"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.
"The Department of Education is in the process of a massive overhaul of its Web site to make it easier to use and to remove outdated data -- and ensure that material on the site meshes with the Bush administration's political philosophy," reports Michelle Davis.
"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.
"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. ...
"If nothing else, the Bush administration has succeeded in making 'Should we attack Iraq?' the most-considered political question in the US today," observes PR Week.
A week after the 9/11 attacks, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Director Christie Whitman issued a news release claiming that air pollution caused by the collapse of the World Trade Towers was no big deal. "I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, D.C. that their air is safe to breath and their water is safe to drink," she said.
"A secret blueprint for US global domination reveals that President Bush and his cabinet were planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure 'regime change' even before he took power in January 2001. The blueprint, uncovered by the Sunday Herald, for the creation of a 'global Pax Americana' was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice- president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), George W Bush's younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff).
The American Journalism Review reports that openness in government is under assault throughout the United States, along with journalistic freedom. "Fear can short-circuit freedom," observes Ken Paulson of the First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Each year his organization conducts an annual survey of Americans' attitudes toward the First Amendment. Thanks to 9/11, the results are disturbing.
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.