|Extracted from Nexus Magazine,
Volume 11, Number 2 (February-March 2004)
PO Box 30, Mapleton Qld 4560 Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: +61 (0)7 5442 9280; Fax: +61 (0)7 5442 9381
From our web page at: www.nexusmagazine.com
|© 2003 by David B. Deserano, MS
Who has the information? How is it being distributed? How is it contextualized?
Part I: Media Intents, Capabilities, Practices, and Origins
Part II: Corporate Media and Content Control
Part III: Individuals—Actions and Connections
Part IV: Journalism and the Threat of the First Amendment
It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas in disguise.—Joseph Goebbels
The United States is the most media-saturated country in the world. We are bombarded daily with thousands upon thousands of images and sounds designed to get our attention, entertain, and inform us of everything from shoes to food to celebritydom to political ideology. Its been estimated that the average American is exposed to more than 3000 advertisements every day, but on top of that, there are the news programs, sitcoms, films, radio and other forms of media that we choose to consume. All of this works to shape our opinions of the world and a great deal of time, effort, and money is spent to guide our opinions down particular avenues. This used to be called "propaganda".
Today, with the negative, Nazi-esque connotation which comes with that word, euphemisms such as misinformation, disinformation, image consulting, political consulting, news consulting, advertising, infomercials, public relations, damage control, and the art of spin have taken its place in the English lexicon, all but concealing its true nature and omnipresence. And omnipresent, it is. The industries that deal with information control – in both the commercial and governmental sectors—work with hundreds of millions of dollars annually, for Schoolhouse Rock was right on target when it said, "Knowledge is Power!" Is it any wonder that our schools are suffering so badly while corporate CEOs and members of our government continually allot themselves raises? Uninformed, ignorant masses are far easier to manipulate then educated, thinking masses.
Who has the information? How is it being distributed? How is
Corporations and the US government have spent many decades and hundreds of billions of dollars researching how best to effect the American people. Much of this information is kept secret from the public (in the case of corporate research, it is their private property) and what is known has come from the more recent work done by scholars around the world – work that is dramatically under-funded by comparison. So, the information available to the average citizen – including the aforementioned academic scholars – is radically less than that which is available to the producers of media or information campaigns (i.e. advertising agencies, public relations firms, political consultants, etc.). However, an important fact that is known is that the human brain processes different mediums in different ways. Written and spoken words are put through a type of decoding process wherein the brain deciphers the words and the sentence structure in order to properly interpret what it is reading/hearing. In this process, both the conscious and unconscious mind go through an internal debate comparing what its interpreting with what it already knows to be true. With the image, however, the brain instantly processes it as truth, which means information presented in a visual format has a much greater impact on the unconscious. Over long periods of time, recurring imagery has a built-up effect on the viewer which allows for unconsciously conceived notions of truth to manifest as though from nowhere (keep this in mind as you read #69). Naturally, then, whomever has control over the mediums of communication has a tremendous amount of power over the populations who consume it.
NOTE: In no way is this intended to convince readers of any particular conspiracy theory, but rather to present a collection of facts – all of which are readily available to the average American – and allow readers to draw their own conclusions.
Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the
power to make you commit injustices.
1.) The radio, the computer, and the Internet are all products of the military. The radio was invented by Guglielmo Marconi in the mid-1890's and his first sale was to the British War Office in 1896 during the Boer War. Three years later, he made sales to the US Navy. During World War I, the United States put all commercial, amateur, and military (except for the Army's) radio equipment under the control of the Navy, a monopoly pursued immediately after the war, as well. Marconi, by the way, was a staunch supporter of the Neo-Fascism which dominated Italy beginning in the 1920's and Benito Mussolini was the best man at Marconi's 1927 wedding. The first operational electronic computer, Colossus, was built as a part of the ULTRA project for the British Department of Communication in the Foreign Office to assist in the decoding of intercepted Nazi transmissions. The first electronic digital computer, ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) came out of a relationship between The Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and the Ballistics Research Lab operated by the Army Ordinance Department at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland. It was "designed expressly for the solution of ballistics problems and for the printing of range tables." The grandparent of the Internet is the ARPAnet, which came about in 1969. The Defense Agency Research Projects Administrations (DARPA) of the Department of Defense wished to create a communications infrastructure for the US military that could survive a nuclear attack. "Many of the best attributes of the Internet – including its architecture, technology, and gestalt – are the children of this military prototype," (Sussman, 1997, pp. 87, 89 and 90; Slater, 1987, pp. 16-17; Stern, 1981, pp. 1 and 15; Reid, 1997, p. xx).
2.) At the outset of World War I in Europe, President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) had to devise a way to convince the primarily pacifistic American public (still reeling from the effects of the Civil War) to want to send their boys thousands of miles away to fight a war that didn't involve them. President Wilson came up with the Committee of Public Information, also known as the Creel Commission. Made up of cartoonists, writers, editors, publishers and others whose profession was to convey information to the masses (including Edward Bernays, the father of the public relations industry, and Walter Lippmann, the dean of American journalists, a major foreign and domestic policy critic, and an important theorist of liberal democracy), they were, within a year, able to turn the American people into a fervent anti-German population. This exceedingly positive result caught the attention of two groups in particular. One was the intellectual community who saw these new propaganda techniques – and it was openly called propaganda at the time as there wasn't a negative connotation to that word until the Nazi's used many of the same techniques on their militaristic conquests thirty years later – as a general means by which they could control the population on a regular basis. The other were the business leaders, who saw a new window to increase their sales by turning the American people into a population of consumers. What was ultimately learned from all this was that in order to adequately persuade a population to do something, whether to go to war or buy a hamburger, one needed to appeal to them on levels of which they are unconscious (Chomsky, 1991, pp. 7-10 and 17-18; Chomsky & Barsamian, 2000, pp. 151-152; Boihem & Emmanouilides, 1996).
3.) Walter Lippmann "argued that what he called a 'revolution in the art of democracy,' could be used to 'manufacture consent,' that is, to bring about agreement on the part of the public for things that they didn't want by the new techniques of propaganda. He also thought that this was a good idea, in fact, necessary. It was necessary because, as he put it, 'the common interests elude public opinion entirely' and can only be understood and managed by a 'specialized class' of 'responsible men' who are smart enough to figure things out. This theory asserts that only a small elite…can understand the common interests, what all of us care about, and that these things 'elude the general public.' This is a view that goes back hundreds of years," (Chomsky, pp. 10-11).
4.) German television in the early 1930's had been conceived as primarily a tool of propaganda rather than a means of entertainment. "A limited number of cinemas were equipped with 180-line projector receivers so that Nazi Party propaganda could be disseminated easily, and cinema television was used throughout the war for troop entertainment," (Hugill, 1999, p. 197).
5.) Its been noted that "violence is to a dictatorship, what propaganda is to a democracy," and the Nazis used both. Joseph Goebbels, appointed Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda on March 14, 1933, combined the press, radio, film, theater, and propaganda into a single, large-scale organization and considered the media as "a piano…in the hands of the government" on which the government could play. Although monotony may set in if all means reported the same information, he developed a theory that the media should be "uniform in principles" but "polyform in nuances." This is a concept that has carried over to our media today. Although we have a tremendous amount of magazines and newspapers available to us, most of them are "highly centralized outlets that proffer a remarkably homogenized fare. News services for dailies throughout the entire nation are provided by the Associated Press…The New York Times and [the] Los Angeles Times-Washington Post wire services, and several foreign wire services like Reuters. The ideological viewpoint of these news conduits are pretty much the same, 'marked by a prefabricated standardization of news which is constricting and frightening,'" (Neale, Murphy, Mansky, Wintonick, & Achbar, 1992; Reuth, 1993, p. 174; Parenti, 1986, pp. 30-31).
6.) Fear is a powerful means for establishing social control over a population and the negative effects of media on its consumers are doing just that, for its been widely established for decades that regular viewers of violent films and/or television programming often look upon the world as being much more frightening, dangerous, and violent than those who view the same media in much less quantities or not at all. The same, by the way, is also true of regular viewers of the evening news. Furthermore, "psychiatrist Robert Coles writes that children in some parts of America are more frightened [about the world] than children in Lebanon or Northern Ireland;" this may very well have to do with the fact that some of the most violent programming on television are cartoons aimed at very young children. The potential consequences to this are staggering. A generation brought up to fear the world may be willing to do unhealthy things in order to protect themselves from things that aren't there, such as a readiness to sacrifice their basic civil liberties for a false sense of security (Jhally & Dinozzi, 1994; Pipher, 1994).
7.) Those who advocated the blacklisting practice in Hollywood did so on the grounds that "Communist and pro-Communist infiltration into the entertainment industries represented a serious peril to the American system of law and governance, and therefore to the freedoms which it enshrines." This clearly implies that both the government and Hollywood insiders considered the entertainment industry a powerful means of effectively communicating political thought (Cogley, 1956, p. viii).
8.) On October 24, 1947, Walt Disney testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee that films could be used successfully as a tool of propaganda and admitted his studios had already made several dealing with subjects such as the Treasury Department, the use of air power, and Hitler (Vaughn, 1972, p. 84).
9.) In the early 1950's, Radio Free Europe (RFE) and Radio Liberty (which eventually merged together) were organized by the CIA as nothing more than outlets of propaganda. Headed by General Rodney C. Smith of the US Army, its intent was to broadcast into the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe "to keep hope alive among our friends…to confuse, divide and undermine our enemies…" and, "…to encourage uprisings against their governments." Bing Crosby, Henry Fonda, Ronald Reagan, Rock Hudson, and Barbara Stanwyck all made propaganda films or radio broadcasts in support of RFE. This use of radio for propaganda purposes is happening today, as well (see 38). The November 8, 2001, Wall Street Journal mentioned that the Army's Fourth Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) Group (see 108) designed leaflets and radio broadcasts inside Afghanistan "to persuade enemy fighters to quit, and to convince civilians that U.S. bombs raining down on their country will result in a better future for their families" and an official of the US State Department told The New York Times that they wished to establish a radio station in either Iraq or Iran to "broadcast programs to many homes in Iraq. The content will be supporting democracy and freedom, identifying agents of the regime and mobilizing general support to get rid of Saddam," (Nelson, 1997, pp. 48-49, 52, and 144; Sussman, p. 169; Miller & Rampton, 2001; "Talk Radio", 2002).
10.) In the 1950's, ABC, CBS, and NBC offered Joseph McCarthy hours of free air time on television and the radio. Of course, he accepted (Bayley, 1981, p. 185).
11.) In his book The No Spin Zone, the right-wing host of FoxNews channel's The O'Reilly Factor wrote, "If you were a kid in the late 1950's, there's a good chance your thinking was shaped by two television programs, The Mickey Mouse Club and Howdy Doody. If you had asked me back then what I thought of these shows, I would have mocked them. Little wise guy that I was, I smirked at the sight of a bunch of kids wearing large rodent ears and grinning themselves into road maps of wrinkles. That, if you have to be told, was Mickey's gang, the Mouseketeers. As for the hokey puppet show, I was annoyed enough to talk back to the black-and-white TV. 'Hey, kids, what time is it?' some guy named Buffalo Bob yelled. A studio audience packed with kids screamed back, 'Howdy Doody time!' This gave me such a headache, I can't tell you. And my reply to Buffalo Bob's time line was, 'It's time for you to leave, buckskin man,' or words to that effect. The whole thing enthralled my sister but put me in a foul mood. I can still hear Sis singing, 'M-I-C – see you real soon – K-E-Y – why? Because we like you!' I was outraged! However, you will notice that more than forty years after first hearing these lines, I still remember them. That's the power of the tube," (O'Reilly, 2001, pp. 25-26).
12.) In the early 1980's, the US Army asked Atari to create a special
version of the game Battle Zone as a training tool for drivers of the
Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Since then, "talent and product have flowed
between the two [the US military and video game manufacturers], creating a
symbiotic relationship" in what has been coined the Military-Nintendo
Complex. For example:
A. J.W. "Wild Bill" Stealy, the chairman of Interactive Magic, a North Carolina software company, is an Air Force Academy graduate and retired Air Force officer. His company produced Carrier Strike Fighter, a flight and combat simulator of the iF/A-18E, a fighter jet that had yet to be put into general operation.
