Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has issued a report about President Barack Obama’s use of propaganda to sell Americans on his policies like healthcare, education and (oddly) Justice Dept. matters. Issa is the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
That a president uses messaging to convey details about his policies is nothing new. But Issa said this administration has taken the practice to new levels: “Under one-party rule in 2009, the White House used the machinery of the Obama campaign to tout the President’s agenda through inappropriate and sometimes unlawful public relations and propaganda initiatives. Congress buoyed the Administration’s propaganda efforts by increasing federal spending on public relations for the first time since 2005.”
Issa's report Analysis of the First Year of the Obama Administration: Public Relations and Propaganda Initiatives hits on healthcare and education propaganda too, but the quirkiest example is a Justice Dept. blogger.
The Daily Caller goes into detail about Democrat healthcare propaganda. You may have seen the commercial featuring actor Andy Griffith, an icon with those who are seniors now because of his idyllic ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’ The values in that show, by the way, are the exact opposite of standards in Washington, but Griffith apparently wanted to help the public understand Obamacare which of course he will never need because he’s wealthy. Griffith doesn’t mention increased costs for Medicare Advantage to those seniors he’s addressing, but that’s okay—they’ll find out soon enough what’s in the bill now that it’s passed.
Issa’s report also contains allegations about a Justice Dept. blogger and this may be a moment of historic significance. If what the report said is true, this federal blogger has infracted Obama’s new Federal Trade Commission guidelines on disclosure.
As an aside, Andy Griffith may have infracted those guidelines too, if he got paid to do the ad.
Issa said shortly after the Justice Dept.’s blogger (in federalese, ‘new media specialist’) was hired, “…reports surfaced that indicated she was covertly attempting to shape public opinion by searching online for articles, blogs or other entries critical of the Administration and then anonymously, or through the use of a pseudonym, posting comments to those sites attacking the author or contents. The blogging and campaign communities refer to this propaganda tactic as ‘astroturfing.’ Astroturfing is the action of using fake and anonymous postings on message boards and blogs to push a point of view or to create the appearance of grassroots support for a particular agenda.”
This is as we say in texting a moment for LOL. This blogger is (allegedly) the first Justice Dept. troll in the history of the world. LOL.
Issa wrote to the Justice Dept. about this—he received no response. Manners aren’t in the current federal canon of good employee behavior.
One of the blog posts at Justice applauds an investigation of the right of Muslims and Sikhs to wear traditional garb when teaching in public schools. Justice got a prohibition on laws against that (as well as dress for other faiths) in Oregon, praising the governor for signing the bill. So if your kid comes home talking about teacher wearing a veil or scarf around her head, just thank the Democrat governor for all that diversity. Does this mean a teacher who attends one of those snakehandler churches can bring a viper wrapped around her neck to school? How about a Wiccan in flowing robes? Ah well, the kids have a dress code but what’s good for Junior apparently isn’t good for Mrs. Goody. I’d caution Junior, by the way, on wearing a t-shirt with a Bible verse or a necklace with a large cross. That might be a wee bit of a problem.
Down here on Main Street, we know we’re being fed a steady stream of propaganda, not only by the government but also by government-allied media. As a long time media professional, I must say I agree with Issa about the expansion of this effort by the Obama administration. That doesn’t surprise me, considering the show biz campaign, the de facto collusion by writers, bloggers and others to move a Dem into the White House, and the demonizing of anyone who doesn’t agree with the Nanny government that has grown to epic proportions at the hand of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
Issa’s report suggests the Justice Dept. may want to have a chat with the ‘new media specialist.’
Issa wrote, “The deployment of Justice Department resources to generate clandestine comments on message boards and blogs is a highly improper use of the Department’s resources. The GAO has frequently ruled that covert propaganda violates federal law and appropriations riders. Title 5 U.S.C. § 3107, prohibits the use of publicity experts unless specifically appropriated for that purpose. Additionally, the Justice Department is held to an even higher standard of conduct than other agencies as it is tasked with enforcing the nation's laws in an objective, nonpartisan, and nonpolitical manner. The allegations that Department employees have engaged in a practice of clandestine commenting raise serious doubts about this Justice Department's ability to accomplish that task.”
Healthcare pitchmen who probably won't even be affected by Obamacare and a Justice Dept. troll suggest this administration has taken government propaganda to a whole new level. Issa's report appears to confirm his allegations and it's obvious an investigation should ensue.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Aug. 16, 2010)