to viewers. Collectively, these 77 stations reach more than half of the U.S. population. The VNRs and SMTs whose broadcast CMD documented were produced by three broadcast PR firms for 49 different clients, including General Motors, Intel, Pfizer and Capital One. In each case, these 77 television stations actively disguised the sponsored content to make it appear to be their own reporting. In almost all cases, stations failed to balance the clients' messages with independently-gathered footage or basic journalistic research. More than one-third of the time, stations aired the pre-packaged VNR in its entirety.

There have been subsequent reports from the GAO that this is unconstitutional and illegal Propoganda, reports from the New York Times, meanwhile the White House has the audacity to claim that the law simply isn't the law.

The Bush administration, rejecting an opinion from the Government Accountability Office, said last week that it is legal for federal agencies to feed TV stations prepackaged news stories that do not disclose the government's role in producing them.

That message, in memos sent Friday to federal agency heads and general counsels, contradicts a Feb. 17 memo from Comptroller General David M. Walker. Walker wrote that such stories -- designed to resemble independently reported broadcast news stories so that TV stations can run them without editing -- violate provisions in annual appropriations laws that ban covert propaganda.

But Joshua B. Bolten, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Steven G. Bradbury, principal deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, said in memos last week that the administration disagrees with the GAO's ruling. And, in any case, they wrote, the department's Office of Legal Counsel, not the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, provides binding legal interpretations for federal agencies to follow.

The legal counsel's office "does not agree with GAO that the covert propaganda prohibition applies simply because an agency's role in producing and disseminating information is undisclosed or 'covert,' regardless of whether the content of the message is 'propaganda,' " Bradbury wrote. "Our view is that the prohibition does not apply where there is no advocacy of a particular viewpoint, and therefore it does not apply to the legitimate provision of information concerning the programs administered by an agency."

Yes, that's right - it was that Joshua Bolten - the one who is now White House Chief of Staff. And his principle claim that what the non-partisan GAO says is illegal is legal is coming from the same group of DOJ government attorneys that the Bush Administration has used to justify warrantless NSA wiretaps and other extreme uses of executive authority. It's the portion of the DOJ that brought us Samuel Alito - Mr. Unitary Executive.

This story has been around for quite some time, enough time for Bolten to receive a rather substantial promotion. Hume sums it up.

This story came out at about the same time that it was revealed that the Bush administration had paid four journalists - Armstrong Williams, Michael McManus, Maggie Gallagher, and Dave Smith - to shill for various policies, and around the same time that it was discovered (by Americablog) that Jeff Gannon, a fake journalist/non-credentialed Republican operative, had been allowed two years of access to White House press briefings without being granted the security clearance which is necessary for such access.

How critical this issue remains is shown by further comments by the GAO.

Within the last year, the GAO has rapped the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of National Drug Control Policy for distributing such stories about the Medicare drug benefit and the administration's anti-drug campaign, respectively.

In an interview yesterday, Walker said the administration's approach is both contrary to appropriations law and unethical.

"This is more than a legal issue. It's also an ethical issue and involves important good government principles, namely the need for openness in connection with government activities and expenditures," Walker said. "We should not just be seeking to do what's arguably legal. We should be doing what's right."

The Bush Administration generated phony news reports about the Prescription Drug Benefit in order to make it's passage of that bill - in the dead of the night - more palatable to the public?

There were also the reports that this doesn't just impact Americans, there were the false Psy-ops reports prior to the attack on Fallajah, where the U.S. Military used U.S. News services in an attempt to "mislead the enemy". Exactly why they chose to also mislead CNN was never made clear. But the practice has not just been limited to attempts to gain strategic advantage, we've also been planting false reports in Iraqi Newspapers. But why stop there, eh?

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.

An important instrument of this strategy was the Office of Broadcasting Services, a State Department unit of 30 or so editors and technicians whose typical duties include distributing video from news conferences. But in early 2002, with close editorial direction from the White House, the unit began producing narrated feature reports, many of them promoting American achievements in Afghanistan and Iraq and reinforcing the administration's rationales for the invasions. These reports were then widely distributed in the United States and around the world for use by local television stations. In all, the State Department has produced 59 such segments.

