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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Dec 10, 2015, 02:22 AM

29. I see propaganda all over the place, too.


Jacques Ellul (1973) calls the type of propaganda designed to incite revolution or to undermine existing regimes the "propaganda of agitation." Ellul also describes another type which he believes to be much more important than agitation propaganda for people living in developed nations. Every modern social system uses what Ellul calls the "propaganda of integration" to promote acceptance and support among its citizens for that system.

Integration propaganda is important because no modern society can function for long without at least the implicit support of most of its citizens. Integration propaganda is promulgated not in pamphlets put out by small groups of subversives or in broadcasts made by foreign powers, but in the main channels of communication - newspapers, television, movies, textbooks, political speeches etc.-produced by some of the most influential, powerful, and respected people in a society. It is therefore difficult to recognize despite (or perhaps because of) its omnipresence, particularly because it is based upon ideals and biases that are accepted by most members of the society.

It is important here to point out an assumption that may be disputed by some psychologists that underlies all propaganda analysis: That beliefs, attitudes, and cognitions play a crucial role in the determination of political opinions and behavior. Propaganda researchers should participate in determining the exact role played by ideas in politics, but few scholars would become actively involved in propaganda analysis if they did not believe that what people read, hear, see, and think is an important determinant of their political actions.

Do personality variables or styles of cognitive processing affect susceptibility to propaganda? Ellul (1973) claims that contrary to popular belief, as a result of their increased exposure to propaganda, highly educated, well-informed citizens of modern societies are more, not less, open to propaganda than are people who receive less information.

Silverstein, B. (1987). Toward a science of propaganda. Political Psychology (8)1. 49-59.

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, by Noam Chomsky (talk delivered at the University of Wisconsin - Madison)

If you go back to the International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences published in 1933 -- days when people were a little more open and honest in what they said -- there's an article on propaganda, and it's well worth reading. There's an entry under propaganda. The entry is written by a leading- one- maybe the leading American political scientist, Harold Lasswell, who was very influential, particularly in this area, communications, and so on. And in this entry in the International Encyclopedia on propaganda he says, we should not succumb to democratic dogmatisms about men being the best judges of their own interests. They're not, he said. Even with the rise of mass education- doesn't mean that people can judge their own interests. They can't. The best judges of their interests are elites -- the specialized class, the cool observers, the people who have rationality -- and therefore they must be granted the means to impose their will. Notice, for the common good. Because, again, because- well, he says, because of the ignorance and superstition of the masses, he said it's necessary to have a whole new technique of control, largely through propaganda. Propaganda, he says, we shouldn't have a negative connotation about, it's neutral. Propaganda, he says, is as neutral as a pump handle. You can use it for good, you can use it for bad; since were good people, obviously, -- that's sort of true by definition -- we'll use it for good purposes, and there should be no negative connotations about that. In fact, it's moral to use it, because that's the only way that you can save the ignorant and stupid masses of the population from their own errors. You don't let a three year old run across the street, and you don't let ordinary people make their own decisions. You have to control them.

And why do you need propaganda? Well, he explains that. He says, in military-run or feudal societies -- what we would these days call totalitarian societies -- you don't really need propaganda that much. And the reason is you've got a- you've got a club in your hand. You can control the way people behave, and therefore it doesn't matter much what they think, because if they get out of line you can control them -- for their own good, of course. But once you lose the club, you know, once the State loses its capacity to coerce by force, then you have some problems. The voice of the people is heard -- you've got all these formal mechanisms around that permit people to express themselves, and even participate, and vote, and that sort of thing -- and you can't control them by force, because you've lost that capacity. But the voice of the people is heard, and therefore you've got to make sure it says the right thing. And in order to make sure it says the right thing, you've got to have effective and sophisticated propaganda, again, for their own good.

Unattributed Prepackaged News Stories Violate Publicity or Propaganda Prohibition

Prepackaged news stories are complete, audio-video presentations that may be included in video news releases, or VNRs. They are intended to be indistinguishable from news segments broadcast to the public by independent television news organizations. To help accomplish this goal, these stories include actors or others hired to portray “reporters” and may be accompanied by suggested scripts that television news anchors can use to introduce the story during the broadcast. These practices allow prepackaged news stories to be broadcast, without alteration, as television news.

