Now Legalized, US Propaganda Swears It’s ‘Fair and Accurate’

In May of last year I noted at this blog reports that an amendment had been slipped into the 2013 NDAA bill that nullified two U.S. laws – the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987 – that ban domestic propaganda. This month marks the official repeal.

John Hudson at Foreign Policy:

Until this month, a vast ocean of U.S. programming produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks could only be viewed or listened to at broadcast quality in foreign countries. The programming varies in tone and quality, but its breadth is vast: It’s viewed in more than 100 countries in 61 languages. The topics covered include human rights abuses in Iran; self-immolation in Tibet; human trafficking across Asia; and on-the-ground reporting in Egypt and Iraq.

The restriction of these broadcasts was due to the Smith-Mundt Act, a long standing piece of legislation that has been amended numerous times over the years, perhaps most consequentially by Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright. In the 70s, Fulbright was no friend of VOA and Radio Free Europe, and moved to restrict them from domestic distribution, saying they “should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics.” Fulbright’s amendment to Smith-Mundt was bolstered in 1985 by Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky who argued that such “propaganda” should be kept out of America as to distinguish the U.S. “from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity.”

Hudson then goes on to interview a spokesman for the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which produces government news for foreign audiences on “Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.” This spokesman promises, from the bottom of her heart, they don’t engage in propaganda.

BBG 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.”

Straight from the horse’s mouth! The problem is, those engaged in propaganda for the government always deny – and indeed are virtually never aware – that they are engaged in propaganda. Today’s cable news companies, many of them owned by rent-seeking corporations with close ties and interests to the state, engage in propaganda all the time and continuously believe they are independent minds who report in a ‘fair and accurate’ way.

Take Glenn Greenwald’s recent appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. He accused host Mika Brzezinski of issuing White House talking points on Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, while masquerading it as a balanced debate. She seemed shocked at the accusation, which was true despite her own ignorance of it.

Look at how confused this BBC journalist is when Noam Chomsky tries to explain the propaganda model to him:

He thinks he’s an adversarial journalist, clearly. But of course, if he was a different kind of journalist with a different set of views (say, anti-government views), he may not be working for the BBC.

And so, Ms. Weil’s protestations about being engaged in propaganda cannot be trusted simply because she says so.  As Hudson writes, “if anyone needed a reminder of the dangers of domestic propaganda efforts, the past 12 months provided ample reasons.”

Last year, two USA Today journalists were ensnared in a propaganda campaign after reporting about millions of dollars in back taxes owed by the Pentagon’s top propaganda contractor in Afghanistan. Eventually, one of the co-owners of the firmconfessed to creating phony websites and Twitter accounts to smear the journalists anonymously. Additionally, just this month, The Washington Post exposed a counter propaganda program by the Pentagon that recommended posting comments on a U.S. website run by a Somali expat with readers opposing Al-Shabaab. “Today, the military is more focused on manipulating news and commentary on the Internet, especially social media, by posting material and images without necessarily claiming ownership,” reported The Post.

A primer on the history of U.S. propaganda might help in convincing Americans that propaganda isn’t just another one of those horrible things that every other government does but ours is different, better.

During the First World War, President Woodrow Wilson set up the Committee on Public Information (CPI), a propaganda ministry meant to build public support for the war effort. The CPI distributed propaganda in news stories, street posters, advertisements, and hollywood films. It launched pro-war lecture circuits to mobilize public opinion, and publicly criticizing the president or the war effort was essentially criminalized.

“The propagandists in World War II,” writes historian Susan A. Brewer, “followed in the footsteps of the Committee on Public Information, while attempting to avoid their predecessor’s mistakes.”

The OWI’s [Office of War Information] objective, acknowledged privately, was the “coordination, synchronization, embellishment, emphasis, manipulation and distribution of facts as information rather than…gross overstatements and exaggerated misrepresentations.” To mobilize the population, the OWI drew on familiar advertising techniques such as repetition, catchy slogans, and celebrity endorsement.

…On December 16, 1941, President Roosevelt set up the Office of Censorship, headed by Associated Press executive news editor Byron Price. The Office of Censorship had authority over all civilian communication…Before news organizations released a story, Price wanted them to ask themselves, “Is this information I would like to have if I were the enemy?” In a 1942 press conference, he and [OWI Director Elmer] Davis explained the relationship of the Office of Censorship and the OWI with the news media. Price announced, “We tell what they cannot print.” Davis said, “We give them stuff we hope they will print.”

For those who still doubt we’re at greater risk now, the question arises: why were these laws repealed? The BBG spokesman admits they want to target, for example, Somali expats, to give them an alternative to the Al-Shabab propaganda and outlets like Russia Today. Hm.

  • Bagh-e-iram properties All types of properties and real estate for rent, buy or sell available on

  • peter mark

    this post is great for online reading books.there are many online books reading websites.