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."

So much for the claim that the media doesn't cover enough "good" news out of Iraq. Why should it when the Administration can simply make it up on the fly, write and film it, then feed it to local newspapers and TV stations as though it were actual news?

The statement by GAO simply do not express the true gravity of the situation. The media is called the "Fourth Estate" because it is essentially the fourth pillar in our Democracy. The one that seeks to maintain balance between all the other branches, however if a single branch - the executive - is able to upsurp the media indenpendance and objectivity by paying off pundits and generating it's own self-congratulator news reports -- our Democracy grows unbalanced and just might possibly slip away entirely as Mark Crispin Miller has suggested.

This also might explain why a right-wing pundit like Tucker would ask an obvious self-serving question of Kennedy. He already knows the answer, the media has been bought and paid for and when neccesary replaced by the latest dictates from Bush's Politburo.


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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
1. Outstanding job bringing all this together.
And still, boneheads persist in beliving there's a 'liberal media'... pathetic.
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Hoping4Change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
2. Great post. nt
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
3. This is incrdible
Isn't it about time for Congress to step in and do something about this?

Great job of putting this together.
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The Doctor. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:39 PM
Response to Original message
4. Great work. One question;
What was RFK Junior's response to Carlson's question?
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Vyan Donating Member (990 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. He didn't really get a chance
to answer it. The link in the post leads to the full transcript.

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The Doctor. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-03-06 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #6
15. Thanks. n/t
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Pachamama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:39 PM
Response to Original message
5. I watched that interview last night and I was disgusted by Tucker Carlson.
That piece of crap could care less about the integrity of the election and was a plain a-hole to Kennedy. He started off immediately by talking about "conspiracy theorists" and trying to discredit Kennedy. It was disgusting. Although Kennedy tried to address some of the things Tucker was throwing at him, he wasn't able to really come back and slam Tucker the way that piece of crap needed to be spanked.

I was outraged watching Tucker's attempts to silence Kennedy and this very important issue. And your absolutely right, the question Tucker asked was very self-serving and he knew the answer - and he doesn't care.
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jean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Plus, at the end, Carlson used the word 'crackpot' twice, closing RFK down
and giving him no time to respond. "...I'm not saying you're a crackpot..."
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987654321 Donating Member (341 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:22 PM
Response to Original message
8. Thanks for posting!
I appreciate your hard work. It must be disturbing to have to put something like this together.
I know it's disturbing to read it.
Tucker Carlson (and other shills like him) should be branded an "enemy combatant" because he is an enemy to democracy, freedom, and the truth.
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txb Donating Member (99 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:35 PM
Response to Original message
9. excellent post! but, i think it that the wind gets taken out of RFK JR's
...wings a bit in that John Kerry won't admit that there was Election Fraud in 2004.

with all that Tucker said about 'where is congress', 'where is the media', i mean....seems to me that mr. carlson could blow the article outta the water by simply asking 'where is Kerry' on this matter?

i mean, rfk jr does a ton of research, writes a masterful argument....but is unable to convince the former democratic presidential nominee that the election was stolen out from under him?

kerry is the albatross hanging around the neck of the Election Fraud Squad.

get rid of him!
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Vyan Donating Member (990 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. Here's the text of that exchange...

CARLSON: But that see, thats part of the problem, I guess, here. I mean, look, I have no doubt, and I dont think anybody would, that there are voting irregularities in this election as there are in any election, probably some crookedness, as there are in any election, again.

But youre alleging that in state after state, not just Ohio, but many states, including Florida, New Mexico and others, there were concerted, coordinated efforts to subvert the vote.

And yet, John Kerry, the person who lost in this election, the injured party here, when you talked to him and you said, Did you think this election was fixed? said no.

KENNEDY: I dont think thats what John Kerry says at this point. But you know, the issue here is that these facts are on the table, Tucker. Theres no dispute about the facts. I mean, go through the article and show me a single fact that you dispute.

Also Kerry did join the suit filed by Cliff Arnebeck against the Ohio Election results.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - John Kerry's campaign has joined a lawsuit by third-party presidential candidates seeking a recount in Ohio. A lawyer for the campaign said Thursday the campaign does not question the Democrat's loss but wants any counting to take place statewide.

