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POLITICS: Propaganda Report Finds Bias in Iraq Coverage

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posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 08:35 AM
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At least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense Department, have produced and distributed hundreds of phony television news segments in the past four years. Three times in the past year alone, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that government-made "news segments" push the window on "covert propaganda." The Pentagon Channel now is offered to all US media - army public affairs specialists beam news reports from Iraq and Afghanistan. The military-financed Web site at www.dvidshub.net... provides US TV stations with free "news" segments. US law and FCC regulations prohibit government propaganda, but the White House is using legal technicalities to fight the restrictions. "On Friday, the Justice Department and the Office of Management and Budget circulated a memorandum instructing all executive branch agencies to ignore the G.A.O. findings."

 



www.nytimes.com

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. ...To a viewer, each report looked like any other 90-second segment on the local news. In fact, the federal government produced all three. ...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.

...in three separate opinions in the past year, the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress that studies the federal government and its expenditures, has held that government-made news segments may constitute improper "covert propaganda" even if their origin is made clear to the television stations. ...Last month, in its most recent finding, the G.A.O. said federal agencies may not produce prepackaged news reports "that conceal or do not clearly identify for the television viewing audience that the agency was the source of those materials."

It is not certain, though, whether the office's pronouncements will have much practical effect. Although a few federal agencies have stopped making television news segments, others continue. And on Friday, the Justice Department and the Office of Management and Budget circulated a memorandum instructing all executive branch agencies to ignore the G.A.O. findings. The memorandum said the G.A.O. failed to distinguish between covert propaganda and "purely informational" news segments made by the government. Such informational segments are legal, the memorandum said, whether or not an agency's role in producing them is disclosed to viewers.



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.




The White House public relations strategy exploits "a growing vulnerability of television news:" budget cuts and understaffing.

More to the point, under Gonzales' leadership, the US Justice Department is figuring out how to bypass US law, not seeking to uphold it.

US law contains provisions intended to protect Americans from 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." Now however, State Department officials say "that law does not apply to the Office of Broadcasting Services."

In addition, the Radio-Television News Directors Association Code of Ethics says news must "Clearly disclose the origin of information and label all material provided by outsiders." Unfortunately, the association has no enforcement powers.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does have enforcement powers, and a 2000 decision by the agency stated, "Listeners and viewers are entitled to know by whom they are being persuaded."

The Bush administration, Justice Department and new Attorney General Gonzales are twisting the law to push their propaganda through. Now, it looks like FCC regulations may be the only defense ordinary Americans have against government propaganda and manipulation.



Many details of US government propaganda have been covered on ATS. Following is a brief, incomplete list of relevant threads.

Bush Used Tax Dollars for Propaganda
Government Restricts Freedom of Information Access
Patriot Act II: More on Gonzales
US Casualties Count is 17,000 Short



Related News Links:
www.chicagotri bune.com
seattletimes.nwsource.com
www.chicagot ribune.com
www.guardian.co.uk

Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
Bush administration gave 43 million to the Taliban, this is incredible
POLITICS: How the White House Used Errant Iraqi Intelligence
10,000+ deaths in just one Iraqi province during this war.
Nice Letter to the Press by someone who is there




posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 08:52 AM
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Good post Sofi. People have got to be pretty stupid or not taught in schools about the ploys of the corporate media and taught critical thinking to think that there isn't bias on these channels.

Down with the corporate media
that is not free press

thanks,
drfunk



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 08:54 AM
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And on Friday, the Justice Department and the Office of Management and Budget circulated a memorandum instructing all executive branch agencies to ignore the G.A.O. findings.


And these guys are on our side.......this memo is a good example of how difficult it is to institute change.....beaurocratic red tape and all.....personally, I think this is the real news leak......the article stipulating the study that there is no bias found in Iraqi war coverage is to offset this information.

It isn't surprising that propaganda is allowed to circulate. Information is power. If the information you have is incomplete(the general public, sofi
), then the power and influence you have is highly limited.

What is surprising is that the news of this memo got leaked.......that is the info gem imo. Proof that they operate in between their own guidelines and that biased information is the game......remember, this is a government memo......



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 09:26 AM
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The issue is more, "what is propaganda, and what is deliberate confusion of the enemy."

During any military excercise, confusing your enemy is a valid and important tactic. However, in this age of pervasive media saturation, confusion strategies through normal means is difficult. Unfortunately, modern tactics seem to require feeding deliberately incorrect information to the media for strategic purposes.

I'm not saying I like it, just that it's understandable.



