"The [Sunday political] talk shows may bore many Americans, but they are crucial vehicles for the White House in setting the news agenda for the week," New York Times reporter John Tierney writes. "For the networks, the programs not only keep the news machine going on a slow day but also generate handsome profits because of their low costs -- and the fact that the big-name guests do not have to be paid.
"Wedged between a rack of 99-cent Cheetos and a display of pork rinds stood a life-sized cardboard cutout of a buxom blond in a red miniskirt," reports Ian Urbina. "Resting on her inner thigh was a frosty bottle of Miller Genuine Draft. 'That's essentially what we do,' an army major remarked, pointing to the stiletto-heeled eye-catcher. 'But we don't sell beer.' ... The scene was a recruitment barbecue conducted by the US Army's 11th Psychological Operations Battalion ("Psy-ops," for short). ...
Chicago Media Watch is holding "an urgent city-wide conference" on war and propaganda Saturday, November 2, on the campus of Loyola University. Some of the speakers will include "David Schippers, attorney for FBI special agent and whistleblower Robert Wright, who was stopped from speaking out about the investigation of terrorist cells in the US, under threat of termination. ... Professor Nancy Snow of UCLA's Annenberg School of Communication who previously worked for US Information Service, and author of Propaganda, Inc.
"Though many Arabs are receptive to America's propaganda theme of 'freedom and hope,' they are turned off by the message because of the strong U.S. support of Israel, said Rep. Christopher Shays [R-Conn] during his all-day Capitol Hill probe into this country's public diplomacy efforts," reports O'Dwyer's PR. Pollster John Zogby told the meeting "more than 90 percent of those polled in [Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and U.A.E] gave an 'unfavorable' rating for U.S. policy toward the Arab nations and toward the Palestinians."
"Congressman Christopher Shays wants to know how U.S. propaganda efforts are being received on the 'Arab Street.'" O'Dwyer's PR reports. "The Connecticut Republican plans hearings Oct. 8 to explore to what extent the State Dept.'s public diplomacy 'understands Arab and Muslim social and political thought.'" Harold Pachios, chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, the State Dept.'s Chris Ross, and Hafez Al-Mirazi, Al-Jazeera's Washington, D.C., bureau chief are scheduled to appear before the National Security, Veteran Affairs and International Affairs subcommittee.
For an interesting example of propaganda during wartime, check out "A Challenge to Democracy," a 1944 documentary produced by the U.S. government about the massive internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II. "This weird film -- the U.S. government's view of life inside its World War II Japanese-American internment camps -- is an early exercise in political damage control," writes reviewer Ken Smith. "One of its more enjoyable aspects is its baldfaced use of pleasant-sounding euphemisms to recast the nasty things it shows us. ...
"I would say that the greatest threat to democracy right now in the United State is George Bush's casual use of propaganda, and sometimes lies, to advance his case against Iraq," Harper's publisher Rick MacArthur told Democracy Now's Amy Goodman. MacArthur is also author of "The Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War." Goodman asked MacArthur to revisit the elder Bush White House's control of the press corps during that administration's Persian Gulf War. Journalists then faced strict Pentagon control, including no freedom of movement and PR escorts at all times.
"The reasons for a new attack on Iraq have been presented in a series of press-friendly promotional moments that have been long on promises and short on facts," says Moveon.org. "Timing has been a critical factor -- it is no coincidence, for example, that the climax of the push has come immediately after the anniversary of Sept.
"The Bush Administration is to launch a multimillion-dollar PR blitz against Saddam Hussein, using advertising techniques to persuade crucial target groups that the Iraqi leader must be ousted," reports Tim Reid. "The campaign will consist of dossiers of evidence detailing Saddam's breaches of UN resolutions, and will be launched this week at American and foreign audiences, particularly in Arab nations sceptical of US policy in the region. ...
Nancy Snow, author of Propaganda, Inc. and the upcoming Information War: American Propaganda, Opinion Control and Free Speech Since 9/11, gives a broad-ranging interview about how the current U.S. propaganda war is playing out. "Since World War I, advertising has mixed with selling war, foreign aid, and even cultural exchanges. ... This is what the U.S. is to the world—the ultimate salesman," she says. "We appear to the world like the world's Barnum & Bailey, and remember what P.T.