Our news media is already blatantly biased. Our government already funds public TV and radio. And now this (from The Atlantic Wire)?
A law went into effect this month that ends the ban on U.S. government-made propaganda from being broadcast to Americans. In a remarkably creative spin, the supporters of this law say that allowing Americans to see American propaganda is actually a victory for transparency.
As Foreign Policy‘s John Hudson explains, the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 went into effect July 2, and allows government-made news — which includes products like Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks — to reach Americans. In the 1970s Sen. William Fulbright said these outlets ”should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics” because, as he and his allies argued, U.S. taxpayers should not have to pay for propaganda directed at them. But now these agencies say that’s actually unfair to taxpayers. Broadcasting Board of Governors spokeswoman Lynne Weil told FP it’s actually best for taxpayers to be able to see the propaganda, so they can serve as a check on it. “Now Americans will be able to know more about what they are paying for with their tax dollars–greater transparency is a win-win for all involved,” she said. Likewise, a former government official said: “Previously, the legislation had the effect of clouding and hiding this stuff…. Now we’ll have a better sense: Gee, some of this stuff is really good. Or gee, some of this stuff is really bad. At least we’ll know now.” (continued here)
Thomas Jefferson expressed his feelings about such matters this way.
Well aware that the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds; that Almighty God hath created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments, or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being lord both of body and mind, yet choose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, but to exalt it by its influence on reason alone; that the impious presumption of legislature and ruler, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time: That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness; and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporary rewards, which proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependance on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; and therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust or emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injudiciously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow-citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monoploy of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed these are criminals who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous falacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or suffer from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself; that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate; errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them. — Thomas Jefferson (from here)
- US repeals propaganda ban, spreads government-made news to Americans (stripes.com)
- The True Jeffersonian Face of Religious Freedom (politicususa.com)
- Obama Launches Massive Domestic Propaganda Push With Government-Run News (vineoflifenews.com)