B. MAK Technologies won a 1997 Department of Defense contract to make Marine Exed Unit 2000, an amphibious assault game intended for both military and commercial markets.
C. Every year, the US Government hosts the Connections Conference, which is intended to unite members of the Department of Defense and video game makers. "Attendees include personnel of the Defense Intelligence Agency and game companies like GT Interactive… Conference agendas have included such topics as 'Wargaming Design Fundamentals' and 'Department of Defense Wargaming 101' (Naisbitt, Naisbitt, & Philips, 1999, pp. 77-79).
13.) Its very difficult for a human being to kill a member of their own species; they have to be manipulated to do so. During World War II, its been estimated that, when left to their own devices, only 15-20% of individual riflemen would fire their weapon at an exposed enemy target. This was blamed primarily upon the training they received in which they would practice shooting at a bull's-eye. Of course, bull's-eyes don't appear on the battlefield and after the war, the military switched to human-shaped targets. By the Vietnam War, 95% of the riflemen fired their weapons when the right opportunity arose. Today, the Marine Corps use a modified version of the first-person action game Doom (known as Marine Doom) as a training device, along with the traditional live ammunition range targets as a means of normalizing killing amongst their personnel. In fact, this has been so successful, the Marine Corps Combat and Development Command in Quantico, VA have evaluated more than thirty commercially available electronic games for their potential use as training tools. This brings up a very disturbing question. If the US military has acknowledged for decades the success of using human-like targets to normalize killing, what, then, is the effect of the same or similar games on kids, where the objective is the near indiscriminate killing of "the enemy" using toy guns? With this in mind, the rise of school shootings should come as no surprise (Jhally & Huntemann, 2000; Naisbitt, et al., p. 76-77).
14.) "As the United States prepared in 1976 to celebrate the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence, a group of intellectuals and political leaders from Japan, the United States, and Western Europe, organized into 'The Trilateral Commission', issued a report. It was entitled 'The Governability of Democracies.' Samuel Huntington, a political science professor at Harvard University and a long-time consultant to the White House on the war in Vietnam, wrote the part of the report that dealt with the United States. He called it 'The Democratic Distemper' and identified the problem he was about to discuss: 'The 1960's witnessed a democratic upsurge of democratic fervor in America.' In the sixties, Huntington wrote, there was a huge growth of citizen participation 'in the forms of marches, demonstrations, protest movements, and cause organizations.' There were also 'markedly higher levels of self-consciousness on the part of blacks, Indians, Chicanos, white ethnic groups, students and women, all of whom became mobilized and organized in new ways…' There was a 'marked expansion of white-collar unionism,' and all this added up to 'a reassertion of equality as a goal in social, economic and political life.' Huntington pointed to the signs of decreasing government authority: The great demands in the sixties for equality had transformed the federal budget. In 1960 foreign affairs spending was 53.7 percent of the budget, and social spending was 22.3 percent. By 1974 foreign affairs took 33 percent and social spending 31 percent. This seemed to reflect a change in public mood: In 1960 only 18 percent of the public said the government was spending too much on defense, but in 1969 this jumped to 52 percent. Huntington was troubled by what he saw:
'The essence of the democratic surge of the 1960's was a general challenge to existing systems of authority, public and private. In one form or another, this challenge manifested itself in the family, the university, business, public and private associations, politics, the governmental bureaucracy, and the military services. People no longer felt the same obligation to obey those whom they had previously considered superior to themselves in age, rank, status, expertise, character, or talents.'
All this, he said, 'produced problems for the governability of democracy in the 1970's…' Critical in all this was the decline in the authority of the President. And:
'To the extent that the United States was governed by anyone during the decades after World War II, it was governed by the President acting with the support and cooperation of key individuals and groups in the executive office, the federal bureaucracy, Congress, and the more important businesses, banks, law firms, foundations, and media, which constitute the private sector's Establishment.'
This was probably the frankest statement ever made by an Establishment advisor. Huntington further said that the President, to win the election, needed the support of a broad coalition of people. However: 'the day after his election, the size of his majority is almost – if not entirely – irrelevant to his ability to govern the country. What counts then is his ability to mobilize support from the leaders of key institutions in a society and government… This coalition must include key people in Congress, the executive branch, and the private-sector Establishment,'" (Zinn, 1999, pp. 558-560).
15.) At the forefront of White House thinking is the global command and direction of the world economy through information control. While World War II was still ongoing, "U.S. leadership recognized the centrality of information control for gaining world advantage. Well before most of the world could do much about it, U.S. groups, private and governmental, were actively promoting information and cultural primacy on all continents." US films and television programs are "the primary fare of national systems in most countries. News programs, especially CNN, offer U.S. perspectives, sometimes the only perspective provided, to world audiences. U.S. recorded music, theme parks, and advertising now conspire a major part of the world's cultural environment." News consultants, a major part of US news programs, have spread their particular brand of program structure to television stations all over the world, resulting in a more Americanized style (shorter news segments, a de-emphasis on government and politics, fewer talking heads, more visual material, "warm and fuzzy" stories, etc.) and more American content. "No less remarkable is the ad hoc adoption of English as the world's second language, facilitated by the waves of U.S. pop culture that have washed across all frontiers for forty years. And once the preeminence of English had been established, Anglo-American ideas, values, and cultural products generally have been received with familiarity and enthusiasm. All this is well known and amply documented, though the domestic media and political establishments are shy about acknowledging their de facto cultural domination of what they like to refer to as 'the global market.' What is of special interest here, however, is the skillful combination of information instrumentation with philosophic principle – a mix that fuels the push toward concentrated cultural power. Not the laws of chance but strategic planning, rarely identified as such, underlies this development. It has succeeded well beyond the initial expectations of its formulators," (Schiller, 1995, pp. 18-19; Allen, 2000, pp. 87 and 89-99).
16.) One of the many by-products of news consultancy on the news industry has been the decreased time spent by news programs on individual stories. This emphasis on concision is a very subtle, but very real form of censorship in that only accepted truths may be told. For example, if Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, or Diane Sawyer say that Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden are bad guys, the viewing audience just silently agrees; no evidence to support such claims are needed. However, if something out of the ordinary is told, something that contradicts common understanding, then the audience very rightly wants to know more: "Why did you say that? I've never heard that before. How can you support such a statement?" Such evidence cannot be presented in the allotted 30 seconds given to the topic. So, when dissenters from the mainstream appear on such programs, they often appear as radicals, because they aren't given the time necessary to adequately establish their claims (Allen, p. 87; Neale, et al).
17.) "Ripped from the headlines!" Although millions of Americans watch the evening news, even more watch the entertainment programming that surrounds it; and those who do watch the news are only getting a sound bite or two as a substitute for any real knowledge or contextual understanding of the events described. However, programs dedicated to bringing fictionalized accounts of real events give considerably more. For those viewers, reality is tainted with a blurring of fact and fiction. Generally speaking, this is nothing new; Hollywood has been skimming stories from headlines for decades and television has certainly followed suit, from three different renditions of the Amy Fisher/Joey Buttofucco story (one on each major network), to four different versions of the teenage, Kentucky, blood-sucking, thrill-kill, vampire cult (ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox), though, never has a program been so flagrant as to incorporate this practice into its own hype as NBC's Law & Order (see 92), which currently has four variations on the theme in production simultaneously (all of which are created and executive produced by Dick Wolf): Law & Order (L&O), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU), Law & Order: Criminal Intent (CI), and Crime & Punishment (C&P). Essentially, what these programs do – with the exception of C&P – is to take real crime stories from the news, fictionalize them just enough to avoid lawsuits (several of the programs' writers are lawyers), and air them as entertainment (despite their efforts, Carolyn Condit – Gary Condit's wife – sued NBC and the producers of L&O for their depiction of "her" as she appeared in their fictionalized account of the Chandra Levy case). According to Rene Balcer, executive producer of CI, "People see the headline, see what the story is supposedly about, and there's already a built-in set of expectations from the audience that when we write the stories we can play off of and play against." If this is true, then could not the reverse also be true? Could not fictional programming create a series of expectations as to what the real case is/was about? What pushes the blur even further is the fourth series, C&P, which even uses the same theme music as L&O and airs immediately following CI. With this show, cameras follow the lives of city prosecutors – in and out of court – as they prepare for and try a case. After editing weeks of footage to fit the forty-five minute remainder – after commercials – of a sixty minute time-slot, what the viewer ultimately gets is a highly sanitized version of reality: the prosecutors never lose and rarely make mistakes, the defendant is always evil incarnate, etc. In what ways are these programs altering the American public's views of the world under the guise of pseudo-reality? I think this is a question worth asking (Boychuk, 1996; Levin, 2002).
18.) On average, individuals in industrialized nations spend three hours a day watching television – roughly half their leisure time; only to work and sleep is more time devoted. At this rate, someone who lives to be seventy-five would spend more than nine years of their life just watching TV. Why do we watch so much? In studies, subjects claimed that television was a means of relaxation, to which electroencephalograph (EEG) readings confirmed via brain waves, skin resistance and heart rates of subjects while watching television. However, even though relaxation is associated with TV by the viewers, research also has shown that passivity and a lowered level of alertness also correlate. Furthermore, once the television is turned off, the sense of relaxation dissipates rather quickly, but the passivity and lowered alertness remain for a considerable time. "Within moments of sitting or lying down and pushing the 'power' button, viewers report feeling more relaxed. Because the relaxation occurs quickly, people are conditioned to associate viewing with rest and lack of tension. The association is positively reinforced because viewers remain relaxed throughout viewing, and it is negatively reinforced via the stress and dysphoric rumination that occurs once the screen goes blank again. Habit forming drugs work in similar ways. A tranquilizer that leaves the body rapidly is much more likely to cause dependence than one that leaves the body slowly, precisely because the user is more aware the drug's effects are wearing off." Like a drug, heavy television use has long-term negative effects. Generally, heavy viewers are more easily bored, more easily distracted, have poorer attentional control, are less likely to participate in community activities or sports, and are more likely to be obese; they're more anxious and less happy than light viewers in unstructured situations, such as doing nothing, day-dreaming, or waiting in line. "The difference widens even more when the viewer is alone." Part of the human attraction to television has to do with our biological orienting response. "First described by Ivan Pavlov in 1927, the orienting response is our instinctive visual or auditory reaction to any sudden or novel stimulus. It is part of our evolutionary heritage, a built-in sensitivity to movement and potential predatory threats. Typical orienting reactions include dilation of the blood vessels to the brain, slowing of the heart, and constriction of blood vessels to major muscle groups. The brain focuses its attention on gathering more information while the rest of the body quiets…. In 1986 Byron Reeves of Stanford University, Esther Thorson of the University of Missouri and their colleagues began to study whether the simple formal features of television – cuts, edits, zooms, pans, sudden noises – activate the orienting response, thereby keeping attention on the screen. By watching how brain waves were affected by formal features, the researchers concluded that these stylistic tricks can indeed trigger involuntary responses and 'derive their attentional value through the evolutionary significance of detecting movement…. It is form, not the content, of television that is unique'…. Annie Lang's research team at Indiana University has shown that heart rate decreases for four to six seconds after an orienting stimulus. In ads, action sequences and music videos, formal features frequently come at a rate of one per second, thus activating the orienting response continuously." Perhaps its time we heeded the wisdom of Umberto Eco who once wrote, "A democratic civilization will save itself only if it makes the language of the image into a stimulus for critical reflection – not an invitation for hypnosis," (Kubey & Csikszentmihalyi, 2002; Boihem & Emmanouilides).
