Category Archives: propaganda

Email FWD Electric Boogaloo BS

Comments now closed. Too much ignorant RW propadanda which, I might add, has absolutely nothing to do with the post. Yes, everything is always Obama’s fault and Bush The Lesser was wonderful. Fuck off, Jim.

Apparently this photo is making the rounds of Uncle Ernie and Aunt Bertha’s email:


It purports to show 73-year-old Bill Moyer attending a VFW speech by President Obama. The funny thing? The picture’s been ‘shopped. It was actually taken at a speech made by President George W. Bush in 2005.


Apparently the picture has made the rounds, photoshopped to allegedly be taken during speeches by Sen. Ted Kennedy, Vice President Joe Biden, and Nancy Pelosi.

This reminds me that a lot of the anti-Obama bumper stickers I’ve been seeing are clear rip-offs of anti-Bush stickers and memes we libs sported during the last administration. Last week I saw a car with a sticker reading “Somewhere in Kenya a village is missing its idiot,” which of course first appeared as an anti-Bush sticker, with “Texas” in place of Kenya.

Some of the right’s attempts to co-opt liberal slogans are a little odd and seem to miss the point. I’ve seen a few “1-20-17 End Of An Error” stickers around. We liberals sported those same stickers under Bush, the date of course reading 1-20-2009. The point of “end of an error,” naturally, was to reference the Supreme Court decision. Conservatives don’t seem to get that.

You guys need to get your own memes. You’re sorta looking like you don’t have any of your own ideas.


Filed under George W. Bush, internet, President Obama, propaganda, protests

>Great Moments In Corporate PR

>I guess the Corn Refiners Assn.’s lame “it’s fine in moderation!” ads have been a big fail, as they are seeking permission to change the name of high fructose corn syrup to “corn sugar.” Riiiight! Sorta like when Madonna renamed herself Esther or when Sean Combs became Puff Daddy, then Puffy, then P. Diddy, then Diddy. I’m sure if approved this move will go just as swimmingly.

Vanity Fair thinks “corn sugar” is sorta lame, though, and I have to agree. Their suggestions aren’t much better: “Syruption” and “Freshness”? Surely the brilliant minds at Conde Nast can do better.

I have a few ideas: How about “Freedom Syrup,” in recognition of the tremendous amount of corporate welfare taxpayer money which subsidizes corn production? Or maybe they should take a cue from my spam e-mail box and call it something which has been tested by international marketers: “Winning Notification” or “Miley Cyrus Illegal XXXX.” Surely I wouldn’t be getting so much crap with these kinds of subject lines if they weren’t effective?

Or we could call it “isoglucose” or “glucose-fructose syrup,” two actual alternative names for the stuff according to Wikipedia. Or, what the hell, how about Frankensyrup? Doesn’t sound so friendly, of course, but that’s what it is. Frankenfood created in a lab:

The enzyme process that changes the 100% glucose corn syrup into HFCS 90 is as follows:

1. Cornstarch is treated with alpha-amylase to produce shorter chains of sugars called oligosaccharides.

2. Glucoamylase – which is produced by Aspergillus, a fungus, in a fermentation vat — breaks the sugar chains down even further to yield the simple sugar glucose.

3. Xylose isomerase (aka glucose isomerase) converts glucose to a mixture of about 42% fructose and 50–52% glucose with some other sugars mixed in.

Yummy! So yeah, with long unpronounceable words like “Xylose isomerase” no wonder they want to change the name to “corn sugar.”

I always hated those stupid, “it’s fine in moderation!” ads that we’ve seen courtesy of the Corn Refiners Assn. for the past year or two. Yeah, good luck with the “moderation” part. High fructose corn syrup is in everything, from soups and breads to soft drinks and popsicles. “Moderation” is a fantasy where this stuff is concerned.

A few parody ads were made of the Corn Refiners Assn. campaign. Here’s one:

I just find it so annoying that corporate America thinks we’re stupid.

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Filed under food, propaganda

There’s Astroturf At The Tea Party

If you suspected Rick Santelli’s “spontaneous” tea party rant was actually a fake, you may be on to something. It’s starting to look like it was part of a conservative astroturfing campaign put together by FreedomWorks, Dick Armey’s right-wing propaganda operation.

FreedomWorks is one of those shady, GOP-affiliated organizations which use stealth propaganda campaigns to foist such unpopular policies like privatizing Social Security on the American people (Move America Forward is another one, but there are several).

Now they’ve used a phony “grassroots” campaign, a network of conservative blogs, and a willing mouthpiece in CNBC’s Rick Santelli to launch the first assault on President Obama’s economic plans. Journalists Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, both familiar with Russian-style propaganda campaigns, smelled a rat and did some digging. They broke the story on Friday here at (no jokes, please! I was directed there by Avedon Carol). Do read the entire thing, but here are a few excerpts:

Within hours of Santelli’s rant, a website called sprang to life. Essentially inactive until that day, it now featured a YouTube video of Santelli’s “tea party” rant and billed itself as the official home of the Chicago Tea Party. The domain was registered in August, 2008 by Zack Christenson, a dweeby Twitter Republican and producer for a popular Chicago rightwing radio host Milt Rosenberg—a familiar name to Obama campaign people.


