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this comes off a blog, but is worth reading, at least the links if not the blog itself.
Covert Propaganda Posted by David Peterson at 10:13 AM
For those of you so inclined: Take a look at any one of the six reports and editorials that follow. Each of them deals with the Bush Administration?s use of phony ?journalists? as fronts to spread administration-friendly propaganda to the American public under the cover of ?news.?
"And Now, the Counterfeit News,? Editorial, New York Times, March 16, 2005 (as posted by Truthout) ?Viewer Beware,? Editorial, Washington Post, March 16, 2005 (as posted by Truthout) ?Justice: Propaganda Is A-OK,? Eric Boehlert, Salon.com, March 16, 2005 (as posted by Truthout)
?GAO Faults Faked Reports,? T. Christian Miller, Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2005 ?Buying of News by Bush?s Aides Is Rules Illegal,? Robert Pear, New York Times, October 1, 2005 ?GAO Issues Mixed Ruling on Payments to Columnists,? Christopher Lee, Washington Post, October 1, 2005
?Covert propaganda? is how the Government Accountability Office (GAO---though any use of the term ?accountability? with reference to the White House reeks of covert propaganda) describes the Department of Education?s hiring of the grossly mislabeled ?conservative? talk show host Armstrong Williams to ??convey a message to the public on behalf of the government, without disclosing to the public that the messengers were acting on the government?s behalf and in return for the payment of public funds,?? here quoting the GAO.
(Quick aside. Where the quote immediately above says ?government?, read Bush Administration instead. This is because the Bush Administration most assuredly does not employ ?covert propaganda? to promote the interests of the U.S. Government. Much less the interests of American citizens---elite U.S. citizens aside, that is. Rather, the Bush Administration employs covert propaganda to attack the U.S. Government and to attack the interests of U.S. citizens. The distinction is not a trivial one. Indeed. Respecting it makes all the difference in the world.)
To give you an inkling of how committed to deceiving and defrauding the American public the Bush Administration is, this morning?s New York Times reported that
In March, the Justice Department?s Office of Legal Counsel said that federal agencies did not have to acknowledge their role in producing television news segments if they were factual. The inspector general of the Education Department recently reiterated that position.
But the accountability office said on Friday: ??The failure of an agency to identify itself as the source of a prepackaged news story misleads the viewing public by encouraging the audience to believe that the broadcasting news organization developed the information. The prepackaged news stories are purposefully designed to be indistinguishable from news segments broadcast to the public. When the television viewing public does not know that the stories they watched on television news programs about the government were in fact prepared by the government, the stories are, in this sense, no longer purely factual. The essential fact of attribution is missing.??
This is the practice that both the Justice and Education departments earlier this year had ruled A-OK---??procur[ing] favorable commentary in violation of the publicity or propaganda prohibition,?? again quoting the GAO. Within establishment circles, for every pimp a dozen whores.
Still. We need to remember that this is just one extremely narrow case: The Department of Education and Armstrong Williams. Imagine what the actual scale of the Bush Administration?s whole panoply of ?covert propaganda? campaigns against us must be, given its hard-core criminality, and its desire to remain above the law even when resorting to serial wars of aggression, violations of international law, the threat or use of force, and the various scams that it uses to sell tax cuts for the wealthiest decile of U.S. society, to bilk Social Security, and the like. When a government---in the case at hand, the Executive branch of the U.S. Government---undertakes ?covert propaganda? against its own citizens, it does so for one reason, and one only: Because it regards the citizens of the country as its enemies, and because it is convinced that in order to have its way with them, it first must deceive them. This really is nothing more than Political Science 101, if you think about it, even if the American system has taken it to an unprecedented level of sophistication. Shock and awe may be expressed by the establishment media whenever their gullibility in the face of officially-sourced lies is exposed---as when in late May, 2004, the editorial voice of the New York Times expressed its regret that in the run-up to the Bush Administration?s war over Iraq, The Times had published all of those fake news reports about Baghdad?s ?weapons of mass destruction? and ?ties? to the perpetrators of September 11, thus lending credibility to the Administration?s propaganda. (The Mother of All Lies, the historical record will show.) But the sense of outrage just as quickly dissipates. The next round of officially-sourced lies that invariably succeeds the previous round does so without a whimper. For every Armstrong Williams who wakes up in a dumpster one fine day, dozens of Judith Millers get rehabilitated.