19.) A standard argument made by media executives is that broadcast television is offered without charge to the viewer. "However, to assume therefore that TV is free also assumes that the viewers' time is not valuable, because viewers pay for TV with their time. For every forty-five minutes of programme, we have to tolerate [approximately] fifteen minutes of commercials. [Media scholar Sut] Jhally…even goes so far as to argue that a TV viewer is a type of 'labourer' in the political economy of television. Viewers 'work' by watching commercials in exchange for a 'salary' consisting of entertainment and information programming." With such deregulation established in the mid-1980's allowing for greater advertising content per hour (one result of which was the creation of the infomercial), this metaphor of viewer as laborer implies that television is demanding increased productivity with an accompanying cut in pay (McAllister, 2000, pp. 112-113).
20.) Antonio Mendez, a retired member of the CIA's Office of Technical Services (OTS), wrote an article in the Winter 1999/2000 issue of the CIA journal Studies in Intelligence, where he documents his involvement in the rescuing of six Americans trapped in Iran during the 1979-1981 hostage crisis. Apparently, he and other operatives posed as a Canadian film crew scouting locations near Tehran. Although posing as Canadians, the establishment of their false identities was done with the complete cooperation of Hollywood, including the use of Columbia Studios for their "production offices" and, as part of their disguise team, an award-winning makeup artist given the pseudonym of "Jerome Calloway", who was recently awarded the CIA's Intelligence Medal of Merit. The question arises, then, as to how unusual this cooperation was. In his twenty page article, not once is there a mention of the uniqueness of either the situation nor the Hollywood/government cooperation and, in fact, he even mentions that his relationship with "Jerome" at the time was already ten years in the making. It's not surprising, then, that the president and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America since 1966, Jack Valenti (see 22, 26, and 77), is a former White House insider. In fact, a man like him in such a position of power may have been necessary to guarantee the cooperation governmental agencies required – and still require—from Hollywood. Upon a search of the webpage for the Hollywood trade paper Variety, the name Tony Mendez came up as a technical advisor for the CBS drama about the CIA, The Agency (see 24). Originally supposed to air on September 14, 2001, it was delayed for ten days because of references to Osama bin Laden and a different episode was chosen to kick off the series. However, that episode had to be replaced, as it dealt with an Anthrax attack on Washington D.C. Instead, one concerning an assassination attempt against Fidel Castro was aired in its place (Mendez, 1999-2000; "Tony Mendez", 2003; "Project: The Agency", 2002).
21.) Upon the release of Top Gun (1986), the United States Navy set up recruiting booths in theaters where the film was being shown to capitalize on the pro-military fervor the film encapsulated. It's been speculated by some that the film "single-handedly wipe[d] out the post-Vietnam image of the military," (Campbell, 2001, August 29; Rooney, 2002).
22.) In August of 1999, the US Army signed a five-year, $45 million deal with the University of Southern California, chosen because of its close proximity to Hollywood, to have the school's movie, special-effects and other technology experts help with troop training, including battle scenarios, virtual-reality combat, and large-scale simulations creating settings similar to Operation Desert Storm. This partnership is known as the Institute for Creative Technologies (see ). "The digital world, the world of virtual reality…is going to be part of the embrace of this great, new cooperative venture," said Jack Valenti (see 20, 26, and 77). However, according to James Der Derian, professor of international relations at Brown University, "What we're witnessing here today is perhaps not only the announcement of a new sort of technological center, but the creation of a military-industrial-media-entertainment complex," ("U.S. Army", 1999 [italics mine]).
23.) Col. Kenneth "Crash" Konwin, head of the Defense Modeling and Simulation Office, and Larry Tuch, a writer and designer with Paramount Digital Entertainment "detailed…how their organizations have adapted Hollywood multimedia technology and blockbuster movie storytelling skills to create realistic simulations that teach military officers how to make better decisions during international crises." This is a completely separate collaboration from the Institute for Creative Technologies (Brewin, 1999).
24.) In October of 1999, the CIA held a lavish gala film premier for In the Company of Spies, the first spy thriller ever to bear the CIA's stamp of approval. Starring Tom Berringer and Ron Silver, directed by Tim Matheson (Otter from Animal House), written by Roger Towne who wrote the screenplay for The Natural, and produced by David Madden and Robert W. Cort (who is, himself, a former CIA official), it was made directly for Showtime, a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner, the world's largest media corporation. "Never before has the CIA so fully embraced a movie – it even allowed [the] director…to shoot inside the agency's sprawling Langley headquarters and provided 60 off-duty employees to serve as extras." Bill Harlow, the CIA's director of public affairs, said "senior CIA officials realized several years back that assisting sympathetic filmmakers and authors was one way the agency could be more open and accountable to the tax-paying public without divulging operational secrets. They even persuaded Chase Brandon, a veteran paramilitary officer who has jumped out of airplanes for the CIA all over the world, to take a job in the public affairs office as the agency's liaison to Hollywood in 1996." This has proven most effective, "with scriptwriters even rewriting history to present an upbeat portrait of the agency." In 2001, three new television series (The Agency [see 20], Alias, and 24) and seven films (including Bad Company, The Bourne Identity, and The Sum of All Fears) were made with the CIA's approval (Loeb, 1999; Campbell, 2001, September 6; Patterson, 2001).
25.) Hollywood film-makers and the Pentagon have a long history of cooperation. The Pentagon sees the film industry as an important part of public relations; according to a recently released memo, "military depictions have become more of a 'commercial' for us,'" which explains the Air Force's eagerness to be a part of the short-lived 2002 CBS reality series, American Fighter Pilots, which followed three men as they trained to fly F-15s, and was executive produced by Tony Scott (director of Top Gun) and his brother Ridley Scott (director of Black Hawk Down). Due to the enormous expense of military equipment, it makes financial sense for a film-maker to get military cooperation. However, this often entails the altering of scripts to fit the needs and desires of the Pentagon (i.e. military and government personnel are to be depicted in more positive and heroic ways, American ideologies are re-enforced and not criticized, etc.). For example:
A. In Goldeneye (1995), "the original script had a US Navy admiral
betraying state secrets, but this was changed to make the traitor a member
of the French navy."
B. The Jackal (1997) "received help after the marines were given a better role. Major Nancy LaLuntas had objected that the helicopter pilots had no 'integral part in the action – they are effectively taxi drivers.' A letter from the film's director, Michael Caton-Jones, stated: 'I am certain that we can address the points that you raised…and effect the appropriate changes in the screenplay that you requested.'"
C. Cooperation had been given to the production of Top Gun after the character portrayed by Kelly McGillis had been changed from an enlisted person to someone outside the military, as relationships between officers and enlisted personnel are against the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
D. Although Hearts in Atlantis (2001) had no military in the plot, the film-makers wished to use land belonging to the Army. "The Pentagon agreed and suggested that the film could include a shot of an Army recruiting booth in a carnival scene."
E. Despite having made changes to characters in Independence Day (1996), the Department of Defense refused help because, "the military appears impotent and/or inept; all advances in stopping aliens are the result of actions by civilians."
F. Other films to have received assistance from the Pentagon are: Air Force One (1997), A Few Good Men (1992), Armageddon (1998), The Hunt for Red October (1990), Pearl Harbor (2001), Patriot Games (1992), Windtalkers (2002), Hamburger Hill (1987), The American President (1995), Behind Enemy Lines (2001), Apollo 13 (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and A Time to Kill (1996).
G. Some films that were denied: Apocalypse Now (1979), Catch-22 (1970), Dr. Strangelove (1964), Full Metal Jacket (1987), The Last Detail (1973), Lone Star (1996), Mars Attacks! (1996), Platoon (1986), and The Thin Red Line (1998) (Campbell, 2001, August 29; Weiss, 2002).
26.) In November, 2001, President George W. Bush's top political strategist, Karl Rove, met with many entertainment executives to discuss the war on terrorism and ways that Hollywood stars and filmmakers might work together with the administration's communications strategy. It was spearheaded by Rove and Jack Valenti (see 20, 22, and 77), and organized by Sherry Lansing of Paramount Pictures. Among those represented at the meeting were CBS, Viacom, Showtime, Dreamworks, HBO, and MGM. According to the CNN article on which this section is based, "Valenti is a periodic visitor to the White House for briefings on major issues and initiatives. He was described as eager to help arrange [the] meeting," (King, 2001).
27.) To assist in the preparedness of possible future terrorist attacks, the Pentagon "put out a mayday call to filmmakers skilled at imagining potential terrorist acts," including writers Steven E. DeSouza (Die Hard) and David Engelbach (TV's MacGyver), and directors Joseph Zito (Invasion U.S.A.), David Fincher (Fight Club), Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), Mary Lambert (The In Crowd), and Randal Kleiser (Grease). They were asked "to engage in apocalyptic brainstorming of the kind that has yielded acts of cinematic terrorism." The group, a part of the Institute for Creative Technologies, was assembled by Army Brigadier General Kenneth Bergquist (Roberts, 2002; Grossberg, 2001).
28.) On February 19, 2002, The New York Times reported that the Pentagon's Office of Strategic Influence (OSI) was "developing plans to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations in an effort to influence public sentiment and policy makers in both friendly and unfriendly countries." The OSI was created just after 9/11 "to publicize the U.S. government's perspective in Islamic countries and to generate support for the U.S.'s 'war on terror.' This latest announcement raises grave concerns that far from being an honest effort to explain U.S. policy, the OSI may be a profoundly undemocratic program devoted to spreading disinformation and misleading the public, both at home and abroad….The government is barred by law from propagandizing within the U.S., but the OSI's new plan will likely lead to disinformation planted in a foreign news reports being picked up by U.S. news outlets," ("Media Advisory", 2002).
29.) Usamah bin Mohammad bin Laden, known to the world as Osama bin Laden, has degrees in management and economics from King Abdul Aziz University in Jedda, Saudi Arabia. With such an education, its not surprising that he has a firm understanding of the purposes of the mass media, for he has been quoted as saying, "The media sector…strives to beautify the persons of the leaders, to drowse the community and to fulfill the plans of the[ir] enemies through keeping the people occupied with the minor matters, and to stir their emotions and desires until corruption becomes widespread." I don't think I could have said it any better, myself ("The New Powder Keg", 1996).
30.) In early 2003, ABC aired a short-lived reality series entitled Profiles from the Front Line. Executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (Black Hawk Down) and Bertram van Munster (The Amazing Race), it followed various members of the armed forces as they took part in the invasion of Afghanistan during the summer of 2002. It was made with the complete cooperation with the Pentagon who insisted upon screening the series before it was aired, though Bruckheimer insists no changes were made. "Vince Ogilvie, who was the Pentagon's project officer for the series, said the interactions of the film crews and military personnel provided 'a prelude to the process of embedding' media representatives in military units for war coverage." As of February, 2003, Bruckheimer and van Munster already had two crews assigned to accompany troops into Iraq (Gillies, 2003; Young, 2003).
31.) On a recent trip to Havana, actors Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte criticized the Hollywood corporate machine and claimed the war movies and violent films that are now so prevalent are "molded by the interests of the Pentagon and the White House." This is not the first time Glover has been critical of the Bush administration or its actions. In October of 2001, he compared Secretary of State Colin Powell to a "house slave," (Burns, 2002).
Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one. —A. J. Liebling
32.) In 1953, the infamous Republican Senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, was harassing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "over the assignment of television licenses in Wisconsin, trying to switch channel 10 in Milwaukee from educational use to commercial so that it could be assigned to the Hearst Corporation, publishers of the Milwaukee Sentinel, the largest paper supporting him in Wisconsin and trying to prevent the assignment of a UHF channel in Milwaukee to Bartell Broadcasters, a Madison group that included persons active as Democrats," (Bayley, p 178).
