Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Illegal Propaganda

Under U.S. law, it is illegal for the executive branch to spend federal funds on propaganda without the consent of Congress.

The Bush administration has ignored these rules several times. This isn't even remotely funny. It is not a joking matter. I do not lightly bring up the inevitable comparison between Bush's propaganda and the work of Joseph Goebbels.

Today, I learned that the administration authorized a fake GOP journalist, James "JD" Guckert (AKA Jeff Gannon), to operate from the White House press office like other accredited journalists. Guckert represented a fake news agency called Talon News.

Not only did this operative serve up softball questions during news conferences, it was revealed today that he was one of the handful of conservative newspeople who received the infamous, leaked Valerie Plame CIA memo. Valerie Plame is the wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson. Her identity was leaked by White House staffers, presumably to punish Wilson for publicising the deliberately misleading errors about Iraqi efforts to obtain Uranium in the President's State of the Union address. Leaking her identity not only exposed an undercover CIA operative, it may well have cost lives in the field.

I strongly believe criminal complaints should be filed in the following cases:

  1. The Niger Yellowcake scandal that resulted in the Plame CIA leak. This was clearly a case of domestic propaganda in the President's speech.

  2. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created a fake news report that was distributed nationally and appeared on many local TV stations. The fake news report praised the administration's Medicare Drug Prescription bill. The Government Accountability Office found this to be unlawful.

  3. The Department of Education paid Armstrong Williams, a conservative news columnist, $240,000 to sing the praises of the so-called No Child Left Behind act.

  4. Syndicated columnists Maggie Gallagher and Michael McManus apparently had undisclosed paid contracts with the Department of Health and Human Services. These columnists wrote articles praising Bush policies on marriage and sex education.

  5. Employees of the Social Security Administration have been directed to tell the public that there is an impending crisis in the social security system. This is false information that promotes the Bush political agenda.

You can bet that, with this track record, we will find many other examples of Bush administration propaganda.

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