On the same day as Santelli’s rant, February 19, another site called went live. This site was registered to Eric Odom, who turned out to be a veteran Republican new media operative specializing in imitation-grassroots PR campaigns. Last summer, Odom organized a twitter-led campaign centered around to pressure Congress and Nancy Pelosi to pass the offshore oil drilling bill, something that would greatly benefit Koch Industries, a major player in oil and gas. Now, six months later, Odom’s DontGo movement was resurrected to play a central role in promoting the “tea party” movement.

Ames and Levine go on to link the “tea parties” to the bazillionaire arch-conservative Koch family, the folks behind the John Birch Society, the Club For Growth, the Cato Institute, and a network of smaller organizations like Chicago Libertarian activist group, the Sam Adam Alliance. Not coincidentally, that is where Eric Odom worked as “new media coordinator.” Sam Adams, huh. Wow, what a coinky-dinky:

Samuel Adams the historical figure was famous for inspiring and leading the Boston Tea Party—so when the PR people from the Chicago-based Sam Adams Alliance abruptly leave in order to run Santelli’s “Chicago Tea Party,” you know it wasn’t spontaneous.

Koch family money is behind all of these various different players, and while it may be a little difficult to follow along in blog excerpts, I urge you to read the Ames/Levine piece. Bottom line is, the vast right wing conspiracy is alive and well, and regular people across the country–including right here in Nashville–were turned into its tools.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen fake “grassroots” campaigns funded by conservative megabazillionaires like Howard Ahmanson, Tom Monaghan, Rev. Moon and the DeVos family. Conservatives have a whole group of these moneybags they can turn to when they need to finance a new astroturf operation.

But this is the first time we’ve seen evidence that a media figure like Rick Santelli knowingly took part in a conservative propaganda campaign. Why? Well, I’m sure the fact that his contract is up for renewal this summer had something to do with it. His Tea Party-enhanced national profile will no doubt help with those negotiations. But news that the entire thing was planned and orchestrated by conservative PR firms should be grounds for Santelli’s firing–now. He just threw any suggestion that he had journalistic impartiality out the window to meet his own selfish ends. If CNBC doesn’t investigate this now their credibility is gone, too.

Not to be overlooked or understated is the entire purpose of the “Tea Party” propaganda campaign, which is just one piece of a larger strategy. Ames and Levine state it loud and clear:

As you read this, Big Business is pouring tens of millions of dollars into their media machines in order to destroy just about every economic campaign promise Obama has made, as reported recently in the Wall Street Journal. At stake isn’t the little guy’s fight against big government, as Santelli and his bot-supporters claim, but rather the “upper 2 percent”’s war to protect their wealth from the Obama Adminstration’s economic plans. When this Santelli “grassroots” campaign is peeled open, what’s revealed is a glimpse of what is ahead and what is bound to be a hallmark of his presidency.

Indeed. This is, at its core, yet another battle in an unspoken class war. A group of Americans have unwittingly been conscripted into service for the wealthy establishment that oppresses the poor and robs the middle class. Don’t believe me? Just look at the past eight years under Bush. The past is prologue.

Progressives are going to have to step it up if we’re going to expose these charlatans and puppeteers. You’re being played, people.

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Filed under astroturfing, propaganda, Rick Santelli

>How Dirty Is Our Media

>Since the New York Times revealed the Pentagon’s propaganda campaign and use of “surrogates and message-force multipliers” to sprinkle fairy dust on our failed Iraq misadventure, we’ve been learning a lot about the astonishing breadth and depth of this misinformation campaign.

Most interesting is the Pentagon’s massive document dump, which through the miracle of the internet allows ordinary dweebs like you and me to read transcripts and e-mails between the Pentagon and these propaganda mouthpieces. Folks like ThinkProgress and Talking Points Memo are combing through these files and have posted some interesting things. For example, one military analyst who is also a radio host promised a “softball” interview of Gen. Casey on a right-wing radio show, prompting a Pentagon flack to warn:

Just fyi, probably wouldn’t put “softball” interview in writing. If that got out it would compromise jed and general casey.

What’s astonishing to me is, despite the tremendous effort and energy put into this propaganda program, it’s been an utter failure. The Pentagon went all out to seed the news media with Iraq War boosters and friendly faces who promised to be “on message,” yet the majority of Americans still think the Iraq War was a mistake and the occupation has been mishandled. Truth wins out, people, every single time.

I spent a little time wading through the document dump today and really came face to face with evidence of our massively corrupted right wing media. Of course, we always knew the Fox folks were cheerleaders for the Bush Administration, but looking through these documents, we see Fox News and right-wing radio in deep collusion with the Pentagon propaganda machine. They were active, willing, knowing participants.

A favorite is this April 18, 2006 briefing with then-Secretary Rumsfeld and General Casey. At one point an analyst marvels to Rumsfeld:

“You go on O’Reilly and you’ve got him eating out of your hand.”