I bother to rehearse the foregoing material (which I can repeat in my sleep, I assure you) for two reasons.
First, for the very important lesson that it teaches us about the contempt and fear with which the Bush Administration regards us all (most of us, anyway)---a lesson that we ought to be happy to learn, and never tire of repeating. Remember: If your government regards you as somebody whom it needs to deceive in order to have its way with you, then your government regards you as its enemy. Therefore, your government is just as much your enemy as you are its. Such a government lacks legitimacy. You owe it absolutely no loyalty whatsoever.
Second, for the very local and idiosyncratic reason that with the Chicago White Sox? triumph in the American League Central Division this past Thursday, September 29, I noticed that the Chicago-area media once again allowed the White Sox? P.R. machine to trot out a fellow named Dan Galligani, a.k.a. ?The Get-Up Guy,? as its example of the true White Sox fan---Galligani being the same loud-mouthed windbag that the local media helped the White Sox? P.R. machine trot out during the Sox? last division-winning season, in 2000.
We ought to treat all mentions of this corked-bat known as ?The Get-Up Guy? exactly as we?d treat Armstrong Williams (and the non-numb-skulled among us treat the New York Times as well): Not as a true fan. Not as the Sox? ?unofficial head cheerleader.? But as a covert propaganda campaign by the White Sox organization---an organization that holds its fans in such contempt and fear that the only way it can engage them is through fraud and deception, fabricating ?Get-Up Guys? to pawn-off to the local media, because it can?t stomach the real thing.
Historically, it has been the custom around sporting events that a team?s official mascot looks and dresses like a mascot, rather than a regular person. For example, the Chicago White Sox organization employs a mascot called ?South Paw,? and ?South Paw? looks like, well, a mascot. No one would mistake ?South Paw? for a regular person.
But now, with their A.L. Central Division championship in the books, the White Sox have resuscitated their covert mascot from the 2000 season: ?The Get-Up Guy.? Except that this mascot wears civilian clothes---that of the long-suffering White Sox fan, available for media interviews and profiles, and guaranteed to say the right things. Played by a fellow named Dan Galligani, this ?Get-Up Guy? is to real White Sox fans what Armstrong Williams was to real journalists (if you can find any, these days): A fake.
But just because the real-fan-fearing White Sox organization seeks to procure favorable commentary by giving the local media ?The Get-Up Guy? in place of real fans does not mean that the local media are obligated to go along with it. To rewrite the GAO?s criticisms of the Bush Administration: The Chicago media?s failure to identify Dan Galligani, ?The Get-Up Guy,? as an instance of prepackaged fandom misleads the public by encouraging them to believe that ?The Get-Up Guy? is a real fan. But prepackaged ?fans? such as this Galligani are designed to be indistinguishable from real fans. When news stories portray ?fans? like ?The Get-Up Guy? as something other than prepackaged or covert propaganda, prepared by the White Sox organization for this purpose, these news stories are not in the least factual---any more than they are factual, when the covert propaganda originates inside the White House.
?The essential fact of attribution is missing,? in the GAO?s words. In actual fact, they are sourcing the White Sox P.R. department. One of the team?s mascots. Even if he dresses in civilian clothes.