33.) The FCC was created to regulate interstate communications that run over radio, television, wire, satellite, or cable. Its authority is based on the idea that its decisions will serve the "public interest, convenience, or necessity…. The public owns the airwaves that radio and TV stations use and profit from. Media companies are allowed to use them on the condition that they serve the public; its part of the FCC's job to enforce that." However, their record for doing so is hardly impressive. Its current chairman, Michael K. Powell, a free-market zealot ("my religion is the market") – who happens to be the son of Secretary of State Colin Powell—isn't even trying to maintain the illusion he's upholding the standards he's supposed to. Upon his appointment as FCC chair, he was asked what the public interest was; Powell replied, "I have no idea," (see 36). It should be of no surprise, then, that the National Association of Broadcasters referred to him as "an outstanding choice" when he was nominated by George W. Bush. Michael Powell (Republican), Kathleen Q. Abernathy (Republican), Michael J. Copps (Democrat), Kevin J. Martin (Republican), and Jonathan S. Adelstein (Democrat) are the five members on the FCC commission and are "unknown to the general public and have virtually no contact with them. They are surrounded instead by corporate CEOs, lawyers and lobbyists. As one FCC Chairman put it, 'the job of the FCC is to regulate fights between the super wealthy and the super, super wealthy. The public has nothing to do with it.'" Members of the FCC tend to move on to extremely lucrative careers working for the very firms they once regulated. "When a firm comes before the FCC, FCC members don't know whether to regard it as an entity to be regulated or as a prospective future employer. This applies across the board, to Republicans and Democrats alike. The FCC Chair who preceded Michael Powell, Democrat William Kennard, has gone on to making big bucks working on telecommunication deals for the Carlyle Group," ("Speak Out", n.d. [italics mine]; "FCC Homepage", 2003; McChesney, 2003).
34.) In 1996, Congress passed the Telecommunications Reform Act, which
amended the Communications Act of 1934 and drastically reduced the
restrictions placed upon media owners as to just how much they could own.
"The 1996 Telecom Act was a corrupt piece of work, being the product of the
largest corporate lobbies" like the National Association of Broadcasters and
corporations like News Corporation and Viacom, "all salivating at the
prospect of rewriting the law to provide them a larger slice of the action."
The public played no role and it received virtually no news media coverage,
except in the business and trade papers where it was covered as an issue of
importance to owners and investors, not citizens in a democracy (McChesney,
35.) "The FCC conducted biennial reviews of the ownership rules in 1998 and 2000, and determined the rules should remain in place. At this point the biennial review was regarded as a benign and unreviewable process. The industry lobby went through the court system to get the rules thrown out. In 2002 a right wing federal appeals court demanded that the FCC provide a justification for keeping the ownership rules, or else they would have to be thrown out. Be clear that it was the appeals court, acting as the advocate of corporations that put the new aggressive pro-industry spin on the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The appeals court interpreted the law to mean that unless the FCC could provide compelling, even overwhelming evidence to justify keeping media ownership rules, they should be scrapped." Michael Powell is supposed to go before the courts and make the case on behalf of keeping media ownership rules in the public interest; Powell is famous for his pro-industry "rah-rah sentiments" and his hostility to regulation in the public interest. Furthermore, "the research that the FCC has developed to justify relaxing the media rules has been kept top secret; members of Congress and leading media scholars have asked to see it and been turned down," (McChesney, 2003).
36.) FCC commissioner Michael Copps has "pressed FCC chairman Powell to hold public hearings around the nation on the matter. Powell attended a portion of the first unofficial hearing in New York in January and convened one official public hearing in Richmond in February. But otherwise he has refused to attend any of the ten public hearings that have been held subsequently all across the nation. None of the three Republicans has attended any of these ten hearings. Copps, on the other hand, has attended all of them, and [John] Adelstein some of them…. Powell has explained his absence from the ten media ownership hearings on the grounds the he is too busy to attend them and that he knows enough about what the public thinks [see 33]. At the same time, Powell finds time to address the corporate media trade association meetings and he has an open door policy for corporate media CEOs like Rupert Murdoch." Most likely, Powell hasn't attended the hearings because their outcome is irrelevant. Even though, as of May 8, 2003, 9,065 statements on media ownership were submitted to the FCC by citizens unaffiliated with a self-interested corporation or trade organization and only eleven of them supported the proposed changes, "Commerce Secretary Donald Evans wrote to Powell telling him to move full speed ahead with the rules changes regardless of Congressional or public opposition." "Most people in this country have no idea what's about to happen to them," says dissenting FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, "even though their very democracy is at stake." One of the impending rule changes would allow a single company to own TV stations reaching 45% of the nationwide audience (instead of the current on-paper limit of 35%). But that understates the impact, as Andrew Schwartzman of the Media Access Project pointed out: "The 45% number that has been floated is a fake number. It will realistically be much higher." Another FCC change would end the ban on a single firm's cross-ownership of daily newspapers and TV stations in four-fifths of the country's media markets. Commissioners Copps and Adelstein requested that Powell publicly air the proposed media concentration rules and allow a brief postponement to allow public reaction, but Powell refused. In response, Copps said, "This is really disappointing. The Chairman's decision not to make these proposals public, nor even to grant a short delay in voting, runs roughshod over the requests of the American people and the precedents of this Commission. This rush to judgment means that we will not fully understand the impact of the specific proposals on our media landscape before we are forced to vote. We are rushing to passage of new rules without letting the American people know who is going to own and control the public airwaves for years to come and without gaining the benefit of their input on what is being proposed. This is no way to do business when critical issues affecting every American are at stake. I am disappointed that the Chairman refuses to heed the calls of colleagues, as well as many Members of Congress, to let the sun shine on his proposals before the Commission decides on further media concentration." (McChesney, 2003[italics mine]; Solomon, 2003; "FCC Commissioner", 2003).
37.) Before he retired, AOL Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin told MSNBC that his company's Internet division had already helped terror investigators, "apparently providing access to e-mail traffic." According to Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, "there's an implicit quid pro quo here…the industry seems to be saying to the administration, 'we're patriotic, we're supporting the war…now free us from constraints.'" Although that may or may not be true, on June 2, 2003, the FCC voted 3-2 to relax the rules on media ownership (Roberts; Kirkpatrick, 2003).
38.) Whereas the FCC was developed to oversee the commercial sector of media, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), with an annual budget of $544.5 million, was developed to oversee all civilian, non-military international broadcasting funded by the US government. This includes such outlets as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) (a creation of the CIA [see 9]), Radio Free Asia (RFA), Voice of America (VOA), and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB). Their mission statement spells out their purpose very clearly: "to promote and sustain freedom and democracy by broadcasting accurate and objective news and information about the United States and the world to audiences overseas," with an ultimate goal of creating a "Worldwide US International Broadcasting System." Some of their current projects include: Voice of America, with programming in 53 languages to more than 90 million listeners and television and Internet viewers around the world, "broadcasts daily editorials reflecting the views of the U.S. government", with a recent creation of programs for North Koreans, "including North Korean Periscope and North Korean Defectors' Odyssey to provide a forum for defectors"; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty "continued its emphasis on regions in the front line of the U.S.-led war on terrorism. The result: more than half the languages broadcast by RFE/RL are aimed at areas where the majority populations are Muslim"; the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, which oversees Radio and TV Marti, "emphasize[s] U.S.-Cuba relations, the state of the Cuban economy, international human rights, [and] dissident movement on the island…" Clearly, this is all designed for the purposes of propaganda, despite the fact that the terms "balanced" and "objective(ly)" are used many times throughout their 32 page 2002 Annual Report. Among the board of directors for the BBG are Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, a former managing editor of Reader's Digest who was appointed director of VOA by Ronald Reagan in 1982; Joaquin F. Blaya, a former CEO of the Telemundo Group, Inc., the nation's second largest Spanish-language television network; D. Jeffrey Hirschberg, a former special attorney of the US Justice department and deputy chief of the criminal division's special litigation section; Norman J. Pattiz, founder and Chairman of Westwood One, America's largest radio network (owner, manager or distributor of the NBC Radio Network, CBS Radio Network, the Mutual Broadcasting System, CNN Radio, and Metro Networks, among others); Steven J. Simmons, Chairman and CEO of Patriot Media and Communications, LCC, a new company formed to purchase cable companies in the US; and as an ex-officio member of the Board, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. With this, then, Colin Powell and his son, Michael, have a controlling influence in a tremendous section of the media available throughout the world ("Strategic Plan", n.d.; "2002 Annual Report"; 2003).
39.) Conservative pundit Bill O'Reilly, in an interview with CBS News anchor Dan Rather, stated that news on the corporate owned networks refused to challenge "people of power" (presumably of the government or corporate world) because "the corporations have to do business with the powerful and they don't want to make enemies" to which Dan Rather responded, "You're absolutely accurate about that," (O'Reilly, pp. 153-154).
40.) After World War II, Allied forces restricted media concentration in occupied Germany and Japan "because they noted that such concentration promoted anti-democratic, even fascist, political cultures." In the 1950's, the majority of the American mass media (i.e. television stations, radio stations, film studios, magazine publishers, newspaper publishers, book publishers, advertising agencies, etc.) were owned by more than 1,500 corporations. By 1981, they were owned by less then fifty. Today, that number is six; they are: AOL Time Warner, The Walt Disney Company, Bertelsmann, Viacom, News Corporation, and Vivendi Universal – with Sony, Liberty Media Corporation, and General Electric close behind (for a thorough listing of media owners and what they own, see The Columbia Journalism Review at ). In our current electoral process, "reaching audiences has become the substitute for what used to be called garnering constituencies. Just as advertisers sell products to audiences, political consultants market candidates to those same audiences. In contemporary media-driven elections, programme, advertising, and film audiences become targeted markets of voters. In the larger sense, citizens are transmuted into consumers, connecting with a media product instead of a political platform." According to The Alliance for Better Campaigns, a non-profit co-chaired by Walter Cronkite, television broadcasters earned around $771 million from political ads in 2000 (McChesney, 2000, p. 61; Nichols & McChesney, 2000, p. 28; Bagdikian, 2000, pp. 21-22; Andersen, 2000, p. 251; Taylor, 2002).
41.) William J. Casey was Reagan's CIA director and considered by many to be the second most powerful person in the Reagan administration; he was also one of Capital Cities' "founders, long-time counsel, board member[s] and largest stock holders." He had put pressure on ABC and all of the major US news organizations to be more supportive of the Reagan administration's conservative agenda. "In November 1984, he asked the FCC to revoke all of ABC's TV and radio licenses in retaliation for the network's airing of an ABC News report suggesting that the CIA had attempted to assassinate a U.S. citizen." Four months later, Capital Cities bought ABC for $19.2 billion, while Casey owned 34,000 shares of Capital Cities stock worth about $7 million (Mazzocco, 1994, pp. 2-3; Sussman, p. 189).
42.) Proctor & Gamble is one of television's largest advertisers, which gives them a great deal of power. If they don't like the content of a program, they can—and will—pull their sponsorship, potentially costing the offending network millions of dollars. They had a policy for many years that stated, in part, "There will be no material that may give offense either directly or by inference to any commercial organization of any sort. There will be no material on any of our programs which could in any way further the concept of business as cold, ruthless and lacking in all sentimental or spiritual motivations… Members of the armed forces must not be cast as villains. If there is any attack on American customs, it must be rebutted completely on the same show." In 1990, Neighbor to Neighbor, a peace organization, got actor Ed Asner (of The Mary Tyler Moore Show [1970-1977] and Lou Grant [1977-1982] fame) to do a public service spot calling for a boycott of Folgers Coffee for buying its coffee beans from El Salvador, which was ruled by a brutal military regime at the time. Proctor & Gamble, owners of Folgers, threatened to pull its sponsorship from any station airing it. Boston television station WHDH ran the ad and lost about $1 million in advertising revenues (Parenti, 1992, pp. 186-189).
43.) News Corporation, the fifth largest media corporation in the world (owner of 20th Century Fox, Fox Television Broadcasting Corp. [including all subsequent Fox channels such as Fox Sports Channel, Fox Movie Channel, etc., as well as F/X and The National Geographic Channel]; magazines such as The Weekly Standard, Inside Out and TV Guide; newspapers such as The New York Post in the U.S., 22 papers in Australia and nine in England, including The Times, The Sunday Times, and The Sun; furthermore, it owns the publishing houses HarperCollins and Regan Books) is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who has used his media power to nuzzle up to some of the most influential leaders of recent history, including Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, and Tony Blair. Or, rather, they have nuzzled up to him. In the case of Tony Blair, in exchange for the support and endorsement of Blair in Murdoch's publications during his campaign, once elected, Blair was able to change British policy on media ownership to Murdoch's favor. In fact, Murdoch, himself, has been quoted as saying, "When you are the monopoly supplier, you are inclined to dictate," (Williams, 2000; "News", 2003; Jhally, 1997).
