Friday, December 09, 2005

Beyond 'The Real Price of Propaganda'

In his Newsweek article, 'The Real Price of Propaganda', Jonathon Alter hits the nail directly on the head:

"[The] outsourcing of covert propaganda (everything is outsourced these days) tells us a lot about the two biggest stories around--the venality of Republican Washington and the colossal failure in Iraq--and how they're connected by a shadowy world of global public relations....

Exporting a bunch of budding Jayson Blairs simply feeds the unhelpful image of Americans as inept and hypocritical puppetmasters. If we won't withdraw our troops, can't we at least withdraw our ham-handed propaganda efforts? Can't we stop discrediting the truly independent Iraqi reporters and editors that American journalists are helping to train? Can't we grasp the elemental point that an entirely pro-American Arab media is, on its face, not credible in the region and therefore not helpful to the cause of Iraqi independence?

Obviously the United States needs to do better in countering Arab libels. But the cold war taught us that propaganda works best when it's served straight up—by Radio Free Europe (a hugely positive influence) or by the commercial broadcasters who hawked capitalism behind the Iron Curtain. Some of that is going on in today's Middle East. The beaming of American-produced Farsi programming into Iran, for instance, is working well. It's the culture of secrecy, self-dealing and subversion of truth that's killing us."

Alter almost dismisses the ethical aspects of covert propaganda--and there are many. Although I agree with him completely, I would argue that the problems the U.S. is currently facing--the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, rumblings of new Iran and Syria war threats, the oil crisis, the widening gap between the "haves" and "have nots", the health care crisis, the education crisis, the trade and budget deficits, the CIA Leak case, the Abramoff scandal, and the environmental crisis all stem from the fact that the current administration is ethically and morally bankrupt. Lack of ethics is at the base of everything we have witnessed since the Supreme court handed the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000, despite enormous evidence at the time of election fraud, which has since been proven.

The problems this country is experiencing are being thrust upon us by a cabal of power-crazed neocons who will pursue their own agendas at our expense, never losing a wink of sleep over it.

The only way out for the rest of us, it to rebel against it. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Boycott CNN and MSNBC and FOX and all of the other propaganda that still passes for news on American TV. Write letters to all the TV News programs, networks, owners, etc. and tell them you will continue to boycott their programs until they deliver hard hitting, investigative news reports. Analyzing political strategies with shills from the left and right is NOT news--it's another form of propaganda, controlled by the people propagating it.

2. Boycott the corporations who fund the campaigns of the morally bereft politicians and lobbyists.

3. Organize, organize, organize. Unite every sympathetic progressive, republican, democratic, independent--whatever--group into ONE voice-the voice of America--opposing the neocon agenda and demanding ethics in government and laws that root out unethical politicians. We must demand independent investigations, beginning with the administrations manipulation of intelligence in the lead-up to the Iraq war, what really happened on 9/11, and election fraud in 2000 and 2004.

4. We must demand accountability from those in office and reject the unprecedented secrecy of this administration. They work for us. WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW THE TRUTH. And we have a right to see government information that will provide that truth.

5. We must add to this list--we need ideas from everyone. How about you?


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