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 09:36 AM
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Sofi
Their theory is, if you can't destroy the truth, bury it in a mountain of lies and half truths. It's been a very effective tool for deceiving those less inclined to skepticism. Those who seek the truth can still find it, but most are too trusting and naive to consider doing such an unpatriotic thing as finding out the truth for themselves.

drfunk
Damn right, Sofi's was a good post, and what we have is not a free press.
We sort of do actually, but it's overshadowed by the gargantuan bought-and-paid-for press that blasts into nearly every American living room each day through that damn, detestable, flickering box.

SO
I'd say that since the American people are in many ways the classic enemy of the state, the media disinfo campaign targets us primarily. Strategic purposes be damned, that excuse is only valid if the boogeyman is real, which he's not. Muslim extremists have no cause, and little ability, to launch attacks across the ocean if we weren't meddling in their affairs (the middle east). Since ships sailed the ocean, smart men of conscience have avoided the Middle East like the plague. It's a quagmire, an ancient, collosal tar pit, into which sane men dare not step. The men who meddle over their now, using our resources, are driven by an insane craving for money. It has blinded them. So I say, let it be their downfall, not ours.

[edit on 14-3-2005 by WyrdeOne]



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 09:39 AM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
The issue is more, "what is propaganda, and what is deliberate confusion of the enemy."

During any military excercise, confusing your enemy is a valid and important tactic. However, in this age of pervasive media saturation, confusion strategies through normal means is difficult. Unfortunately, modern tactics seem to require feeding deliberately incorrect information to the media for strategic purposes.

I'm not saying I like it, just that it's understandable.



I had forgotten this argument. Thanks for bringing it up SO.

The idea that government propaganda in the media will confuse our enemies seems to me a bit lame.

First off, any enemy that needs to rely on public media for its intel probably doesn't present all that much of a danger. They're not going to believe it any way - and any enemy with resources is using their own sources.

Secondly, the main party duped by the propaganda is the American public. Many Americans still trust the government and the media - US enemies don't. Leading to the question: Who's the real target?

...So I really don't see how propaganda does anything but manipulate the public it's supposed to protect. While our enemies laugh.





posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 09:43 AM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
The issue is more, "what is propaganda, and what is deliberate confusion of the enemy."


I don't think our "enemies" are watching the local news in the US nor does paying off journalists to praise Social Security plans win the "War on Terror."


I think this article and this story is meant to address propaganda aimed at the US citizenry...but perhaps to the government we are the enemy. This last statement is true legally and in practice.



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 10:00 AM
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Propaganda and bias are relative terms,
and both are a two-way street.

Objectivity is a better trait, IMO.



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 10:13 AM
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I will like to know is......if our government is controlling our media, or if the interest in favor of the government policies is.

But again with the internet we are able to see more of the world and their version of things.

But when the government is also telling that any media out there is just bias and our US media is the right one.

Doesn't that confuse the gullible American? While most Americans knows that you can not believe everything you hear or read, how many Americans will be so worked out into only seen one side of the stories.

I spend almost 90 dollars on cable services and my TV is most of the time is off.

But when I get in the internet I search no only the latest news here in the US but I also read what other countries has to say also.

In my opinion the media in the US is targeting Americans that's what their news are directed to, you, me and every American household.

Not the terrorist or the insurgents around the world.



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 10:22 AM
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Originally posted by Banshee
Propaganda and bias are relative terms,
and both are a two-way street.

Objectivity is a better trait, IMO.



Interesting comment. Thanks.

...As I recall, the concepts of "objectivity" and the mythical "objective observer" were last debunked, thoroughly, in the 1980's.

...FYI - The term "objective" is used chiefly in medieval philosophy, and means:

"Relating to or existing as an object of thought without consideration of independent existence."

...which pretty much mandates a complete lack of individual consciousness - a state hard to sustain in production mode.


All the serious thinkers I've studied recognize and acknowledge that claims of "objectivity" are either illusion or manipulation - and seek instead to provide various 'angles' pictured from a wide range of viewpoints. ...The goal being to respect, acknowledge and integrate all the angles.

...Even mundane business management courses teach students to view situations from different perspectives. One of the best exercises involves simply looking at a room: Stand in the middle of the room, look north, south , east and then west. Record your observations. Stand on a table and look down. Lie on the floor and look up.

Students quickly learn two things:

1. The picture they see from each perspective is different;

2. All the perspectives are "true."


...IMO - any legitimate search for truth recognizes the bias intrinsic to any single viewpoint and seeks to deny bias by acknowledging numerous perspectives, rather than by claiming any single one is "objective." ...Of course, tolerance also is required.


.



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 10:24 AM
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from the american heritage dictionary...
PROPOGANDA: ideas, info, or other material disseminated to win people over to a given doctrine.