44.) Upon the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq on August 2, 1991, the Kuwaiti government hired at least twenty law and lobby firms to help shape the opinion of the little known country in the eyes of the American people. Hill & Knowlton (H&K), at the time the largest PR firm in the world, organized most of Kuwait's publicity, including the official Citizens for a Free Kuwait, which sponsored "Kuwaiti Liberation Day" on college campuses across the nation – passing out tens of thousands of T-shirts and bumper stickers – and costing the Kuwaiti government more than eleven million dollars, of which $10.8 million was billed to H&K as "service fees". H&K was soundly connected to both Washington and the news industry. The senior vice-president, Thomas Ross, was a Pentagon spokesman during the Carter administration; vice-chairman Frank Mankiewicz was a former press secretary and advisor to both Robert F. Kennedy and George McGovern and had served as president of National Public Radio; Robert Gray, the chairman of H&K's US offices had leading roles in both of Reagan's presidential campaigns and was rumored to have been on the payroll of the CIA; Lauri J. Fitz-Pegado, who was the supervisor of the Kuwait account, was a former Foreign Service Officer at the US Information Agency and a former associate of the Democratic lobbyist Ron Brown as he represented Haiti's Duvalier dictatorship; Lew Allison, producer of H&K's video news releases – which were distributed to news channels and often broadcast unedited as "news" – was a former producer of both CBS and NBC news. The president of H&K was a man by the name of Craig Fuller, who had been Reagan's Chief of Staff and a longtime friend of George Bush, Sr. After Reagan's second term, Fuller left the White House for his position at H&K, which was immediately hired by the Bush, Sr. presidential campaign team to handle his PR during the 1988 elections. After his stint at H&K, Craig Fuller went on to become Phillip Morris' top public relations executive. This governmental use of public relations firms is not uncommon in the least, either before or after Desert Storm. The Rendon Group's (see 98) past clients "include the CIA, USAID [United States Agency for International Development], the government of Kuwait, Monsanto Chemical Company, and the official trade agencies of countries including Bulgaria, Russia, and Uzbekistan. 'Through its network of international offices and strategic alliances,' the Rendon Group website boasts, 'the company has provided communications services to clients in more than 78 countries, and maintains contact with government officials, decision-makers, and news media around the globe.'" In post-Desert Storm Iraq, "Rendon was…a major player in the CIA's effort to encourage the overthrow of Saddam Hussein." They hired them "to run a covert anti-Saddam propaganda campaign. Rendon's postwar work involved producing videos and radio skits ridiculing Saddam Hussein, a traveling photo exhibit of Iraqi atrocities, and radio scripts calling on Iraqi army officers to defect… A February 1998 report by Peter Jennings cited records obtained by ABC News which showed that the Rendon Group spent more than $23 million dollars in the first year of its contract with the CIA. It worked closely with the Iraqi National Congress, an opposition coalition of 19 Iraqi and Kurdish organizations whose main tasks were to 'gather information, distribute propaganda and recruit dissidents.' According to ABC, Rendon came up with the name for the Iraqi National Congress and channeled $12 million of covert CIA funding to it between 1992 and 1996…. ClandestineRadio.com, a website which monitors underground and anti-government radio stations in countries throughout the world, credits the Rendon Group with 'designing and supervising' the Iraqi Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) and Radio Hurriah, which began broadcasting Iraqi opposition propaganda in January 1992 from a US government transmitter in Kuwait. According to a September 1996 article in Time magazine, six CIA case officers supervised the IBC's 11 hours of daily programming and Iraqi National Congress activities in the Iraqi Kurdistan city of Arbil. These activities came to an abrupt end on August 31, 1996, when the Iraqi army invaded Arbil and executed all but 12 out of 100 IBC staff workers along with about 100 members of the Iraqi National Congress." As with H&K, The Rendon Group hires people with experience in both government and media. Rick Rendon, the firm's creator and senior partner, "has served as a senior communications consultant to tens of dozens of government, corporate, union, trade association, and non-profit organizations, including the Government of Aruba, United States Department of Labor, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, and the Islamic Society of Boston." Furthermore, he previously served as a Public Information Officer for the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and as a member of President Jimmy Carter's national political staff. Phil Angellis, the Director of Operations, spent 22 years working in the Massachusetts State Senate and eleven years in a senior administrative position as Assistant Clerk and Parliamentarian. Kari Johnson, an account executive, currently works at the Boston affiliate of the WB; Jeff Schmidt, the Rendon Group Productions (RGP) producer/editor/videographer, was once on staff at ESPN; and Tara Haggett, RGP's production manager, has "coordinated various levels of marketing campaigns and post production for over 40 movies such as Toy Story, 101 Dalmatians, Conair, Speed II, Kingpins, Volcano, and Grosse Point Blank" as well as videos for Celine Dion and Mary Chapin Carpenter. A completely separate campaign headed by Charlotte Beers, "a former Madison Avenue advertising executive who was recently named the State Department's Undersecretary of State for 'Public diplomacy' (the official government euphemism for 'public relations')," was reported by The New York Times as "planning a television and advertising campaign to try to influence Islamic opinion." One part could feature American celebrities, including sports stars and a more emotional message. "In an October interview with Advertising Age, Beers said public diplomacy 'is a vital new arm in what will combat terrorism over time. All of a sudden, we are in this position of redefining who America is, not only for ourselves under this kind of attack, but also for the outside world.' The corporate-funded Advertising Council is reportedly working with Beers on developing the campaign. According to Advertising Age, the Ad Council 'has boiled its message down to one strategic idea: freedom.'" With so much of the information the public gets being nothing more than prepackaged, PR produced propaganda disguised as news, is it any wonder, then, that on Thursday, May 15, 2003, French officials formally complained in letters to the White House, State Department, and Congress, that their country was the victim of a campaign of "repeated disinformation," which they say is being fed to the press by Bush administration officials. Among the false claims, they say, is that France and Germany supplied Iraq with precision switches that could be used in nuclear weapons, that French companies sold Iraq spare parts for warplanes and military helicopters, that France possessed prohibited strains of human smallpox, and that France most recently helped Iraqi leaders escape to Europe by providing them with travel papers. Nathalie Loiseau, a spokeswoman at the French Embassy in Washington, "didn't point to anyone specifically in the administration as the source of the article, but said that France could only assume that journalists were being truthful when they cited unnamed officials in the administration." Responding to the claims, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, "Certainly, there's no such campaign out of this building," which may very well be true, for its more likely that if there is such a campaign, its coming out of offices of the likes of Hill & Knowlton and The Rendon Group (Stauber & Rampton, 1995, pp. 169-171; MacArthur, 1992, pp. 49-51; Sussman, p. 157; Carlisle, 1993; Miller & Rampton, 2001; "The Rendon Group", 2003; Knowlton, 2003).
45.) During the first Gulf War, each of the big three networks had profound financial ties to the war. ABC was owned by Capitol Cities (which is now owned by The Walt Disney Company), whose chair was on the board of directors of Texaco Oil. CBS, at the time owned by Westinghouse, though now owned by Viacom, also owned the RAND Corporation and the Honeywell Corporation, both of which were and are major defense contractors and stood to make a great deal of money out of the war. NBC was – and still is—"wholly owned" by General Electric, which had a $2 billion weapons contract with the US military, making both the Tomahawk and the staggeringly unsuccessful Patriot missiles, and estimated that they'd make hundreds of millions more with the rebuilding of Kuwait after the war. Also, the Kuwaiti royal family were major GE stockholders. General Electric CEO John Welch reportedly once told NBC president Lawrence Grossman "Remember, you work for GE," (Naureckas, 1991; Williams; "Corporate Info", 2003; Jhally, 1997).
46.) In his 1995 autobiography, Lawrence Grossman (president of PBS [1976-1984] and NBC [1984-1988]) wrote, "The corporate culture came to dominate the news business, treating news as a commodity or service no different from 'toasters, light bulbs, or jet engines,' to quote John F. Welch, chairman of General Electric, which bought NBC in 1986. Welch insisted that NBC News had no greater responsibility for public service than any of GE's more traditional lines of business, regardless of news' special Constitutional standing and the broadcast company's historic FCC license obligations… They [Welch and a good many of his colleagues] had no qualms about doing whatever was necessary to achieve that goal [the profit-making requirements of the NBC news department], with little regard for journalistic standards, integrity, or taste," (Grossman, 1995, p. 75).
47.) "The simple fact is that in most traditional newsrooms the culture of journalism is to determine the basic nature of a story before assembling all, or even most of, the facts. Just as many theorists develop a working hypothesis before collecting the data, many journalists are used to formulating the angle, or frame, of a story before they interview anyone, read a document, or collect any other facts. Sometimes they are more apt to follow the adage, 'Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.'" Why is this? There are many reasons, but a major one continues to be that "the changing economic structure of the television networks has eroded the[ir] newsroom values… Where once a culture committed to great journalism flourished, a culture dominated by MBAs and financial accountability has taken its place. Accountability to shareholders [to make money] has replaced accountability to democracy and the citizens it serves," (Pavlik, 2001, pp. 312-314).
48.) The Fox network, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, was sued by two veteran journalists under Florida's whistleblower law. Steve Wilson and Jane Akre, working for Fox 13 in Tampa Bay, uncovered an important story "critical of Monsanto, the world's largest agrochemicals company, second largest seed company, fourth largest pharmaceutical company, and a main advertiser on Fox Television nationally. Monsanto produces a synthetic bovine growth hormone (BGH) marketed under the name Prosilac. Prosilac is banned in Canada and Europe because of its links to cancers of the colon, breast and prostate, and the bacterial and antibiotic residues left in milk. Akre found that virtually all milk sold in Florida comes from cows injected with Prosilac, and even though labeling is required, to offer consumers a choice, consumers were not being informed. After two months of investigation, the reporters produced a hard-hitting story." According to Steve Wilson in an article he wrote for The Nation (8 June 1998) about this experience, "We learned that routine tests for drug residue in milk don't screen for a wide variety of antibiotics. We confirmed that two Canadian government regulators have charged that Monsanto offered a $1-2 million bribe in exchange for approval of the drug without further testing. We documented a revolving door between Monsanto and the FDA. We followed the money trail to the University of Florida, where Monsanto sent millions in gifts and research grants; FDA approval was granted. Meanwhile, we found farmers who said the company wasn't properly reporting the drug's adverse effects on animals, a charge Monsanto eventually acknowledged." Despite the quality documentation of their story, it was pulled. Monsanto had hired a lawyer to pressure the head of Fox News Network in New York. As it turned out, Monsanto is a client of Actmedia, an advertising firm also owned by Rupert Murdoch. "After the story was pulled, the station's general manager reviewed the report's content, found it accurate and set another air date. The general manager was then fired and replaced by a News Corp. executive, David Boylan, who told the two journalists, 'We paid $3 billion for these television stations. We'll decide what the news is. The news is what we say it is.' After refusing a cash settlement that would have silenced them on the issue, and rewriting the story over eighty times, both journalists were fired in December 1997." As an interesting aside, Monsanto's genetically modified New Leaf Superior potato is engineered to produce the insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). "Bt kills the Colorado potato beetle but it is also in every one of the New Leaf Superior's cells. Thus, it is legally registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as a pesticide, not a food and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cannot regulate the New Leaf Superior potato because the FDA does not have the authority to regulate pesticides." Mmm Mmm Good (Andersen, 2000, p. 11, Mickey Z, 2003).