The publicity or propaganda prohibition states, “No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States not heretofore authorized by the Congress.” GAO has long interpreted this provision to prohibit agencies from, among other things, producing materials that are covert as to origin. Our opinions have emphasized that the critical element of covert propaganda is concealment of the government’s role in producing the materials. Agencies have violated this law when they used appropriated funds to produce articles and op-ed pieces that were the ostensible position of persons not associated with the government.

In two legal opinions this past year, federal agencies commissioned and distributed prepackaged news stories and introductory scripts about their activities that were designed to be indistinguishable from news stories produced by private news broadcasters. In neither case did the agency include any statement or other indication in its news stories that disclosed to the television viewing audience, the target audience of the purported news
stories, that the agency wrote and produced those news stories. In other words, television-viewing audiences did not know that stories they watched on television news programs about the government were, in fact, prepared by the government. GAO concluded that those prepackaged news stories violated the publicity or propaganda prohibition.

While agencies generally have the right to disseminate information about their policies and activities, agencies may not use appropriated funds to produce or distribute prepackaged news stories intended to be viewed by
television audiences that conceal or do not clearly identify for the television viewing audience that the agency was the source of those materials. It is not enough that the contents of an agency’s communication may be
unobjectionable. Neither is it enough for an agency to identify itself to the broadcasting organization as the source of the prepackaged news story.

Administration Rejects Ruling On PR Videos
GAO Called Tapes Illegal Propaganda
By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 15, 2005; Page A21

The Bush administration, rejecting an opinion from the Government Accountability Office, said last week that it is legal for federal agencies to feed TV stations prepackaged news stories that do not disclose the government's role in producing them. That message, in memos sent Friday to federal agency heads and general counsels, contradicts a Feb. 17 memo from Comptroller General David M. Walker. Walker wrote that such stories -- designed to resemble independently reported broadcast news stories so that TV stations can run them without editing -- violate provisions in annual appropriations laws that ban covert propaganda.

But Joshua B. Bolten, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Steven G. Bradbury, principal deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, said in memos last week that the administration disagrees with the GAO's ruling. And, in any case, they wrote, the department's Office of Legal Counsel, not the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, provides binding legal interpretations for federal agencies to follow. The legal counsel's office "does not agree with GAO that the covert propaganda prohibition applies simply because an agency's role in producing and disseminating information is undisclosed or 'covert,' regardless of whether the content of the message is 'propaganda,' " Bradbury wrote. "Our view is that the prohibition does not apply where there is no advocacy of a particular viewpoint, and therefore it does not apply to the legitimate provision of information concerning the programs administered by an agency."

The existence of the memos was reported Sunday by the New York Times. Supporters say prepackaged news stories are a common public relations tool with roots in previous administrations, that their exterior packaging typically identifies the government as the source, and that it is up to news organizations, not the government, to reveal to viewers where the material they broadcast came from. Critics have derided such video news releases as taxpayer-financed attempts by the administration to promote its policies in the guise of independent news reports. Within the last year, the GAO has rapped the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of National Drug Control Policy for distributing such stories about the Medicare drug benefit and the administration's anti-drug campaign, respectively.

In an interview yesterday, Walker said the administration's approach is both contrary to appropriations law and unethical. "This is more than a legal issue. It's also an ethical issue and involves important good government principles, namely the need for openness in connection with government activities and expenditures," Walker said. "We should not just be seeking to do what's arguably legal. We should be doing what's right." White House spokesman Scott McClellan said yesterday that federal agencies have used video news releases for years. "As long as they are providing factual information, it's okay," he said.




John C. Yoo
Deputy Assistant Attorney General

Robert J. Delahunty
Special Counsel

RE: Authority for Use of Military Force To Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States

It is vital to grasp that attacks on this scale and with these consequences are "more akin to war than terrorism."1

1. Lewis Libby, Legal Authority for a Domestic Military Role in Homeland Defense, in Sidney D. Drell, Abraham D. Sofaer, &. George D. Wilson (eds.), The New Terror: Facing the Threat of Biological and Chemical Weapons 305, 305 (1999).


