Propaganda. What does it mean? How does it work? How can we resist it, and live more decently with one another? Randal Marlin, a professor in the department of philosophy at Carleton University, has attempted to answer those questions in a new book that reviewer Martha Sully calls "a fascinating historical study."
"The Defense Department is considering
issuing a secret directive to the American military to
conduct covert operations aimed at influencing public
opinion and policy makers in friendly and neutral
countries, senior Pentagon and administration officials
say. ... Some are troubled by suggestions that the military might
pay journalists to write stories favorable to American
policies or hire outside contractors without obvious ties
to the Pentagon to organize rallies in support of American
CBS's promo for its program says: "Politicians have had to sell the public on going to war since Colonial times, but they never had the arsenal of advertising and communications techniques the Bush administration is using to sell a possible war on Iraq. Bob Simon reports on those techniques and those employed by the elder Bush prior to the 1991 Gulf War.
Tonight's HBO movie "Live from Baghdad" has journalists repeating the false Iraqi-baby-killing scam perpetrated by Hill & Knowlton PR in 1990. That outrageous stunt before a make-believe congressional committee was part of a multi-million dollar propaganda campaign funded by Kuwait to make sure the US went to war. The crying teenage witness "Nayirah" seen in tonight's HBO film was actually the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the U.S. A year later journalists documented that her babies-thrown-from-incubators testimony was false, but most people still remember it as true.
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) warns that "the fraudulent story of Iraqi soldiers throwing Kuwaiti babies out of incubators during the occupation of Kuwait in 1990 is depicted as if it were true in 'Live from Baghdad,' the HBO film premiering on the cable network this Saturday that purports to tell the story behind CNN's coverage of the Gulf War. HBO and CNN are both owned by the AOL Time Warner media conglomerate. ...
The latest group of cheerleaders for war with Iraq, named the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, is meeting today in the White House with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.
"The White House is shifting James Wilkinson, who helped run the U.S./U.K. coalition communications office in the aftermath of the invasion of Afghanistan, to the Pentagon's U.S. Central Command to serve as spokesperson for Gen. Tommy Franks," O'Dwyer's PR Daily writes. "That move is a 'big signal' that the U.S. is 'getting serious' about Iraq, according to a report in The Washington Times. Wilkinson has just returned from a trip to Morocco, where he practiced his Arabic language skills on the streets.
"As soon as the results of Tuesday's mid-term elections are known, a small group of influential right-wing hawks with close ties to the offices of Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney will launch a new political campaign to rally public support for the invasion of Iraq," writes Jim Lobe.
The Hill & Knowlton PR firm is still spreading lies about its deceptive PR campaign to promote war with Iraq in 1990. H&K vice president Vivian Lines has written a letter to the Singapore Business Times, protesting its report on how the PR firm helped concoct a false story about Iraqi troops throwing babies out of incubators. Business Times columnist John Gee stands by his story, as does every independent observer who has looked into the matter.
"The [Sunday political] talk shows may bore many Americans, but they are crucial vehicles for the White House in setting the news agenda for the week," New York Times reporter John Tierney writes. "For the networks, the programs not only keep the news machine going on a slow day but also generate handsome profits because of their low costs -- and the fact that the big-name guests do not have to be paid.