DOCTRINE: 1) something that is taught. 2)tenant or dogma.

so, i guess you could say that the govt is teaching the AMERICIAN sheeple what to think about certain issues.........................

so how is one too know what is a 'real' news story and what is 'govt propoganda'? the reaction from the justice dept and omb is setting a precident in how the govt will react to being caught doing something that they shouldn't be doing.....'just ignore the unpatriotic americans...'
land of the free, home of the brave................



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 10:31 AM
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Sofi
I disagree with your classification of the word objective as being relevant only to history...

I believe objectivity is a idealized state of perfection, perhaps we're never able to reach it, but it serves as an excellent focal point.

Nowadays objective simply means, or at least its connotation is, to consider more than your own subjective reality when making judgements on shared reality, like for example, the question of what is propaganda.

Objectivity is something I strive for. I collect information, identify viewpoints, and try to get a 3-D picture of the problem. We don't necessarily have to give in to complete subjectivity.



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 10:40 AM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
The issue is more, "what is propaganda, and what is deliberate confusion of the enemy."

During any military excercise, confusing your enemy is a valid and important tactic. However, in this age of pervasive media saturation, confusion strategies through normal means is difficult. Unfortunately, modern tactics seem to require feeding deliberately incorrect information to the media for strategic purposes.

I'm not saying I like it, just that it's understandable.


well, if i'm the enemy, mission accomplished. if my mom and pop are the enemy, mission acconplished. if policy makers in america are the enemy, then mission accomplished. in a democracy, important topics need to be known, so the people can decide what they would support as action.

i believe WE are the government, and WE are the content of media. to condone lying by an evil government is lame.

who is the enemy? i can't prove it, but i have it from someone connected, that bin laden's been dead since late 2001. saddam is captured. now, it's zarwhacky or something that is the new boogeyman. i heard he spits atomic bombs with his eyes.
this is exactly what orwell predicted. invisible shifting enemies used as an excuse to wage perpetual war.

i don't like it, and it's NOT understandable or excusable. government accountability and openess are the hallmarks of democracy. amerika knows only demockracy, now.
even the mighty overlord is being broken down by the propoganda onslaught. keep a skeptical upper lip, there, overlord.



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 10:46 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow
I had forgotten this argument. Thanks for bringing it up SO.

The idea that government propaganda in the media will confuse our enemies seems to me a bit lame.

First off, any enemy that needs to rely on public media for its intel probably doesn't present all that much of a danger. They're not going to believe it any way - and any enemy with resources is using their own sources.

Secondly, the main party duped by the propaganda is the American public. Many Americans still trust the government and the media - US enemies don't. Leading to the question: Who's the real target?

...So I really don't see how propaganda does anything but manipulate the public it's supposed to protect. While our enemies laugh.









uhh except for one thing sofi, the US government often uses CNN satelite feeds for intel purposes. The fact is the CIA and CNN have the exact same jobs, and CNN employees are better paid. The CIA, the KGB, the Mossad, all have used public news media for intel gathering. So foreign and domestc powers do use tpublic media for intel purposes, even the KGB whch the CIA regarded as the single best intelligence agency in the world during the cold war.



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 10:47 AM
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Originally posted by Banshee
Propaganda and bias are relative terms,
and both are a two-way street.

Objectivity is a better trait, IMO.


propoganda is better. i have pew charitable trust funded studies to prove it.
99% of people poled said objectivity is for times of peace. the other 1% was undecided.

bias is a relative term, propoganda is NOT. i can't back that up with a pew charitable trust funded study, but it's in the dictionary.



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 11:08 AM
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Originally posted by WyrdeOne
Sofi
I disagree with your classification of the word objective as being relevant only to history...





Not a classification but a definition, and not mine. Forgot to cite source: Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 1988.






I believe objectivity is a idealized state of perfection, perhaps we're never able to reach it, but it serves as an excellent focal point.





I disagree, because by definition that notion precludes the legitimacy and importance of individual experience - not to mention anecdotal reporting. IMO - the truth of the human experience must be gleaned from humans - not some idealized all-inclusive de-individualized communistic over-concept.






Nowadays objective simply means, or at least its connotation is, to consider more than your own subjective reality when making judgements on shared reality,...





The standard rebuttal: The "current connotation" of "objective" is based on a fallacy - and is less accepted than promoted.

...The truth of the world is made from multitudes of "subjective realities" - and celebrated with inclusivity, not reductionist exclusivity.






Objectivity is something I strive for.





Not me. I think it's a crock. I admit out front that I can't cover all the angles and don't lie or pretend that I can.





I collect information, identify viewpoints, and try to get a 3-D picture of the problem. We don't necessarily have to give in to complete subjectivity.




I too collect information and viewpoints, and IMO do not "give in to complete subjectivity." But I have no illusions that I can provide an "objective" presentation without telling 6 billion stories and writing a 10,000 volume series.