49.) When a film is first released, it's not uncommon for someone to sneak a camcorder into the theater and record the film in its entirety and transfer the footage to bootlegged DVDs to be sold on the street. In an attempt to thwart such efforts, some theaters are "now sending in enforcers with night vision goggles [like you might find in the Army] to ferret out the pirates." But, as camcorders get increasingly smaller, that solution is not always reliable. That's why the film industry is working on the development of a system that would "create an annoying flicker that would be picked up by the camera, but not seen by the naked eye…The research for that technology is being funded by the U.S. government, which underscores the size of the piracy problem," ("Hollywood Cracks", 2003).
50.) In 1906, Congress enacted a landmark copyright law that allowed artists to protect their creations. However, there was a time limit placed upon that protection, after which, it would become a part of the public domain, and time was running out for Disney over its copyright of Mickey. But, thanks to the racist Senate majority leader Trent Lott, who got behind and aided in the passing of a bill that extended Mickey's copyright until 2022, Disney needn't worry about a dip in their $2 billion in annual product revenue. This is thanks, in part, to the recently formed Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (Solomon, 1999).
51.) Think we have free speech in this country? Not if you're on television; just ask Bill Maher. Soon after the September 11th attacks, Maher, in response to the labeling of the hijackers as cowards, said on his late night ABC program Politically Incorrect, "We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly." Less than a week later, his show was cancelled. ABC (whose parent company is Disney) claimed the cancellation had nothing to do with Maher's statements but was exclusively about his ratings, which had been sagging for some time. "That was just the straw that broke the camel's back," said Maher. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, who hadn't actually seen the broadcast, said Maher's comments were "a terrible thing to say" and that it was a reminder that Americans "need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and this is not a time for remarks like that; there never is." That's a pretty extreme statement, and even one of Bush's media consultants, Mark McKinnon, called Fleischer's comments "Big Brother-ish," (Armstrong, 2001, September 20; "Maher Tapes", 2002; Armstrong, 2001, September 27; Hirsen, 2002, March).
52.) During a March 10th, 2003, concert in London, the Dixie Chicks' lead singer, Natalie Maines, told her audience, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas!" As a result, there have been many organized boycotts across the nation. Clear Channel, the largest owner of radio stations in the U.S. (more than 1,200), pulled the Dixie Chicks from their stations' play lists. Clear Channel is also involved with organizing grass-roots demonstrations in favor of the war and against anti-war voices. The company's Vice Chair, Tom Hicks, is a member of the Bush Pioneer Club for elite—and very generous – campaign contributors and was once the Regent of the University of Texas. During that time, he "was responsible for granting endowment management contracts of the newly created [under legislation signed by then Governor George W. Bush] UT Investment Management Co. (UTIMCO). The contracts were given to firms politically connected to both Hicks and Bush, including the Carlyle Group – a firm which has the first President Bush on the payroll [and had previously had the second one, as well]. The board of UTIMCO also included the Chair of Clear Channel, L. Lowey Mays. [Mays has been quoted as saying "If anyone said we were in the radio business, it wouldn't have been someone from our company. We're not in the business of providing news and information. We're not in the business of providing well-researched music. We're simply in the business of selling our customers products."] In addition, Hicks purchased the Texas Rangers from [George W.] Bush, making him a millionaire through a deal that was partially sweetened by a shiny new taxpayer financed stadium, which included valuable land obtained at below market rates through the use of eminent domain." Along with the 1,200+ radio stations, Clear Channel also owns 36 television stations, 41 amphitheaters, and annually puts on more than 26,000 stage shows including concerts, Broadway productions, touring productions, and sports and motor events (Ali, 2003; Fitzgerald, 2003; "CORRECTED", 2003; Nichols & McChesney, 2003; "Radio Ga Ga", 2003; "Clear Channel", 2003).
53.) Richard Perle, a former assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration and the current chairman of the influential Defense Policy Board, which advises Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was also employed as an advisor to Global Crossing, a major telecommunications company with strong financial interest in lobbying the Defense Department. He was being paid $750,000 by the company, including $600,000 if the government would approve the company's sale to Hutchison Whampoa and Singapore Technologies Telemedia Pte. Once Perle's involvement with Global Crossing was exposed by The New York Times ("Pentagon Advisor is Also Advising Global Crossing, March 21, 2003), he resigned his position with them (Labaton, 2003; "Senate", 2003).
It's possible the entertainment industry could help the government
formulate its message to the rest of the world about who Americans are and
what they believe.
—Bryce Zabel, chairman of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
54.) John F. Kennedy's father, Joseph P. Kennedy, dabbled in Hollywood quite extensively in his youth. In 1927, Robert Kane, one of the directors of First National Pictures, asked the senior Kennedy to help get Gloria Swanson's "faltering career (she had set up her own production company) back into financial order so that, in 'proper hands', she could 'become the artist again and stop trying to be a business woman producing her own pictures.'" Over dinner one evening, Joseph proposed that he become her "secret business partner." Their business relationship eventually resulted in a passionate, year-long affair (Hamilton, 1992, pp. 63-64 and 69).
55.) Upon America's entry into World War II, Hollywood film-makers were hired by the US government to make propaganda films for home and abroad. Among those whose talents were used were John Huston, John Ford, Howard Hawks, and Frank Capra. England was no different; three of Alfred Hitchcock's classics (Foreign Correspondent , Saboteur , and Lifeboat ) were made as propaganda films. After the war, Hitchcock directed two short documentaries in England, filmed in French and shown in France after the Liberation. No prints were released in English-speaking countries. Renowned filmmaker Akira Kurosawa did the same for his home country of Japan with his film The Most Beautiful (1944) (Rhodes, 1976, pp. 152 and 158; Katz, 1994, pp. 471-472; Harris & Lasky, 1976, pp. 10 and 12; Maltin, 2001, p. 923).
56.) J. Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 1924-1972, had a special liking for all things Hollywood. A majority of his friends were celebrities and most of them were movie stars; Dorothy Lamour, Greer Garson, Ginger Rogers, Shirley Temple and Judy Garland were all lifelong friends. Of those on his Special Correspondents list were radio and television network presidents such as William S. Paley of CBS and David Sarnoff of NBC/RCA, Lawrence Welk, Billy Graham, Norman Vincent Peale, as well as executives of Ford, Sears, The US Chamber of Commerce, and Warner Brothers. When WB was planning to make The F.B.I. Story (1959) with James Stewart, Mervyn LeRoy wasn't approved as the film's director until Hoover was satisfied that he "had enough dirt on him," (Gentry, 1991, p. 384).
57.) From the 1920's to the 1950's, Walter Winchell was one of the most influential newsmen in the country, both in print and on the radio. It's been estimated that at the height of his popularity, nearly two-thirds of all adults in the United States either listened to his weekly radio program or read his daily column. He was such a popular and trusted figure, that Louis "Lepke" Buchalter (a Jewish mob boss who had been eluding authorities for nearly two years at the time, and who was also a member of Murder, Inc., a group of professional killers) used him as a go-between (with the FBI) in the negotiations of his surrender. Hoover eventually wrote Winchell a letter in which he stated, "When I was in New York last week, Mr. Frank Fay, the special agent in charge of the New York office of this division, told me of the assistance which you have been to him and of the interest which you have taken in our work…I wanted to write you a personal note and let you know how deeply appreciative I am, not only officially, but personally…" (For an impressive collection of nearly 4,000 pages of Hoover/Winchell communiqués compiled by the FBI – under the Freedom of Information Act – see .) In fact, Winchell's relationship with the FBI – and Hoover in particular – became so friendly that from time to time Hoover would ask Winchell to withhold the release of news stories for a myriad of reasons. For example, when the FBI made an arrest in the Linbergh baby kidnapping, for example, Winchell learned of Bruno Richard Hauptmann's capture less than an hour after it had occurred. Hoover requested that he sit on the story for 24 hours and Winchell agreed. Later, Hoover reciprocated the favor by providing him with information as to evidence the FBI had amassed against Hauptmann (Gabler, 1995, pp. xi-xvi and 197; Winchell, 1975, pp. 136-148; Klurfeld, 1976, pp. 68-69).
58.) Hollywood gossip columnists Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons provided Hoover with thousands of confidential reports, from which he learned which stars supposedly had marital, drug or alcohol problems, venereal diseases, were homosexual, or involved with under-aged girls (Gentry, p. 384).
59.) From 1940 until his death in 1966, Walt Disney was a secret informer for the Los Angeles office of the FBI, he was even appointed as a Special FBI Agent with the code name "S.A.C. Contact". Because of his fervent anti-communism stance, he developed a very friendly relationship with J. Edgar Hoover, even going so far as to allow him to censor and modify scripts, including Moon Pilot (1962) and That Darn Cat! (1965) (Mittgang, 1993; Giroux, 1999, pp. 128-129).
60.) The first known reference of Ronald Reagan's name in an FBI file is on September 17, 1941, written by Hugh Clegg, the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Division. "He wrote that he'd become 'intimately acquainted' with Ronald Reagan, of Warner Brothers Studios, 'who might be of some assistance to the Bureau'"; Reagan was given the code name of T-10. Louis B. Mayer (head of MGM) selected Reagan as a member of a committee – also headed by Mayer—whose purpose was to "purge" the motion picture industry of Communist Party members. Reagan "stated it is his firm conviction that Congress should define what organizations are communist-controlled so that membership therein could be construed as an indication of disloyalty." Reagan and Mayer, along with Dick Powell, Ray Milland and Adolphe Menjou, were also involved with the Hollywood Committee for the Re-Election of Joe McCarthy. Ronald Reagan was President of the United States from 1981-1989, with a former head of the CIA (1976-1977), George H.W. Bush, as his Vice-President (Moldea, 1987, pp. 78-79; Oshinsky, 1983, p. 243; Zinn, 1998, p. 366).
61.) Sir Laurence Olivier was already a major Hollywood presence when, in 1939, he volunteered for – and was rejected by – the Royal Air Force. "Undaunted, he piled up 200 flight hours on his own and in 1941 joined the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. He was released twice to make propaganda films," That Hamilton Woman (1941), 49th Parallel (1941), and The Demi-Paradise (1943), "and in 1944 he was discharged." That Hamilton Woman was an American movie made to gather pro-British support from the American people and was supposedly Winston Churchill's favorite film (Katz, pp. 1033-1034; Maltin, 2001, pp. 342, 480, and 1376).
62.) Sir Alec Guinness, an accomplished actor with a career spanning more than 60 years (including Oliver Twist , The Bridge on the River Kwai , Lawrence of Arabia , and Dr. Zhivago ) will forever be remembered for his role in the original Star Wars trilogy as Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi. He was already an established stage actor when he joined the Royal Navy in 1941; he enlisted as an ordinary seaman and obtained a commission the following year. "In 1942 he was given special leave to make his New York stage debut in a propaganda play," (Katz, p. 570).
63.) During World War II, Jimmy Stewart "flew 20 missions over Germany as a bomber pilot, rising from a Private to a Full Colonel." He retired in 1968 from the Air Force Reserves as a Brigadier General, "the highest-ranking entertainer in the US military," (Katz, pp. 1300-1301).
64.) Actor Neville Brand (D.O.A. , Stalag 17 , Love Me Tender , The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , Birdman of Alcatraz , That Darn Cat! , and Tora! Tora! Tora! ) spent ten years in the US Army. He was discharged in 1946 as the 4th most decorated GI of World War II (Katz, p. 164).
65.) Actor Lee Marvin (The Wild One , The Killers , The Dirty
Dozen , Paint Your Wagon , The Iceman Cometh , The Big Red
One , Gorky Park , and Delta Force ), who'd made nearly
sixty films in a career that spanned more than forty years, is buried at
Arlington National Cemetery alongside some of the highest ranking soldiers
in the history of the American armed forces. Although his marker only gives
his name, rank (Private), and service (USMC), it fails to mention his part
in the infamous battle of Iwo Jima, for which he won the Navy Cross, the
second highest award a soldier can receive. His Sergeant in that battle was
another person of note and Marvin relayed the following story on The Tonight
JOHNNY CARSON: "Lee, I'll bet a lot of people are unaware that you were a Marine in the initial landing at Iwo Jima…and that during the course of that action you earned the Navy Cross and were severely wounded."
