Internet

Rumsfeld Calls for Propaganda 2.0

Rumsfeld with Gen. Peter Pace in Nov. 2005Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is concerned that the United States "is losing the war of ideas in the Muslim world, and the answer to that, in part, is through the creation of [a] new government agency," writes Sharon Weinberger.

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"Posted to YouTube, Sir!"

YouTube has become de rigeur for posting official war propaganda. As CMD reported in October 2007, NATO has dedicated at least 1 million Euros (about $1.46 million U.S.) to produce and post footage to the popular video sharing site. In Britain, the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Royal Navy and Royal Air Force all have channels on YouTube, with dozens of short videos shot by or with their forces.

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The White House Appreciates Bloggers Who Regurgitate

In an interview with Texas Monthly, former White House counselor Dan Bartlett complains that many reporters are overly critical of President Bush. "White House correspondents have been tagged, unfairly, with not being tough enough on the administration and President Bush in the run-up to the [Iraq] war. ...

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It's Our Web (If We Can Keep It)

Free Speech TV has launched the "It's Our Web" campaign, featuring a a short, entertaining animation explaining the dangers of media centralization and suggesting positive alternatives. "This is a truly pivotal time for the Internet, the most powerful and interactive medium humans have ever seen," says Steve Anderson, who produced the video. "New commercial incursions by big online media enterprises, including the widely disdained "Facebook Beacon," make explicit what new media giants have been doing quietly for some time; searching for new and evermore effective ways to sell our attention, our clicks and our private information to advertisers and marketers."

Cosmetics Industry Group Gives Itself a Makeover

"What has been known for more than three decades as the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association now has a new name, the Personal Care Products Council, and with a new persona comes a fact-laden product safety Web site designed to win consumer trust," reports Women's Wear Daily. The changes come after cosmetics safety studies and pressure campaigns by public health and environmental groups.

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The Case of the Mysterious E-mails

When the Washington Post tried to contact 60 people who were listed as having "sent e-mails to the Federal Communications Commission opposing the proposed merger between the satellite radio networks XM and Sirius," the paper found "mostly unanswered phone calls and recordings saying the phones were disconnect

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Amgen Website Invites Testimonials, Posts Off-Label Claims By Patients

This screenshot from the "Protect Cancer Patients" website shows what it looked like before "The Cancer Letter" exposed its solicitation and publication of patient testimonials without proper scientific evidence to support them. The company has subsequently removed the testimonials.To mobilize elderly Americans in an effort to overturn the new Medicare coverage policy for erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs, which boost red blood cell production), Amgen Inc. appears to have borrowed a strategy from the purveyors of alternative medicine.

The company launched a "Protect Cancer Patients" website, where visitors were invited to submit testimonials about the healing powers of ESAs. Also, they could contact members of Congress, or review the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services coverage decision and the House and Senate resolutions to vacate it.

Though the Internet designation ".org" suggests that the site is operated by an advocacy group, the "privacy policy" section notes that "this site is owned and operated by Amgen Inc." and can be used for communications with the company.

On the home page, the site is described as "online headquarters of a national campaign to protect cancer patients on Medicare from a decision denying them ... coverage for needed medicines."

"Amgen's mission is to serve patients, which is why we openly support the Protect Cancer Patients website," Kelley Davenport, an Amgen spokesman, said in an email. "The site educates cancer patients on Medicare and their caregivers about a Medicare policy that impacts cancer patients, so that their voices and concerns are heard by government policymakers.

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