Quite simply, "objectivity," even if it were possible, cannot be achieved in a 30-second sound byte or a 3 paragraph news capsule. IMO - saying it can be is a lie, or in other words, just more propaganda.


.



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 11:14 AM
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The US government has no business producing news, let alone in the 'covert' manners that these bits are being utilized.



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 11:51 AM
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as posted by soficrow
The idea that government propaganda in the media will confuse our enemies seems to me a bit lame.


The SkepticOverlord made a very exacting mention, soficrow.

as posted by SkepticOverlord
The issue is more, "what is propaganda, and what is deliberate confusion of the enemy."

During any military excercise, confusing your enemy is a valid and important tactic. However, in this age of pervasive media saturation, confusion strategies through normal means is difficult. Unfortunately, modern tactics seem to require feeding deliberately incorrect information to the media for strategic purposes.

I'm not saying I like it, just that it's understandable.



Your concept of propaganda (that it is "lame") and its use by the government at times of declared war and undeclared war is mind-numbing, at best.
WWII come to mind?
How about the Korean War?
The Vietnam War?
The Cold War?

All of the above indicate and show example as to how the government has used "propaganda" through the media and its various appendages.
I do not particularly agree with all that is mentioned by the site I will be linking you to, but it covers this topic and mentioning very well.
War, Propaganda and the Media

Perhaps this will also back what SkepticOverlord and I are asserting?
war and the use of propaganda
uses of propaganda during wartime
Propaganda Pathfinder
propaganda and its uses

More can be found.




seekerof

[edit on 14-3-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 12:13 PM
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as posted by another member
Objectivity is something I strive for.



Your response, soficrow:


Not me. I think it's a crock. I admit out front that I can't cover all the angles and don't lie or pretend that I can.


As a reporter do you not think that you need to present objectiveness when reporting? As a reporter, is it not your responsibility to verify, check, and "cover all the angles"?
I'll save my further imput because you are full aware of it, but maybe these will help clarify your comments or contradict your comments a bit more?


A journalist's mission is to present concrete, objective facts based on their experience in judging what is important to their audience. A journalist presents facts that anyone would see if they could stand in the journalist's shoes themselves. If the facts being reported are controversial, journalists are expected to report as much.

Yet it is not the job of the journalist to support particular beliefs. Journalists serve as the eyes and ears of their audience, but not their mind. It is left to the reader to draw whatever conclusions are appropriate from the news—not to the reporter.

It is interesting then to note how many journalists believe that their ability to report facts objectively is impossible—an ideal that can be approached, but never reached. Every communications professor I have studied under at George Mason has argued that facts are not observable aspects of the world, but instead are consensually agreed upon statements about it. By this view, the mere perception of facts distorts them. Truth is not determined by hardnosed perception, but by committee.

CBS Demonstrates Modern Journalism's Pseudo-Objectivity

Maybe these?
Winning entry: Distinguishing between fact and opinion
journalism and objectivity

I understand that you are not paid or even a real reporter or journalist, but I assert, that even when those who have taken/accepted the title and responsibility of said reporter, that objectiveness still needs to be maintained and adhered to. Obviously, this can be argued, but there is no denying that objective reporting is at the very heart and foundation of being a reporter and journalist.




seekerof

[edit on 14-3-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Mar, 14 2005 @ 12:14 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof

as posted by soficrow
The idea that government propaganda in the media will confuse our enemies seems to me a bit lame.


The SkepticOverlord made a very exacting mention, soficrow.


as posted by SkepticOverlord
The issue is more, "what is propaganda, and what is deliberate confusion of the enemy."

During any military excercise, confusing your enemy is a valid and important tactic.



Your concept of propaganda (that it is "lame") and its use by the government at times of declared war and undeclared war is mind-numbing, at best.




I said, The idea that government propaganda in the media will confuse our enemies seems to me a bit lame.

First off, any enemy that needs to rely on public media for its intel probably doesn't present all that much of a danger. They're not going to believe it any way - and any enemy with resources is using their own sources.

Secondly, the main party duped by the propaganda is the American public. Many Americans still trust the government and the media - US enemies don't. Leading to the question: Who's the real target?

...So I really don't see how propaganda does anything but manipulate the public it's supposed to protect. While our enemies laugh.






All of the above indicate and show example as to how the government has used "propaganda" through the media and its various appendages.





So the 'official' position is two-part:

1. There is no propaganda, and no bias;

2. There is propaganda and bias, but it is absolutely justified as an antiwar measure.

...Oh yeah, and 3. It's anti-American to tell uncomfortable truths.


Hmmm. I know I've heard that before. ...I'm thinking Kurt Vonnegut, maybe Catch-22 - or is it the Patriot Act? Give me a minute. I need to get back to you on this one.


.




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