Wire: American Government Propaganda is Not Actually Propaganda, Says Government Official

PropagandaCongress has worse ratings than cockroaches, Genghis Khan, and Nickelback. More than half of Americans think that the country is heading in the wrong direction. Over half of Americans think of Edward Snowden as a whistle-blower rather than a traitor. Should the government:

  1. take a serious look at the country, its policies, and the general desires of the American people to consider how its institutions can better tailor their various goals and strategies to people’s needs or
  2. convince the American people that their opinions, needs, and desires are wrong.

The answer, of course, is b) convince the American people that their opinions, needs, and desires are wrong. From Foreign Policy:

For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts. So what just happened?

Ah, what just happened indeed. Probably the government realized that it was far easier to TELL people what to think and then do that than to find out what people think, and do that.

[Broadcasting Board of Governors] spokeswoman Lynne Weil insists BBG is not a propaganda outlet, and its flagship services such as VOA “present fair and accurate news.”

“They don’t shy away from stories that don’t shed the best light on the United States,” she told The Cable. She pointed to the charters of VOA and RFE: “Our journalists provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible, discussion, and open debate.”

Why can’t they get it locally, government PR lady? Doesn’t the public own the airwaves? No, of course not, don’t be silly. Anyway, we look forward to trying to tell the difference between government propaganda and, say, David Gregory.

Where will be seeing this propaganda, you might wonder, and how will we actually be able to identify it, given that the lamestream media is often so invested (implicitly or explicitly) in promoting the status quo that it becomes inseparable from whatever agenda the government is promoting?

The agency wants to reach diaspora communities, such as St. Paul Minnesota’s significant Somali expat community. “Those people can get Al-Shabaab, they can get Russia Today, but they couldn’t get access to their taxpayer-funded news sources like [Voice of America] Somalia,” the source said. “It was silly.”

Why can’t they access VOA Somalia? This is a good question given that one can easily download any number of VOA podcasts from iTunes, and access VOA Somalia online. Whatever, not important — just remember: all news is good news, and it’s a beautiful day in America with our beloved Leaders and benevolent Government.

By Kris E. Benson

[Foreign Policy]