U.S. Government

Round Up the Japs

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. ...


Spying in Iraq: From Fact to Allegation

"Nothing makes a newspaper prouder than a juicy foreign-policy scoop. Except, it seems, when the scoop ends up raising awkward questions about a U.S. administration's drive for war," writes Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). "Back in 1999, major papers ran front-page investigative stories revealing that the CIA had covertly used U.N. weapons inspectors to spy on Iraq for the U.S.'s own intelligence purposes. ...


Censorship and Propaganda From The Gulf War To Today

"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.


Angola Hires Beltway Lobbyists For $2.2 Million

Angola's national oil company has hired the Washington D.C. lobby firm Patton Boggs to improve ties with the U.S. government. "Corruption within Angola's $6 billion energy sector is a key irritant between the two countries," O'Dwyer's PR reports. "The U.S. estimates government officials and their cronies skim about $1 billion from Angola's yearly energy revenues." The one-year contract is worth $2.2 millon and will be led by the well connected Tommy Boggs. Last spring, a cease-fire ended the country's 27-year civil war.


"Public Diplomacy" Chief Gets Mixed Reviews

"As veteran ad executive Charlotte Beers finishes her first year as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs there are mixed reviews over whether she has accomplished her goal of improving the nation's image beyond its borders," writes Advertising Age. "Even supporters [of Beers] agree that the nation's image has suffered, but they suggest it is unfair to blame Ms. Beers, placing the blame instead on Bush administration policies on Israel and Iraq. Ms.


Selling the War

"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.


Slick Ads Won't Sell US to Arabs

Madison Avenue-style advertising aimed at Middle Eastern audiences isn't likely to work for the U.S. government, says Harold C. Pachios, chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. "There's more to America than Calvin Klein jeans--and that's the point," said Harold C. Pachios, chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. "We are thought of as superficial, so we need to avoid anything that smacks of the superficial."


The Battle of the Band

"We're getting the band together," White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett told the group on their first conference call last week. "The 'Band' is made up of the people who brought you the war in Afghanistan -- or at least the accompanying public-relations campaign," explains Martha Brant.


Show Me the Science I Agree With

"The Bush administration has begun a broad restructuring of the scientific advisory committees that guide federal policy in areas such as patients' rights and public health, eliminating some committees that were coming to conclusions at odds with the president's views and in other cases replacing members with handpicked choices," reports Rick Weiss. The Department of Health and Human Services has shut down or revamped committees set up to give advice on topics such as biotechnology and the effects of environmental chemicals on human health.



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