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Posts Tagged ‘propaganda’

PBS Airing RW Sponsored School Privatization Propaganda

video 15:30

Thanks to an alert from the Thom Hartman radio program ( 11AM to 2PM daily) we were able to find an article at Media Matters that detailed the story of these privatization propaganda.

So let’s go to Media Matters for the story:

“Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her department have pushed for an expansion of privatized school choice programs in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2018, particularly in the form of private school vouchers. Now a propagandistic three-part documentary series called School Inc. will help DeVos in her efforts to gain public support for expanded private school choice options. The series has already aired on PBS stations in some markets and will be shown on more this month.”

< < snip >>

In addition to School Inc.’s roots in the radical, libertarian Cato Institute, education historian and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch found that the film was funded by a number of arch-conservative foundations with ties to the “dark money ATM” DonorsTrust and the Ayn Rand Institute. Ravitch has prescreened School Inc. and provided this scathing review to The Washington Post:

This program is paid propaganda. It does not search for the truth. It does not present opposing points of view. It is an advertisement for the demolition of public education and for an unregulated free market in education. PBS might have aired a program that debates these issues, but “School Inc.” does not.

Why would a public broadcast channel air a documentary that is produced by a right-wing think tank and funded by ultra-conservative donors, and that presents a single point of view without meaningful critique, all the while denigrating public education? PBS responded in part with a statement to the Post, saying, “PBS and local member stations aim to offer programs that reflect diverse viewpoints and promote civic dialogue on important topics affecting local communities.”

However, as Ravitch notes, when a documentary fails to objectively present information about a topic that may not be well understood by the general public, the result is unlikely to “promote civic dialogue.” And when major media outlets uncritically provide a platform to right-wing ideologues, they further misinform and polarize the debate around important issues such as public education.”

editor comment:
PBS is looked to as a trusted brand. One of their calling cards is their supposed objectivity. Airing a series of programs that are little more than propaganda for a single point of view badly damages that trust with the public.

What, Me Worry?

Letters to the Editor: A great way to get your voice out

The following is a letter to the editor from Larry Hodgden of Tipton. Larry is an Army veteran and former chair of the Cedar County Democrats.

A recent Gazette letter reminded me of this warning to all of us. Reverend Martin Niemoller wrote this in June 1945 after being freed from a Nazi prison.

“First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the Social-Democrats and I did not speak out because I was not a Social Democrat. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

One thing that Niemoller failed to mention was all this happened after the Nazis took control of the press and filled the airwaves with their propaganda. This should be a sobering message for us all as we contemplate the message and actions coming from the Trump administration.

History is filled with examples of charismatic, demagogic individuals who, with the silence of an uninformed and fearful public, gained autocratic power and then eliminated the freedoms, rights and dignity of the citizens while committing horrendous crimes against humanity. Who’s going to speak out for the 92 million citizens who did not vote? Who’s going to speak out for our children regardless of their parent’s immigration status or their religious, ethnic, gender, economic and disability status?

Trump, and his Republican enablers, are coming after the press, coming after Muslims and Hispanics, coming after public education, coming after Medicare and Social Security, coming after the environment, coming after women’s health care, coming after gay rights, coming after gun safety, coming after the unions, coming after mental health care, coming after your neighbor.

I’m reminded of Mad Magazine from the 60’s and its motto, “What, me worry?”. So why should I worry? They are not coming for me…. yet!

Nothing To Worry About?

75 Years Ago: Kristallnacht


Yesterday and today (Nov. 9 and 10) mark the 75th anniversary of one of the most shameful chapters in the often shameful history of mankind. Kristallnacht was two days of a rampage against Jews in Nazi Germany and Austria. Businesses, homes and synagogues owned by Jews were destroyed. Jewish people were murdered or captured to be sent to concentration camps. If you want a much more thorough treatment of what happened Wikipedia as always is a good place to start.

We must never forget Kristallnacht, nor the events which led to these horrific days. Most know that Adolph Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany and later ascended to dictator. During his rise Hitler used Jews as the scapegoats for any and all of Germany’s problems. Following years of anti-Jewish propaganda and stricter and stricter anti-Jewish laws, the Nazis let rage against an incident evolve into full blown anti-Jewish riots.

That very short history is to just remind us how easily people can be led by demagogues and propaganda into horrific ends. Our greatest firewalls against creating such an environment is a skeptical watchdog press and labor unions. One additional firewall we have in today’s world is the internet and the droves of citizen journalists who stand in the way those who want absolute power and their quest.

The media has for the most part become the lapdog of those in power in recent years. The have consolidated into a very concentrated group with profit as their real driving motive. Unions have nearly been obliterated, although they do show signs of resurrecting. Right now an open internet may be our best defense against future demagoguery and propaganda.

Kristallnacht or anything like it must never happen again. We must keep the firewalls in place and functioning well.

Tired Of The Lies?

John Boehner :: JamesonDon’t know about you but I sure am tired of the constant lies from the Republican side of the aisle. These past few weeks have shown a bright spotlight on their propensity for lying their asses off almost no matter what the subject is. And not only is the lying endemic to them, they seem to rely on a chief of lies to create what we now call a right wing talking point. It is not really a talking point but a piece of propagandistic lie that seems to emanate from the belly of Fox News.

Once the propaganda has been released it doesn’t make any difference how true it is. Because of the infamous right wing echo chamber any propaganda release is stated and restated thousands of times within a few hours. Thus the propaganda reaches the status of a news story within a short time. The media in America has often been little but a stenographer for the right wing in recent years. For one thing, no media wants to be caught NOT covering what all the other media is covering. Second it is easier and cheaper to do. The news division is no longer a source of pride for a network; they are a profit center and must create revenue and cut costs.

All that said to ask a simple question – do you want to vote for proven liars for public office? I don’t. If someone lies to me they have lost my trust pretty much forever. I have and will question those who lie to me. But once they lie to me, they have lost my trust. My question to those reading this is – do you want to be governed by those who lie every time they open their mouths? It certainly shows they have little respect for you, your family or for our country. Americans are tough. They can handle the truth. To lie to them is to say “we do not care what you think.”

Beyond the fact that they are lying, they are almost always using someone else’s words. They are not even honest enough to lie to us using their own words. They can’t even look us in the eye. So if they are elected, how should we expect them to govern? They already lie to us repeatedly. Can we expect them to quit their lying once they get in office? Can we expect them to honor their promises or were those lies also. If you are like me, you know that if a person lacks integrity in communication with us, little he or she says is sincere.

Mitt Romney lied at every turn while running for office often lying to cover other lies. Nearly half the country voted for him. This simply shows that half the country does not care if they are lied to.

Chris Hayes had a good segment on Republican lying on his show All In Wednesday evening. Hayes took on the lies that the ACA have led to more and more part-time work in this country. The message is the same no matter what the right wing talking point is – take it apart and you will see it is nothing but a lie. If you vote for those who lie to us, we get an unresponsive government that acts for the good of those who buy the politician.

Gov’t Propaganda Okay in U.S.

radio 2From Foreign Policy Magazine:

U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News To Americans

“For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law (the Smith-Mundt Act) prevented the U.S. government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts. So what just happened?

Until this month, a vast ocean of U.S. programming produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks could only be viewed or listened to at broadcast quality in foreign countries. The programming varies in tone and quality, but its breadth is vast: It’s viewed in more than 100 countries in 61 languages. The topics covered include human rights abuses in Iran; self-immolation in Tibet; human trafficking across Asia; and on-the-ground reporting in Egypt and Iraq.”

Click here to read the entire article (free account required).