U.S. Government

Brand America -- Now With Extra Hype

David Corn critiques Congressman Henry Hyde's notion that Hollywood and Madison Avenue can razzle-dazzle those pesky foreigners who don't like America. "This is ridiculous. Hollywood pushes escapist fiction, and advertising firms try to hornswoggle people into believing they can get laid if they purchase the right car, the right toothpaste, the right beer, or the right cigarette," Corn writes. "But the poohbahs of U.S.

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Inking Out the Government Printing Office

The Government Printing Office, which is responsible for printing the multitude of documents produced by the federal government, may be abolished according to an order by the White House Office of Management and the Budget. The OMB describes the order as a cost-saving measure, but critics say it may cost more money than the present system. Worse, it threatens public access to information.

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Bush Creates "Office of Global Communications"

The Bush administration has decided to create a permanent, fully staffed "Office of Global Communications" to "coordinate the administration's foreign policy message and supervise America's image abroad, according to senior officials," writes Karen DeYoung. The office will allow the White House "to exert more control over what has become one of the hottest areas of government and private-sector initiatives since Sept. 11.

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Intimidation in Guatemala

Guatemala remains of the most horrifying legacies of the work of Edward Bernays, the legendary "father of public relations." On behalf of the United Fruit company, Bernays orchestrated the propaganda behind a military coup that overthrew Guatemala's elected government, ushering in decades of tyranny under regimes whose brutality rivaled the Nazis as they condemned hundreds of thousands of people (mostly members of the country's impoverished Maya Indian

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US Needs More PR To Counter "Arrogant" Image

"The United States is doing a poor job of countering growing anti-American sentiment overseas and must revamp the way it promotes its foreign policies abroad, the Council on Foreign Relations contends," the New York Times writes. "In a report to be released this week, the council asserts that many countries, in particular predominantly Islamic ones, see the United States as 'arrogant, self-indulgent, hypocritical, inattentive and unwilling or unable to engage in cross-cultural dialogue.' ...

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Judicial Watch's "PR Stunt"

The White House allegedly threatened a Judicial Watch process server with arrest while he was trying to provide legal notification of a lawsuit to Vice President Dick Cheney. The conservative organization Judicial Watch has brought a lawsuit against Cheney for fraudulent accounting practices at Halliburton Corporation while Cheney was the company's chief executive.

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Doctor Spin and Mr. Hyde

Ever since September 11, politicians like Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde have been wondering why "the popular press overseas, often including the government-owned media, daily depict the United States as a force for evil." Hyde thinks that "public diplomacy" (the government's term for "public relations") can turn the tide.

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Don't Scrutinize the Pentagon

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is pushing a series of sweeping proposals that would weaken congressional oversight of the Pentagon. According to the Los Angeles Times, "Pentagon officials also are drafting proposals to ban strikes by contract workers, eliminate federal personnel rules protecting civilian workers at the Pentagon and bypass environmentalists in Congress. Some proposals are more provocative. They include allowing the Pentagon to send its initiatives directly to Capitol Hill before other agencies could review them.

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