Kerry's campaign this week joined the suit filed by Green and Libertarian party candidates seeking a recount of the vote in Delaware County. A judge in that county issued a restraining order blocking that request, but the order expired Thursday. A hearing is set in federal court in Columbus today on the recount request.

"The Kerry-Edwards campaign felt it had to intervene," said Daniel Hoffheimer, a Cincinnati lawyer who represents the campaign in Ohio. "We did not want a recount to go forward if it only was 87 (of Ohio's 88) counties."

Kerry said in the article that he didn't think the current data was "conclusive", but the fact is - it doesn't have to be. If a burglar tries and fails to steal something, isn't it still a crime?

He also said...

Kerry conceded, however, that the widespread irregularities make it impossible to know for certain that the outcome reflected the will of the voters. ''I think there are clearly states where it is questionable whether everybody's vote is being counted, whether everybody is being given the opportunity to register and to vote,'' he said. ''There are clearly barriers in too many places to the ability of people to exercise their full franchise. For that to be happening in the United States of America today is disgraceful.''

Kerry's comments were echoed by Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. ''I'm not confident that the election in Ohio was fairly decided,'' Dean says. ''We know that there was substantial voter suppression, and the machines were not reliable. It should not be a surprise that the Republicans are willing to do things that are unethical to manipulate elections. That's what we suspect has happened, and we'd like to safeguard our elections so that democracy can still be counted on to work.''

To help prevent a repeat of 2004, Kerry has co-sponsored a package of election reforms called the Count Every Vote Act. The measure would increase turnout by allowing voters to register at the polls on Election Day, provide provisional ballots to voters who inadvertently show up at the wrong precinct, require electronic voting machines to produce paper receipts verified by voters, and force election officials like Blackwell to step down if they want to join a campaign. (205) But Kerry says his fellow Democrats have been reluctant to push the reforms, fearing that Republicans would use their majority in Congress to create even more obstacles to voting. ''The real reason there is no appetite up here is that people are afraid the Republicans will amend HAVA and shove something far worse down our throats,'' he told me.

Kerry hasn't totally joined the tin-foil hatters, but compared to most of Congress he's way out in front on this issue. At least give him credit for that.

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DoYouEverWonder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-03-06 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. It does make it more difficult
when the candidates who were cheated walk away.

Kerry wasn't the only one. The other one that still blows my mind is Betty Castor. I think the final total was less the 1.2% between her and Martinez. In the AM, she was ready to fight, by afternoon she walked away.

Something happened that afternoon in the Kerry campaign and Bush was handed another term.

BTW: Welcome to DU :hi:

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txb Donating Member (99 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Betty Castor - totally!

i was in south florida with election protection in november 2004, i also couldn't believe that betty castor didn't contest the votes there.

that was a really tough day....15 hours at the polls, then a party afterwords where we all saw the zogby electoral map on the wall (exit polling) then we all went our separate ways & watched on tvs as the GOP stole the election & killed democracy in the USA.

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xxqqqzme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:06 PM
Response to Original message
10. Hey, chuckle nuts had a 51%
MANDATE!!! and it is his 'job' 2 repeat the propaganda (hard work too, as I understand it). The press dutifully repeated that piece of propaganda ad nauseum.
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Kurovski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:11 PM
Response to Original message
11. K&R
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jasop Donating Member (172 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:28 PM
Response to Original message
13. We have DU'ers that should be given the highest in journalistic awards!
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robbedvoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-03-06 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
14. Another Tucker good question: why aren't kerry/edwards complaining?
I bet Tucker knows the answer to this one too, but it doesn't make feel any better that the two are cooking another "run" without bothering to speak up on the outcome of this one.
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Bushwick Bill Donating Member (605 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
18. Great movie re: media issue
Edited on Sun Jun-04-06 06:32 PM by Bushwick Bill
Orwell Rolls In His Grave. Lots of Mark Crispin Miller in here. It is a few years old, I think, and focuses a lot on 2000. Obviously, it applies to the 2004 theft.
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