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PoliCon
08-16-2010, 01:37 AM
Analysis of the First Year of the Obama Administration: Public Relations and Propaganda Initiatives


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Since the beginning of the Obama Administration on January 20, 2009, ordinary Americans have financed and been exposed to an unprecedented number of public relations and propaganda efforts. Federal spending for public relations contracts rose to historically-high levels during the Bush Administration. Under one-party rule in 2009, the White House used the machinery of the Obama campaign to tout the Presidentís agenda through inappropriate and sometimes unlawful public relations and propaganda initiatives. Congress buoyed the Administrationís propaganda efforts by increasing federal spending on public relations for the first time since 2005.

The Obama Administration frequently used federal resources to promote the Presidentís agenda. In many cases, the Administration relied on the reach and resources of federal agencies and their personnel to promote certain of the Presidentís favorite programs. The White House also leveraged ties to the arts and entertainment community to embed propaganda in the content of television programming and artwork. These propaganda efforts violated appropriations riders and federal law prohibiting the use of appropriated funds for publicity or propaganda purposes.

The White House also used its inherent visibility advantages to multiply the effectiveness of websites containing misleading and controversial information. The White House used its resources to push visitors to websites that urge grassroots activism based on false and misleading information. The Presidentís right to sell his policy recommendations to Congress and the public is not disputed; however, using the resources of the federal government to activate a sophisticated propaganda and lobbying campaign is an abuse of office and a betrayal of the Presidentís pledge to create ďan unprecedented level of openness in Government.Ē1

Instead of facilitating openness, the public relations and propaganda activities of the White House have had precisely the opposite effect. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has historically deemed activities involving ďcovert propagandaĒ to be unlawful. In those cases, the source of the public relations or propaganda materials did not disclose his or her identity as a federal employee or contractor. Many of the Obama Administrationís propaganda activities are unlawful because they are covert. Furthermore, several programs closely resemble those decried by Democrats and ruled unlawful by GAO during the Bush Administration.

This report examines several of the most visible public relations and propaganda efforts during the first year of the Obama Administration. Viewed collectively, these activities reveal an Administration better suited to campaign-style self-promotion than to providing transparent and honest leadership.

CONTINUED (http://www.wnd.com/files/100815issapropagandareport.pdf)