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The Republican Propaganda Machine

February 14 2006
by Andrew Bosworth

The Republican Propaganda Machine is firing on all pistons. It has to be. The new agenda is about convincing conservatives to betray their core principles. 


The new Party Line is:


  • Limited government is now Big Brother government
  • Free enterprise is now crony capitalism
  • Science is now garbage science
  • Prudent use of force is now permanent war


All governments play with words and ideas, spinning things their way. But the Bush administration is the first to bathe America in a sewer of propaganda:  Free Speech Zones; the Middle Class Tax Cuts; No Child Left Behind; the New Freedom Initiative; the Clear Skies Act; the Data Quality Act, the Patriot Act and Compassionate Conservatism all mean, in the real world, their opposites. Consider the following egregious examples of propaganda: 


  • The White House even concocted a fake news agency, Talon News, to provide a cover for a fake reporter, Jeff Gannon, to lob fake questions at President Bush. After suspicions arose, the White House spokesman, Scott McLellan, denied that they were using Gannon to propagandize ("just a wild conspiracy theory"). But proof soon came forward that Jeff Gannon was his fake name, and that in real life he was a prostitute.


  • Republicans in Congress broadened the classification of "manufacturing" so much that even the Starbuck's company qualifies as a manufacturer (and receives tax breaks). Gregory Mankiw, one of Bush's economic advisors, proposed redefining "manufacturing" to include making hamburgers. The inclusion of McJobs as manufacturing would thus mask the loss of real manufacturing jobs.  


  • The "Data Quality Act" prevents the federal government from disseminating warnings about products if industries can produce, with garbage science, countervailing data.   The Act has been used to harvest more timber, to treat playground equipment with arsenic, and to suppress reports on the hazards of nickel.


  • The White House regime hired a professional public-relations firm, the Rendon Group, to help sell the American public on the War in Iraq.


  • President Bush repeatedly juxtaposed "Saddam Hussein" and "Al Qaeda" in the same sentence, implying a strong connection, and more than half of Americans were fooled into believing that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9-11. The result is the indirect fabrication of an enormous lie, which recalls the words of Joseph Goebbels: "When one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it."


  • Condoleeza Rice, as National Security Advisor, disseminated the even-then-suspicious "Niger uranium" theory linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program and then, when the theory was demonstrably false, she offloaded the mistake to the CIA. (When it was a CIA report in the first place that put the Niger uranium theory in doubt).


  • The White House hoodwinked the media into airing countless "fake news" segments: the fake Jessica Lynch story about being "rescued" behind enemy lines (when in fact she was resting in a hospital and retrieved with no hostile fire); the fake Pat Tillman story about dying while fighting the enemy (he was killed by friendly fire); and the toppling of Saddam's statue in front of a fake spontaneous crowd (the sympathizers were bused in for the pre-arranged event).


  • The Bush Administration orchestrated a fake presidential chat with the troops in Iraq, who were coached for each "impromptu" question by White House spin doctors.


In George Orwell's 1984, the totalitarian regime of Oceania sponsored the creation of a new language, "Newspeak," designed to impoverish vocabulary, narrow the range of thought and limit critical reasoning.  


A related concept, Orwellian "doublethink," enabled people to hold two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously. But 1984, a novel, was designed as a general political comment. Who would have thought that newspeak and doublethink were such prophetic concepts?


President Bush's destruction of meaning, doublethink and circular reasoning:


  • "They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some kind of federal program."


  • "This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table."


  • "I want to send the signal to our enemy that you have aroused a compassionate and decent and mighty nation, and we're going to hunt you down."


  • "We're a peaceful nation and moving along just right and just kind of having a time, and all of a sudden, we get attacked and now we're at war, but we're at war to keep the peace."


  • "I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe -- I believe what I believe is right."  


In the United States, there is little or no overt government censorship of the media. Instead, there is "market censorship." This annihilates stories that are unfavorable to corporate advertisers, media owners or dominant political factions. Consider the following examples of how market censorship dovetails with Republican propaganda.  


  • FOX News refused to broadcast a commercial critical of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.  The ad explored his support of the police in the case of a warrantless strip search of a mother and her 10-year-old daughter.  


  • FOX News cancelled a story about hormones in the dairy industry of Florida (where President Bush's brother Jeb is Governor) because of corporate lobbying by Monsanto (the drug company that makes the hormone).  


  • Clear Channel and Cumulus Media blacklisted the Dixie Chicks from their playlists because Natalie Maines, the lead singer, expressed shame for coming from Texas, the same state as George Bush.


  • MSNBC cancelled the highly-rated show by Phil Donohue (a liberal) and replaced it with a program called Countdown: Iraq. MSNBC claimed that the Donohue show suffered from poor ratings when its ratings were higher than Hardball with Chris Matthews (a conservative). A leaked MSNBC memo reveals the truth about executive concerns that the network would become "… a home for the liberal anti-war agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."


  • CBS bowed to the Republican National Committee and cancelled its miniseries, "The Reagans," because it contained several unflattering portrayals of Ronald and Nancy.


  • ABC cancelled three interviews with Robert Kennedy Jr. regarding his investigation of thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative used in vaccines and linked to autism.


  • CBS refused to air a advertisement during the Super Bowl because it was critical of President Bush's role in ballooning the federal deficit.


  • CBS and NBC refused to run a United Church of Christ advertisement because it implied that gay couples were welcome.


  • The National Drug Council was allowed to air commercials linking marijuana smoking to supporting terrorism. But Arianna Huffington was not allowed to air commercials linking gas-guzzling cars to Middle Eastern countries that support terrorism. 


  • The mainstream media downplayed and eventually killed reports about President Bush possibly being electronically wired for the first debate. This was despite analysis by a NASA scientist specializing in photo imagery.


The Republican Propaganda Machine has benefited from having much of the media on its side – particularly FOX News, which, as the network repeatedly points out, is number one. As for the Bush regime itself, it continues to spew a toxic torrent of misinformation, disinformation and propaganda.


Andrew Bosworth, PhD. teaches Political Science at a university in Texas. This is the first installment in an upcoming book, American Apocalypse. Andrew can be contacted at

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