LEE MARVIN: "Yeah, yeah…I got shot square in the ass and they gave me the Cross for securing a hot spot about halfway up Suribachi…bad thing about getting shot up on a mountain is guys gettin' shot hauling you down. But, Johnny, at Iwo, I served under the bravest man I ever knew…We both got the cross the same day, but what he did for his Cross made mine look cheap in comparison. The dumb bastard actually stood up on Red beach and directed his troops to move foreword and get the hell off the beach…That Sergeant and I have been lifelong friends. When they brought me off Suribachi, we passed the Sergeant and he lit a smoke and passed it to me lying on my belly on the litter and said, 'Where'd they get you, Lee?' 'Well, Bob…if you make it home before me, tell Mom to sell the outhouse!' Johnny, I'm not lying…Sergeant Keeshan was the bravest man I ever knew…Bob Keeshan…You and the world know him as Captain Kangaroo," ("Lee Marvin", n.d.).
66.) In the 1940's, John F. Kennedy hobnobbed with the likes of Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Lana Turner, Gary Cooper, Walter Huston, Sonja Hennie, Gene Tierney, Peggy Cummins, and legendary producer Sam Spiegel. "He was a celebrity – a minor celebrity, but a celebrity nonetheless. In Hollywood they all knew or knew of his father" who, by this time, was an American ambassador, a confidant of FDR, and a friend of Winston Churchill (Hamilton, pp. 380, 684, and 777-778).
67.) Robert Montgomery, who'd made more than 55 films in an acting career that spanned between 1929-1960 (including Blondie of the Follies , Riptide , Mr. and Mrs. Smith , Here Comes Mr. Jordan , They Were Expendable , and The Gallant Hours ), also served as President Dwight Eisenhower's (1953-1961) speech writer and advisor who later appointed him as a special consultant to the President on television and public communications. In 1947, he headed the Hollywood Republican Committee to Elect Thomas E. Dewey President and in the 1960's, served as a communication consultant to John D. Rockefeller, III. His daughter is Elizabeth Montgomery, of TV's Bewitched fame ("Robert Montgomery", 2003; Vaughn, p. 76; Katz, pp. 962-963).
68.) In 1950, Irvin Kershner, the director of such films as The Flim-Flam Man (1967), The Return of a Man Called Horse (1976), The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Robocop II (1990), was a documentary filmmaker for the United States Information Service working in Iran and Jordan (Katz, p. 744).
69.) In April 1953, Cecil B. DeMille, then working out of Paramount Studios, was appointed as a special consultant to the government on cinema. As far as propaganda was concerned, DeMille believed that the most effective use of American films was not to design an entire picture to cope with a certain problem, but rather to see to it that in a regular film, the right line, aside, inflection, or eyebrow movement was introduced to reflect desired American attitudes to whatever subject was at hand. DeMille once said to C.D. Jackson, of Eisenhower's Committee of International Information Activities—who also had ties to the CIA—that, "anytime I could give him [Luigi Luraschi, a longtime senior executive at Paramount Studios] a simple problem for a country or an area, he would find a way of dealing with it in a picture," (Eldridge, 2000).
70.) In 1956, The Joint Chiefs of Staff met with John Ford, John Wayne, and Ford's producer, Merian Cooper, to discuss how Hollywood could promulgate the concept of "militant liberty." They agreed on the imperative to produce films which would "explain the true conditions existing under Communism…and to explain the principles upon which the Free World way-of-life is based," (Eldridge).
71.) President John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) was considered quite the womanizer during his White House years and rumors abound that he had been romantically involved with Jayne Mansfield, Angie Dickinson (a member of the Rat Pack), Kim Novak, Janet Leigh, and Marilyn Monroe – Grace Kelly visited him in the hospital after he had back surgery. JFK's brother, Robert Kennedy, was also supposedly involved with Monroe and even visited her shortly before her death accompanied by a doctor who injected her with a tranquilizer while Robert held her down. Just hours before she died in August of 1962, she reportedly whispered to Peter Lawford, "Say good-bye to the President [for me]," (Parmet, 1983, p. 304; Martin, 1983, pp. 403-404).
72.) Former ABC News correspondent Pierre Salinger was once the press secretary for President Kennedy ("Salinger", 1997).
73.) Former Rat-Packer Peter Lawford, who appeared is such films as Little Women (1949), It Should Happen to You (1954), Exodus (1960), Ocean's Eleven (1960), and The Longest Day (1962), was married to Patricia Kennedy, sister of John F., Robert F., and Eunice Kennedy ("Peter", 2003).
74.) Upon the assassination of JFK, the Dallas, Texas police arrested anyone that looked even remotely suspicious; hundreds of men were arrested, photographed, finger-printed and released. Among them were three hobos who were arrested on a train near Dealy Plaza. Upon further investigation by Jim Garrison, it was revealed that two of those hobos—who, it turned out, weren't hobos at all – were known hit men with mafia connections. One of those men was Charles Harrelson, who is currently serving a life sentence for the hit of San Antonio judge, John Wood, Jr. Charles Harrelson is Woody Harrelson's father ("Harrelson's", 1999; Jones, 2003).
75.) Kirk Douglas was a Goodwill Ambassador for the State Department and the United States Information Agency beginning in 1963. In 1981, he was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, "the highest honor bestowed on a private citizen," (Katz, p. 384).
76.) Actor George L. Murphy, who'd made more than 35 films between 1930-1952 (including Broadway Melody of 1938 , Broadway Melody of 1940 , The Navy Comes Through , Having a Wonderful Time , Battleground , and Border G-Man ), went on to a successful career as a Republican U.S. Senator for the State of California from 1965-1971. Furthermore, he was a Delegate to the Republican National Convention from California in 1948, 1952, and 1956 ("George", 2003; "Political Graveyard", 2002).
77.) Jack Valenti (see 20, 22, and 26) was born in Houston, Texas and began work at the age of 16 as an office boy for the Humble Oil Co., which is now Exxon. In 1952, he co-founded the advertising and political consulting agency, Weekly & Valenti, which was in charge of the press during that fateful visit of President John F. Kennedy to Dallas, Texas in November of 1963. Within an hour after the assassination, he flew on Air Force One back to Washington as the Special Assistant to President Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969). He remained a close aid to the president from 1963-1966 and is one of only two special assistants to the president who have lived in the White House (the other being FDR assistant Harry Hopkins). According to Valenti, himself, "I sat in on every Vietnam meeting in which President Johnson was engaged, from the day of John F. Kennedy's assassination to the day I left the White House in mid-1966. I think I know as well as anyone the ebb and flow of the Vietnam tides inside the White House." This is rather disturbing to know, considering one of the most blatant and manipulative lies ever told to the American people came out of the White House during this time. According to historian Howard Zinn, "In early August 1964, President Johnson used a murky set of events in the Gulf of Tonkin, off the coast of North Vietnam, to launch full-scale war on Vietnam. Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara told the American public there was an attack by North Vietnamese torpedo boats on American destroyers. 'While on routine patrol in international waters,' McNamara said, 'the U.S. destroyer Maddox underwent an unprovoked attack.' It later turned out that the Gulf of Tonkin episode was a fake, that the highest American officials had lied to the public… In fact, the CIA had engaged in a secret operation attacking North Vietnamese coastal installations – so if there had been an attack it would not have been 'unprovoked.' It was not a 'routine patrol,' because the Maddox was on a special electronic spying mission. And it was not in international waters but in Vietnamese territorial waters. It turned out that no torpedoes were fired at the Maddox, as McNamara said. Another reported attack on another destroyer, two nights later, which Johnson called 'open aggression on the high seas,' seems also to have been an invention." The next day, President Johnson sent a joint resolution to Congress seeking approval for him to take "all necessary measures" to end the Communist aggression in SE Asia. It was passed in the House of Representatives, in less than an hour, on a vote of 414 to 0. The Senate was less quick to approve the measure, but eventually did so at 88 to 2, with Ernest Gruening of Alaska and Wayne Morse of Oregon in dissent. Thus, the war in Vietnam was escalated. Since 1966, Jack Valenti has been president and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), one of the most powerful controlling organizations in Hollywood that just happens to have offices in Washington D.C. Since he took over the role of MPAA head, "the film industry as a whole has adopted…a more tolerant attitude in matters of self-censorship," (University of Florida, 1998-1999; University of Texas, 2000; "Jack", n.d.; Valenti, 2001; Zinn, 1999, pp. 475-476; O'Neill, 1987, p. 189; Katz, p. 1400).
78.) Respected news personality Bill Moyers, host of such programs as This Week (1970), Our Times with Bill Moyers (1983), Moyers: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth (1988), Listening to America with Bill Moyers (1992), and NOW with Bill Moyers (2002- present), was once involved in politics, himself. In the late 1950's, he was a special assistant to Senator Lyndon Johnson. He served as Deputy Director of The Peace Corps during the Kennedy administration and was later a special assistant to President Johnson from 1963-1965 before serving as his presidential press secretary from 1965-1967 ("Bill", n.d.).
79.) Shirley MacLaine, "in 1968, was a Bobby Kennedy-pledged delegate from California at the Democratic convention and in 1972 campaigned with equal zeal for [George] McGovern," (Katz, p. 874).
80.) In the late 1960's, Shirley Temple (officially known as Shirley Temple Black after her 1950 marriage to TV executive Charles Black) unsuccessfully ran for the vacant Republican congressional seat of her home district of San Mateo, California. "In 1968 she was appointed by President Nixon (1969-1974) as a US representative at the United Nations. She served as US ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976, when she became US Chief of protocol. In 1989 President George Bush [Sr.] (1989-1993) appointed her ambassador to Czechoslovakia," (Katz, pp. 1337-1338).
81.) On December 21, 1970, Elvis Presley met with Richard Nixon at the White House. The meeting was initiated by Elvis via a six-page hand-written letter requesting a visit with the President and suggesting that he be made a "Federal Agent-at-Large" in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD). His letter stated, in part: "I am Elvis Presley and admire you and have a great respect for your office… The drug culture, the hippie elements, the SDS, Black Panthers, etc. do not consider me as their enemy or as they call it, the establishment. I call it American and I love it… I have done an in-depth study of drug abuse and Communist brainwashing techniques, and I am right in the middle of the whole thing where I can and will do the most good… I am glad to help just so long as it is kept very private…" Before the meeting's end, Presley was given a "specially prepared" badge from the BNDD. To read the letter in its entirety, see the National Security Archives at George Washington University at (Loughlin, 2002; "Transcription", n.d.).
82.) From 1973-1974, game show host (Win Ben Stein's Money [1997-present]) and sometime actor (Ferris Bueller's Day Off ), Ben Stein, was a speechwriter and lawyer for Richard Nixon at the White House and then for President Gerald Ford (1974-1977) ("Ben", 2003).
83.) ABC's Diane Sawyer was an assistant to Richard Nixon for eight years, including the bitter end of his presidency. She was not only an aid, but an absolute loyalist who was one of the faithful on the plane that took Nixon to San Clemente when he finally resigned in disgrace (Solomon, 2000).
84.) In a 1975 lecture in Hong Kong, Barry Zorthian—the head of JUSPAO (Joint US Public Affairs Office), which ran the propaganda of the Vietnam War – "complained that some of the 'embedded' journalists of that time were so dumb that they could not take signals when something was going wrong." He was so angered by this, that he gave up his position, where he had a near-equal ranking with the CIA Station Chief and General Westmoreland in terms of hierarchy in propaganda, "and went back to his old job as vice-president of Time Magazine," (Sainath, 2003).
85.) Now, he may be fibbing, or he may be revealing a startling truth in his 1982 autobiography, but the creator of such television programs as The Newlywed Game and The Gong Show, Chuck Barris, claims to have been an assassin for the CIA (Barris, 2002, pp. 42-51).