  • rakhaa

    ????? ????? ????? ?? ???? ??????? ?? ??? ?????? ??? ?????? ????? ??? ????? ????? ??????? ?????? ????? ?????? ???? ????? ????? ?????? ???? ???? ??? ??????? ????? ????? ?? ?? ?? ???? ??? ????? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ????? ?? ?? ?????? ?????? ???? ?? ??? ??? ????? ????? ????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ????? ?????? ??????? ?????? ??????? ???? ?????? ????? ???? ????? ?????? ?? ???? ???????? ????? ???? ????? ???? ?? ???? ??????? ???? ??? ???? ???? ??? ??? ???? ???? ??? ????? ????? ????? ??????? ???? ?? ???? ????????? ????? ?????? ???? ???????? ??????? ??? ??? ?????? ???? ????? ??? ????? ?? ???? ??????? ????? ????? ?????? ??? ????? ???? ?? ?? ????? ?????? ??? ????? ?? ????? ??? ?? ??? ?? ???? ???? ????? ??? ???? ???? ?????? ????? ???? ????? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ?????? ???? ?? ???? ?????? ?????? ????? ???? ????? ????? ???? ?????? ????? ??? ??????? ,,,, nnnn

  • Word of love and appreciation and greeting fulfillment and private
    Greeting fill all the meanings of brotherhood and friendship
    Greetings from the Heart to Heart
    Thank you with all my heart mpoi

  • Such a very useful article wordpress directory theme. Very interesting to read this article.I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article.

  • This information had been straight at this time home improvement websites. Thank you for taking the time to write also to visualize it. This might be one of the best bits of content I had inside a very long time.

  • David John SEO

    Because Americans don't respect other nation's soveriegnty, someday other nations will interfere in our country all they want to and we won't be able to do a thing about it. Pregnancy Miracle Book

  • David John SEO

    Hey it's a nice post you got here and I enjoyed reading about anti-war article.I hope to find some nice news here. And of course I bookmarked it, Thank you for sharing!! USA twitter accounts

  • David John SEO

    I am so glad this internet thing works and your Information really helped me. Might take you up on that home advice you. GTA V cheats

  • David John SEO

    I appreciate everything you have added to my knowledge base.Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer.Thanks. clash of clans cheats

  • David John SEO

    Thomas Coleman's Tinnitus Miracle System book and complete guide for taking necessary precautions and improve weight loss simultaneously. contractor

  • David John SEO

    I really appreciate the kind of topics you post here. Thanks for sharing us a great information that is actually helpful. Good day! water damage san francisco

  • OBAMA neoPolicies: let us adopt an illegal child(israel) and iphone/kill all muslim children

  • AsharSeo

    It’s hard to tell with these Internet start ups if they’re really interested in building companies or if they’re just interested in the money. I can tell you, though..venus factor download website

  • David John SEO

    Truly, this article is really one of the very best in the history of articles. I am a antique ’Article’ collector and I sometimes read some new articles if I find them interesting. And I found this one pretty fascinating and it should go into my collection. Very good work! mexican auto insurance tucson

  • David John SEO

    I am so glad this internet thing works and your Information really helped me. Might take you up on that home advice you. bee removal gilbert az

  • David John SEO

    Well That's things i was trying to find. I like your site and that i appericiate your time and efforts. Your article is extremely useful for me personally and many more to sort out. Airsoft Guns UK

  • David John SEO

    I am unable to read articles online very often, but I’m glad I did today. This is very well written and your points are well-expressed. Please, don’t ever stop writing. netent reviews

  • David John SEO

    Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work. car wash business plan

  • Frank

    I really don't think anyone's put it that way before pr britannia! You must be an expert on this because you just made it so easy to understand, made me want to learn more about it!

  • frank

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Finding the time and actual effort to produce a very good article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and don’t seem to get nearly anything done. CO2 and Bohr effect

  • AsharSeo

    I am glad you grab proud in what you scrawl. This produces you stand route away from numerous further scribes that drive poorly written

  • AsharSeo

    I just couldn't leave your website before telling you that I truly enjoyed the top quality info you present to your visitors? Will be back again frequently to check up on new posts.venus factor download website

  • improve on writing skills and even get better writers every time but there is a gap in writing service reviews
    Somanabolic Muscle Maximizer Free Download

  • David John SEO

    There will be an increased dose of some reality TV shows coupled with a non-event they will blow out of proportion with 24/7 coverage, just like the OJ Simpson saga. best weight loss aid

  • I love this site ENGLISH GRAMMAR We can learn a lot of things from it. Thanks.

  • David John SEO

    Your website is really cool and this is a great inspiring article. Thank you so much. manual backlinks

  • AsharSeo

    blessed to have such strong and exemplary advocates of truth such as Noam Chomsky and Glenn Greenwald gurgaon to jaipur cab

  • from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity.
    Ejaculation Guru Book

  • AsharSeo

    US government they've got some stiff competition in MSNC, CNN, Foxnews, The Washington Post,packers and movers hadapsar pune

  • AsharSeo

    strong and exemplary advocates of truth such as Noam Chomsky and Glenn Greenwald to counterbalance jaipur to pushkar taxi

  • David John SEO

    I am very optimistic that this Syrian war will soon come to an end. The authorities should make an amicable agreement to those who are involved on this matter. Blog comments

  • David John SEO

    Your online journal presents to me a lot of fun.. Good fortunes with the site.So fortunes to run over your incredible online journal. buy ig followers

  • gyfisib

    fastest and simplest methods to get started. Compared with real life (as compared to the internet world) electronic photography sessions,I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post..

  • frank

    All Data in your Article is complete and Informative vps. It includes so many interesting facts. I am realy impressed with your Great job Keep it up, I am waiting for your next Updation

  • I have panicked unnecessarily in all four corners of the globe.