First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully.'''When a nation is at war many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right.' ... No one would question but that a government might prevent actual obstruction to its recruiting service or the publication of the sailing dates of transports or the number and location of troops." Near v. Minnesota ex rel. Olson, 283 U.S. 697, 716 (1931) (citation omitted); cf. Snepp v. United States, 444 U.S. 507, 509 n.3 (1980) (recognizing that "{t}he Government has a compelling interest in protecting both the secrecy of information important to our national security and the appearance of confidentiality so essential to the effective operation of our foreign intelligence service”) Accordingly, our analysis must be informed by the principle that ''while the constitutional structure and controls of our Government are our guides equally in war and in peace, they must be read with the realistic purposes of the entire instrument fully in mind." Lichter, 334 U.S. at 782; see also United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259, 277 (1990) (Kennedy, J., concurring) ({W}e must interpret constitutional protections in light of the undoubted power of the United States to take actions to assert its legitimate power and authority abroad."; McCall v. McDowell, 15 F. Cas. 1235, 1243 (C.C.D. Cal. 1867) (No. 8,673) (The Constitution is "a practical scheme of government, having all necessary power to maintain its existence and authority during peace and war, rebellion or invasion”).

Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand 


Over time, the Pentagon recruited more than 75 retired officers, although some participated only briefly or sporadically. The largest contingent was affiliated with Fox News, followed by NBC and CNN, the other networks with 24-hour cable outlets. But analysts from CBS and ABC were included, too.

They also understood the financial relationship between the networks and their analysts. Many analysts were being paid by the “hit,” the number of times they appeared on TV. The more an analyst could boast of fresh inside information from high-level Pentagon “sources,” the more hits he could expect. The more hits, the greater his potential influence in the military marketplace, where several analysts prominently advertised their network roles.

As it happened, the analysts’ news media appearances were being closely monitored. The Pentagon paid a private contractor, Omnitec Solutions, hundreds of thousands of dollars to scour databases for any trace of the analysts, be it a segment on “The O’Reilly Factor” or an interview with The Daily Inter Lake in Montana, circulation 20,000.

The Pentagon defended its relationship with military analysts, saying they had been given only factual information about the war. “The intent and purpose of this is nothing other than an earnest attempt to inform the American people,” Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said. It was, Mr. Whitman added, “a bit incredible” to think retired military officers could be “wound up” and turned into “puppets of the Defense Department.”

Describing the Program 
In memorandums and e-mail messages obtained by The Times, Defense Department officials describe the goals and mission of a program to shape public opinion about the Iraq war through retired military officers who are media analysts.

Pentagon Finds No Fault in Ties to TV Analysts 

In January 2009, the inspector general’s office issued a report that said it had found no wrongdoing in the program. But soon after, the inspector general’s office retracted the entire report, saying it was so riddled with inaccuracies and flaws that none of its conclusions could be relied upon. In late 2009, the inspector general’s office began a new inquiry. 

The results of the new inquiry, first reported by The Washington Times, confirm that the Pentagon under Donald H. Rumsfeld made a concerted effort starting in 2002 to reach out to network military analysts to build and sustain public support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 


But several former top aides to Mr. Rumsfeld insisted that the purpose of the program was merely to inform and educate, and many of the 63 military analysts interviewed during the inquiry agreed. 

Given the conflicting accounts, the inspector general’s office scrutinized some 25,000 pages of documents related to the program. But except for one “unsigned, undated, draft memorandum,” investigators could not find any documents that described the strategy or objective of the program. Investigators said that to understand the program’s intent, they had to rely on interviews with Mr. Rumsfeld’s former public affairs aides, including his spokeswoman, Victoria Clarke. Based on these interviews, the report said, investigators concluded that the “outreach activities were intended to serve as an open information exchange with credible third-party subject-matter experts” who could “explain military issues, actions and strategies to the American public.”

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