ITWASSOOTED: <span style="color:#339999;">'It's not a natural condition but must be manipulated to get people to join unpopular realities.''</span>

Friday, February 24, 2006

'It's not a natural condition but must be manipulated to get people to join unpopular realities.''

Watchdogs Urge Full Probe of Bush Propaganda Spending
by Niko Kyriakou

SAN FRANCISCO - Media reform groups are calling for a deeper investigation of Bush administration advertising and propaganda efforts following the release of a report that concludes the White House has spun a web of public relations (PR) contracts larger than previously thought.

At issue are agreements to produce everything from advertisements to video news releases--government-vetted spots designed to air alongside and to be indistinguishable from regular televised news reports.

Critics of the state-sponsored content said it constitutes part of a broader government attack on press freedom and that it amounts to a subversion of democracy.

''When elected public servants use taxpayer dollars to manipulate or deceive the very people whose consent they require for their legitimacy, our public servants then become our masters,'' said Sanho Tree, a fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies.

The official Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported last week that government agencies have spent about $1.6 billion over the past 30 months on PR and advertising contracts. Investigators said they found no breach of the law and added that all spent funds came from the agencies' budgets.

The document overlooked considerable government spending to cast President George W. Bush's policies in a favorable light, media reformists said, because it covered neither all types of PR spending nor all federal
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