?Toned-down Get Up Guy is still driven,? Phil Arvia, Daily Southtown, October 2, 2005
Postscript (October 3): For a largely dishonest article by Chicago?s most influential news organization, about an event in the city?s not-too-distant past that deserves to be recollected with more candor and decency than the Chicago Tribune can muster---Major League Baseball?s use of the State of Illinois to force the state?s taxpayers to build U.S. Cellular Field, the stadium where the Chicago White Sox play:
?It?s U.S. Insular Field,? John Bebow, Chicago Tribune (Sect. 1, p. 1), October 3, 2005
During the period that the White Sox? managing general partner Jerry Reinsdorf threatened to move the White Sox franchise out of state, unless the State agreed to build the new stadium for his sports property (ca. 1985 - June 30, 1988, when the Illinois General Assembly adopted the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority Act), the Chicago Tribune used its editorial page and some of its urban reporters (none more so than the ?developer"-friendly John McCarron, who has since gone on to edit the Trib?s Business pages and, ultimately, join its Editorial Board) to lobby for the destruction of Chicago?s South Armour Square neighborhood, and to relocate its residents---"urban renewal? in the classic American sense of clearing out a poor black area and turning over their land to rich white people for some other kind of use. (Can you say ?upscale? development, as the ideological literature likes to describe it? Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago: 1940-1960, Arnold R. Hirsch, 2nd Ed., University of Chicago Press, 1998.)
Now. Read the appallingly inadequate account of this by the Chicago Tribune:
When plans for a new White Sox stadium were announced in the late 1980s, the project threatened to consume Wentworth Gardens, a public housing project just south of the stadium where low-income African-Americans have lived since just after World War II. In the end, the stadium was built and Wentworth Gardens was untouched, but dozens of private homes and many businesses were razed. By some estimates, up to 300 jobs were lost.
?Our whole community has been interrupted, disrupted, and destroyed,? Miss Amey concluded then, before perfecting the art of neighborly negotiation.
Sox officials softened the opposition to the new stadium through good works--and Miss Amey?s urgings. Players and team employees built playgrounds, planted landscaping, donated thousands of dollars worth of gifts for holidays and back-to-school celebrations, and spent $120,000 a year on a public housing Little League.
The White Sox also donated food and drink and a luxury box overlooking left field for Miss Amey?s big night at the ballpark....
You see what I mean? Not a single word about the destruction of the South Armour Square neighborhood, which once stood exactly where the footprint of U.S. Cellular Field now stands, but was razed and its residents relocated---quite unlike Wentworth Gardens to its south, a testament to the White Sox? ?good works,? in the Tribune?s version of local history.
Still. Here are two separate passages that do shine a more honest light on the scene around U.S. Cellular Field:
The courtyard buildings of Wentworth Gardens sit two blocks south of the stadium, and the project?s several hundred residents are all but out of sight to Sox fans. Police along the streets bordering the CHA site strictly enforce a ban on vendors. Some public housing residents gain ?day of game? janitorial work inside U.S. Cellular Field, but otherwise there is no coordinated job-outreach program in the neighborhood.
Still, there is a street trade for those who can avoid the police.
Bursts of fireworks usually flash several times a week above the Abbott School parking lot, bathing it momentarily in tones of green, red and purple when the Sox hit home runs. As a child, Omar Bowman stood on that pavement with a bat in his hand and could hear the stadium organ and the rallying claps of the fans at the old Comiskey Park. Bowman and his Wentworth Gardens friends liked to play pickup baseball games when the Sox were at home. In the most perfect moments, Bowman would knock pitches onto Princeton Avenue--home runs, according to the pickup rules--and circle the bases under the fireworks set off to celebrate the Sox sluggers? round-trippers.
Now, Bowman?s mother lives at 37th and Princeton, in the public housing unit closest to the ballpark gates. On game nights, cars parade by, some containing businessmen still in their neckties, bound for the fenced-off baseball parking lots just beyond Wentworth Gardens. Two blocks farther west, beyond the railroad tracks, residents crowd into pricey new Bridgeport condos.
Some nice contrasts here between the two Chicagoes. Indeed, the two Americas.
As for all of the anecdotes about the White Sox? largesse in dealing with their neighbors south of U.S. Cellular Field? Something tells me that over the years, Jerry Reinsdorf and his partners have been far more liberal in taking than in giving.
The State builds sports playgrounds for its wealthiest citizens, while abandoning its poorest citizens to the crumbs that fall from the tables of their rich---and richly subsidized---neighbors. (When the State isn?t enforcing its ban on street vendors around U.S. Cellular Field, that is. Or deploying its armed forces to patrol the streets of New Orleans. Along with a sizeable contingent of mercenaries.)
So what happens to a dream deferred?
A certain amount of nothing. A certain amount of impotence.
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