News v. Propaganda: The Danger of Losing a Check & Balance

By | July 15, 2013

As illustrated by today’s mainstream media, there is a very fine line between news reporting and the act of propagandizing. The aware understand that news reporting consists of the sometimes painful process of conveying the “who, what, where, when, why and how” of a story, while at the very same time expunging the reporter’s opinion and bias from the report. This is true reporting; this is true journalism.

Today, especially in the mainstream media — and beginning most often in the schools of journalism, aspiring reporters and established journalists alike routinely inject opinion, bias and emotion into their reporting. Intentionally or not, this is the blatant manipulation of the news; the manipulation of the consumer, the American citizen, through propaganda, be it special interest, ideological or government driven.

ForeignPolicy. com reports:

“For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the US government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic US consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for US domestic propaganda efforts. So what just happened?

“Until this month, a vast ocean of US programming produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks could only be viewed or listened to at broadcast quality in foreign countries. The programming varies in tone and quality, but its breadth is vast: It’s viewed in more than 100 countries in 61 languages. The topics covered include human rights abuses in Iran; self-immolation in Tibet; human trafficking across Asia; and on-the-ground reporting in Egypt and Iraq…

“A former US government source with knowledge of the BBG says the organization is no Pravda, but it does advance US interests in more subtle ways.”

The need for the federal government to even have a “news generating” journalistic arm is questionable. News releases meant to inform the people on the actions, policies and concerns of the federal government are routinely issued; and issued for the free press — which holds First Amendment Rights so that it can dig into said statements to assure honesty and accountability — to relate to the American people. In reality (and this is predicated on a press that is not corrupted for ideological purposes), the government/media relationship is supposed to afford the public with a check and balance on governmental power.

When the federal government is able to create the news and then report on its own creation, there is no avenue for a check and balance. And when there is no avenue for a check and balance the atmosphere is ripe for the arrogance of power; when there is no avenue to hold the federal government accountable for the information they “issue” to the people, there is, inherently, a move to propagandize, even in the most innocent of ways.

Today, the Obama Administration has proven time and time again that its idea of “transparent government,” is anything but.

The Obama Administration’s idea of transparency in government requires those seeking accurate information to file multiple Freedom of Information Act requests, for Congress to issue subpoenas, and in some instances for Congress to even hold the Attorney General of the United States in contempt of Congress for his refusal to be forthright and penchant to mislead.

Today, the National Security Agency gathers information on American citizens who have done nothing to warrant their Fourth Amendment Rights to be transgressed, while the Director of National Intelligence tells congressional committees that they do no such thing and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation exists clueless as to who is supposed to be investigating the matter.

Today, the Internal Revenue Service targets Conservative non-profit groups for audit based on their political beliefs, even as everyone involved in that corrupt and criminal process scurries from responsibility like rats leaving a sinking ship, doing so while the team leader of the “gang of hate” pleads her Fifth Amendment Right to avoid self-incrimination.

And now, on the eve of the holiday on which the entire country celebrates the anniversary of the most courageous act in the history of man; a quest for liberty against the world’s pre-eminent power of the age; an oppressive and totalitarian regime that stifled the rights and freedoms of its own people, we witness perhaps the second most radically ideological federal administration in American history — led by a man who stated publicly that he believes the Constitution of the United States is flawed, quietly unleashing the power of one of the most powerful propaganda machines in the world on its own people under the guise of transparency.

Maybe it’s just me, but questions come to mind where this revelation is concerned. With the mainstream media being so incredibly “in bed” with this administration, why would they need to have this propaganda effort? And, given that the mainstream media has been “carrying the water” for this elected group of radical ideologues (which in and of itself conjures up the images of Chavez, Castro, Ahmadinejad and Putin), what can be so intricate, so important, so “it’s got to be just right” that they couldn’t trust their info-lackeys to deliver the message with fidelity?

My fellow Americans, I don’t know about you, but this simply doesn’t smell right. And with the current administrations record of clandestine activity — crafting legislation with the help of labor unions behind closed doors, myriad scandals that target the American people and political foes alike, and their overall distrust of the very people they were elected to serve — can we really be sure they can be trusted with such a potent “weapon”?

Perhaps we should ask the people of the former Soviet Union if this is a wise move. Perhaps, we should recall the warnings issued by the soon to be oppressed and slaughtered of pre-Hitler Germany.

Perhaps, just perhaps, it is time to wake-up and call this administration on what it really is…

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About Frank Salvato

Frank Salvato is the Executive Director for BasicsProject.org a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative focusing on Constitutional Literacy and the threats of Islamic jihadism and Progressive neo-Marxism. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network and has been a featured guest on al Jazeera's Listening Post and on Russia Today. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and was featured in the documentary, “Ezekiel and the MidEast ‘Piece’ Process: Israel’s Neighbor States.” He is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Captain's America Radio Show, nationally syndicated by the Genesis and Phoenix Broadcasting Networks, catering to the US Armed Forces around the world. Mr. Salvato is also heard weekly on The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth syndicated nationally on the IRN-USA Radio Network. Mr. Salvato has been interviewed on Radio Belgrade One. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times, Accuracy in Media, Human Events, and are syndicated nationally. He is a featured political writer for EducationNews.org, BigGovernment.com and Examiner.com and is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements.

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