On page 14 of the transcript, Rumsfeld gloats about Gen. Russell Honore calling journalists stupid:

Question: Right. One of the things that impressed me about how the initiatives (inaudible) after the hurricane in New Orleans was when Honore chastised the press about getting stuck on stupid. [Laughter].

Secretary Rumsfeld: It was wonderful. Can you imagine? I’d like to think I was a genius and I had him located there to — [Laughter] – just in case there was a Katrina. But it was just an accident. The guy is fabulous.

Actually, Honore was discussing Hurricane Rita, and chastising the media for having the temerity to ask what lessons from Katrina would be applied to the Rita evacuation effort (you can watch a YouTube clip of Honore here.) Right wing media pundits like Michelle Malkin ate it up. They love it when someone gets tough with CNN reporters because they see themselvs as perpetual victims in a world where their extreme views have them inreasingly marginalized.

This certainly doesn’t let the rest of the mainstream media off the hook, it does seem that the folks at CBS, CNN, etc. were at least for the most part sloppy and incurious, but not necessarily knowing participants in a government misinformation campaign. You can’t say that for the right wing media, though.

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Filed under media, media manipulation, Pentagon, Pentagon document dump, propaganda

>Pentagon Halts Analyst Propaganda Program–For Now

>Interesting. Despite a near-universal media blackout since the New York Times broke the story of the Pentagon’s military propaganda campaign, the government is “temporarily” halting the program pending an investigation:

Pentagon halts feeding of information to retired officers while issue is reviewed

By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, April 26, 2008 

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Defense Department has temporarily stopped feeding information to retired military officers pending a review of the issue, said Robert Hastings, principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for public affairs.

The New York Times first reported on Sunday that the Defense Department was giving information to retired officers serving as pundits for various media organizations in order to garner favorable media coverage.

Some of these retired officers saw their access to key decision-makers as possible business opportunities for the defense contractors they represent, according to the newspaper. The story also alleged that the officers who did not repeat the Bush administration’s official line were denied further access to information.

Hastings said he is concerned about allegations that the Defense Department’s relationship with the retired military analysts was improper.

“Following the allegations, the story that is printed in the New York Times, I directed my staff to halt, to suspend the activities that may be ongoing with retired military analysts to give me time to review the situation,” Hastings said in an interview with Stripes on Friday.

Let me point out to Stars & Stripes that the issue is not so much that the Pentagon was “feeding information” to retired military officers serving as network and cable news analysts. It’s that they they were feeding these so-called “analysts” spin, talking points and propaganda. And these so-called “analysts” were in most cases willing propaganda-pushers:

Though many analysts are paid network consultants, making $500 to $1,000 per appearance, in Pentagon meetings they sometimes spoke as if they were operating behind enemy lines, interviews and transcripts show.

Some offered the Pentagon tips on how to outmaneuver the networks, or as one analyst put it to Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, “the Chris Matthewses and the Wolf Blitzers of the world.” Some warned of planned stories or sent the Pentagon copies of their correspondence with network news executives. Many — although certainly not all — faithfully echoed talking points intended to counter critics.

“Good work,” Thomas G. McInerney, a retired Air Force general, consultant and Fox News analyst, wrote to the Pentagon after receiving fresh talking points in late 2006. “We will use it.”

Or, how about this one:

At the same time, in e-mail messages to the Pentagon, [Fox News analyst] Mr. Garrett displayed an eagerness to be supportive with his television and radio commentary. “Please let me know if you have any specific points you want covered or that you would prefer to downplay,” he wrote in January 2007, before President Bush went on TV to describe the surge strategy in Iraq.

Aww. That’s so sweet! Thanks for thinking of us!

It is tempting to fault the Pentagon and the phony “analysts” for this scenario, but really I fault the networks and cable news. Why weren’t they paying attention? Why weren’t they examining who these phony “analysts” were? Why this:

The analysts, they noticed, often got more airtime than network reporters, and they were not merely explaining the capabilities of Apache helicopters. They were framing how viewers ought to interpret events. What is more, while the analysts were in the news media, they were not of the news media. They were military men, many of them ideologically in sync with the administration’s neoconservative brain trust, many of them important players in a military industry anticipating large budget increases to pay for an Iraq war.

Why, CNN? Why, MSNBC? Why, CBS and ABC?

Why didn’t you do your job and report the news? Why did you never once question the information your phony “analysts” presented on the air?

What’s truly amazing to me is that despite pulling out all the stops, despite all of the propaganda and media manipulation, 63% of Americans still think the war was a mistake.

After all of that, Americans still aren’t buying it.

But the news media–and this extends to the New York Times, which happily printed Judith Miller’s BS on page one–has a lot to answer for. Their willing compliance in the largest scam ever perpetrated on an entire nation’s populace will have deep repercussions years down the road. They have blood on their hands for pushing America to war.

And as they continue to promote the same thinkers and opinion makers who were wrong about everything on Iraq, all I can say is: Stop hurting America. And stop hurting yourselves.

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Filed under Iraq War, media manipulation, propaganda

>Media Trojan Horse

>Why I don’t trust the mainstream media:

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Filed under Iraq War, media manipulation, propaganda