The Ministry of Information

May 22nd, 2004

To the Editor,

The American people are susceptible to the hype of campaign promises unlikely to be kept and the “spin” doctors who try to limit embarrassment on the part of officials caught in their insincerities pre and post election. We tend to believe what appears in news soundbytes and is offered to us by journalists, assuming some penalty attaches to misrepresentations in those venues.

It is another thing entirely to see a government authorized propaganda machine subverting an already biased journalistic culture, while pretending to BE the media. The GAO’s investigation tradition of following the money, is doing a good job of uncovering such increasingly flagrant violations of public trust.

Does anyone remember hundreds of “letters home” ostensibly written by GIs and published in various hometown papers? Actually a single form letter authored by a military commander, soldiers simply signed their names to it. One copy was even published in a US paper under the name of a soldier who refused to sign it, according to the Gannet News Service. The result was a misrepresentation of our welcome in Iraq and our progress in reconstruction. Remember pictures of a fake Thanksgiving turkey? And now faked news reports urging Medicare recipients to make choices in care that may not represent their best interests.

If the administration cannot be trusted to communicate honestly with the public in small things, how can we trust them with larger issues such our medical insurance, the economy and foreign policy? Perhaps a future headline, “Kerry Wins” will be the result of public disgust with the faked “headlines” we are reading now.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Washington Post

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