Wednesday, March 16, 2005

More from comptroller general of the US David Walker (whose office oversees the GAO):

I don't understand why somebody would not try to comply with the guidance. Things like ethics should matter. Our job as public servants is to do what's right with the taxpayers' money.

From this article in Salon on the Justice Department's dismissal of the GAO's rules on propaganda. Another excerpt:

In its 2004 ruling, the GAO took issue with the notion that if the government makes journalists aware that it is the source of information, then the government cannot be accused of illegally distributing propaganda. The GAO noted, "In our case law, findings of propaganda are predicated upon the fact that the target audience could not ascertain the information source." Referring to a case involving the Small Business Administration in the 1980s, it said, "For example, we found government-prepared editorials to be covert propaganda; although the newspapers who would have printed the suggested editorials should have been aware of the source, the reading public would not have been aware of the source." The SBA had created editorials to run on Op-Ed pages across the country in support of President Reagan's proposal to transfer the SBA to the Department of Commerce. While newspaper editors may have been aware of the origin of the essays, the readers -- the target audience -- were not. Therefore, the GAO ruled, the SBA-prepared editorials violated the ban on propaganda.

However, the Justice Department disagrees that government-produced policy ads that fail to identify themselves as anything other than straight news pieces qualify as propaganda. How could anyone doubt that Attorney General Gonzales has the US population's best interests at heart? His pro-torture, pro-propaganda, anti-free speech position is clearly what the Founding Fathers had in mind in the conception of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.*

* If by "Founding Fathers" you mean "Joseph Goebbels" and by "Constitution and Bill of Rights" you mean "the Thousand-Year Reich."


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