86.) Nancy Kulp who, despite her many film roles and numerous television appearances, will forever be remembered as Miss Jane Hathaway on The Beverly Hillbillies (1962-1971). In 1984, she made an unsuccessful political bid for the seat of the Ninth Congressional District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives ("Nancy", 1996).
87.) In 1986, Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California; he served for two years. In 2002, he was appointed by Governor Gray Davis to be on the California State Park and Recreation Commission, a four year unpaid position. (Maltin, 1994; Hirsen, 2002 November).
88.) Fred Grandy, better known as Gopher from his role on the television series The Love Boat (1977-1986), went on to become a United States Congressman of the Republican party for the state of Iowa from 1987-1995. On October 26, 1992, he purchased between $15,000 and $50,000 of stock in Biogen, a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer. Four days later, President George H.W. Bush signed P.L. 571 "to authorize human drug application, prescription drug establishment, and prescription drug product fees." On November 5, 1992, Grandy sold his Biogen stock with a probable capital gain of between 6-8%. At the time, he sat on the House Ways and Means Health subcommittee, was a member of the House Biomedical Research Caucus, and was a ranking minority member on the House Ethics committee. He is now the President of Goodwill Industries ("Fred Grandy", n.d.; "Rep. Fred", n.d.).
89.) Sonny Bono, of Sonny and Cher fame, left the entertainment industry and went into politics. A registered Republican, he was elected the mayor of Palm Springs, California in 1988, elected to the House of Representatives seat representing Palm Springs in 1992, and re-elected in 1996 ("Sonny", 2003).
90.) In 1988, Pat Robertson (born Marion Gordon Robertson), creator and host of The 700 Club (1966-present) and founder of The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in 1960, wanted to run for President under the Republican banner. His platform included the promise of getting all Soviet warheads out of Cuba, despite the fact the White House had no evidence Cuba had any. When confronted with this in a debate with George H.W. Bush and Jack Kemp, he revealed that it was only a hunch. Furthermore, he made such claims as AIDS could be transmitted by kissing and that God had told him to run for President. On his resume, he noted that his combat duty in the Korean War was an "indispensable prerequisite for the office," despite the fact that his father, Absalom Willis Robertson (a US Congressman and Senator from 1932-1966 – 14 years in the House of Representatives and 20 in the Senate) had pulled some strings with General Lemuel Shepherd, the Marine Corps commandant, to get him off combat duty before he saw any. Four years after his campaign failed, the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) released a detailed audit of his campaign. The list of violations of federal campaign guidelines included allegations that his campaign exceeded spending limits in Iowa and New Hampshire, that he had used campaign funds to pay federal and local tax penalties, and that he had spent nearly $75,000 to "send supporters to the Republican National Convention and attempted to count the money as a campaign expense even though [he] had been out of the race for at least three months by the time the convention occurred." Furthermore, he was told to reimburse various news media organizations more than $100,000 for overcharging them for airline flights and the Federal Government $380,000 (Foege, 1996, pp. 218-221; Boston, 1996, pp. 24 and 58-59).
91.) NBC's Maria Shriver (a registered Democrat) is the daughter of Eunice Kennedy, sister of John F., Robert F., and Patricia Kennedy. She is married to actor Arnold Schwarzenegger (a registered Republican), who served for many years as the Chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness under Bush, Sr. and told Talk magazine (in the November 1999 issue) that he was contemplating a run for the California governorship. Furthermore, his father was a member of the Nazi Party ("Maria", n.d.; Bellone, 2002; "Arnold", 2003; "Schwarzenegger's", n.d.).
92.) Senator Fred Dalton Thompson, a Republican from Tennessee (1994-2003), has appeared in roughly twenty films, including Feds (1988), The Hunt for Red October (1990), Cape Fear (1991), Bed of Lies (1992), In the Line of Fire (1993), and Baby's Day Out (1994) and has guest-starred on such television programs as Wiseguy (1988), Roseanne (1989), and Law & Order (1990). His "acting career intersected in a lucrative law practice, in which he was of counsel to a major Washington law firm," and he even considered a run for the 2000 Presidential election. He's also been an assistant U.S. attorney (1969-1972); minority counsel, Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (also known as "The Watergate Committee") (1973-1974); special counsel to Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander (1980); special counsel, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (1980-1981); special counsel, Senate Intelligence Committee (1982); member, Tennessee Appellate Court Nominating Commission (1985-1987). Since his retirement from the Senate, he's taken a co-starring role in the NBC drama Law & Order as District Attorney Arthur Branch, whose character will also appear in the program's spin-off series Special Victim Unit and Criminal Intent (see 17) ("Thompson", n.d.; "Fred Dalton Thompson", 2003; Drew, 1999, p. 5; "Fred Thompson", n.d.; "Law & Order", 2003; Hirsen, 2002, October).
93.) Former professional wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura successfully ran for the governorship of Minnesota in 1998 under the Reform Party (switching to the Independent Party of Minnesota in 2000). He has appeared in several films, including the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger hit, Predator. Following his stint as governor, he will be hosting his own talk show on MSNBC ("Minnesota", 2003; "Minneapolis Star", 2003).
94.) Suzanne Morrison, the mother Matthew Perry, one of the stars of NBC's Friends, was once the press secretary for Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. After Matthew's parents divorced, his mother married Keith Morrison, an NBC newscaster ("Matthew", 2003).
95.) Mark McKinney, one of the members of the now classic Canadian sketch comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall, is the son of a career Canadian diplomat, Russell McKinney ("Biography for Mark McKinney", 2003).
96.) Academy Award winning actor Tommy Lee Jones was a roommate of former Vice-President Al Gore whilst attending Harvard University ("Tommy", 2003).
97.) NBC's Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, is married to US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan ("Knighted", 2002).
98.) CNN's Chief International Correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, is married to James Rubin, a former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Chief Spokesman for the US State Department from 1997-2000, and who is now a partner at the London-based PR firm, Brunswick Group. As with Hill & Knowlton and The Rendon Group (see 44), The Brunswick Group utilize the talents and skills of people connected to both the government and media. This includes Michael Buckley, a former National Director of Hill and Knowlton's Litigation Group; Steve Lipin, a Pulitzer Prize nominated Finance Editor of The Wall Street Journal; Tim Payne, a former PR manager and editor supporting Westminster Chamber of Commerce and campaign director for the UK's Liberal Democrat party; Fiona Antcliffe worked at the House of Commons for MPs George Gardiner and Colin Moynihan in the 1980's; Tom Buchanan and Jonathan Glass both worked at Price Waterhouse, the accountancy firm responsible for the tabulation and secrecy of the results of the votes for the Academy Awards; Simon Holberton had an eleven year career at the London-based Financial Times; Susan Gilchrist was a retail correspondent at The Times of London; James Hogan worked for BBC News & Current Affairs where he was in charge of Question Time, Elections, and Documentaries; David Shapiro had been a press secretary to US Senator Richard Lugar and an award-winning television journalist with the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour; Richard Jacques once worked at the UK Cabinet Office and the DTI (Department of Trade & Industry), advising on European regulations, industry competitiveness, government privatizations and UK trade relations with North America, he later became a diplomat based in Brussels representing the UK government on industry and competition issues; JeanneMarie Prost was Group Finance Director of France Television, the public broadcasting group overseeing the three channels France 2, France 3, and France 5 (Cockburn, 2000; "James Rubin", n.d.; "The Partners", 2003).
99.) Film-maker Kevin Rafferty, who's made such films as The Atomic Café (1982), Feed (1992), and The Last Cigarette (1999), and had been a camera operator for Roger & Me (1989) and The War Room (1992), is President George W. Bush's cousin. Barbara Bush's sister is Kevin Rafferty's mother, making a former head of the CIA his uncle (Moore, 2000).
100.) Child star Charlie Korsmo (Dick Tracy , Men Don't Leave , What About Bob? , The Doctor , and Hook ) retired from the film industry in 1992 and went on to earn a degree in physics from M.I.T. in 2000. Since then, he's accepted a position with the Missile Defense Team of the US Government, worked as a special assistant with the Environmental Protection Agency, and currently serves as Deputy Domestic Policy Analyst for the House Republican Policy Committee of the US House of Representatives ("Biography for Charlie Korsmo", 2003).
101.) Spike Jones, born Adam Spiegel, has been the director of numerous music videos and the film Being John Malkovich (1999). Although it doesn't give her name, according to an October 18, 1999, Newsweek article, Spike's mother works for the communications department of the World Bank. The World Bank, along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was established during World War II and is essentially a link between Washington, D.C. and underdeveloped third world countries in need of financial assistance. "The central function of these multilateral lending institutions has been to draw the rulers and governments of weaker states more tightly into a world economy dominated by large, transnational corporations." Furthermore, they have a horrible record of supporting brutal military regimes and governments (Schoemer, 1999; Danaher, 1994, pp. 1-2; Rich, 1994, pp. 7-9).
102.) In 2002, Angelina Jolie was recruited by the United Nations to be the U.N. Goodwill ambassador. Some other celebrities who have been involved with the U.N. over the past year include Danny Glover, Roger Moore, Vanessa Redgrave, Peter Ustinov, U2's Bono (who went on a four nation aid and debt fact-finding tour with US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill), and former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell (Hirsen, 2002, August; Hirsen, 2002, September).
103.) Richard D. Parsons, the Chairman and CEO of AOL Time Warner, was once counsel for Nelson Rockefeller and a senior White House aide under Gerald Ford. He is also currently the Chairman of the Apollo Theatre Foundation and serves on the board of directors of the Museum of Modern Art (AOL Time Warner, 2003).
104.) Jennifer Garner, star of the hit series Alias, has been asked by the real CIA to appear in a CIA recruitment video which would be shown to college graduate students. Although she hasn't done it yet, according to Chase Brandon, the CIA's liaison to Hollywood, she has a "standing invite." This is not the first contact between the actual CIA and the fictionalized one depicted on the television program. "The [real] agency has provided valuable insights about life on the job," with the program's creators, writers, and executive producers asking about the CIA's interworkings and being provided with answers ("Jennifer", 2003).
Three hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.—Napoleon Bonaparte
105.) In 1970, Peter Dale Scott, a professor of English at UC Berkley, published The War Conspiracy, a scathing investigation of the CIA, oil companies, and their manipulation of US foreign policy in order to escalate the Vietnam War for their own ends. Before the book could be made public, however, the CIA intervened and successfully stopped its release ("The War Conspiracy", n.d.).
106.) In 1971, Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart wrote How to Read Donald Duck, a scathing examination of the symbolic magery of the (then) popular Disney comics. "The book sought to raise basic questions about corporate culture, routinely accepted and often adored" by children and adults alike. Translated into a dozen of languages and selling 500,000 copies before the end of the 1970's, few of those books made it inside the borders of the US. "Arguing that [the book] infringed on its copyrights, Disney kept putting up roadblocks. In 1975, the U.S. Customs Bureau seized a shipment of the English edition. Attorneys from the Center for Constitutional Rights contended that 'the seizure of the books is a classic case of abuse of the laws to suppress political dissent and unpopular opinions.' The publisher won the case. But Disney's deep corporate pockets and fervent hostility had a chilling effect in Uncle Donald's homeland. Many potential booksellers seemed wary." In an odd, but rather frightening demonstration of how far-reaching Disney's pull extends, after General Augusto Pinochet seized power from Chile's democratically elected government in September of 1973, "his dictatorship went out of its way to burn copies of the book." This is just one of many examples of the origins of "pop culture", for it "is less culture than acculturation. Styles of competitive acquisition prevail over humanistic values. And the symbols foisted on the public remain under tight private control." Disney, in general, is very protective of its name. When three academics compiled "a collection of postmodern essays with the working title Doing Disney, Disney scared them into changing it, claiming even this mention of its name was actionable," (Solomon, 1999, March 10; Levin, 2003, p. 242).
107.) By June of 1973, the revelations of Watergate had firmly shaken the foundations of the Nixon administration. Nixon's man for telecommunications policy at the time, Clay T. Whitehead, was going around the country publicizing a congressional bill that would have placed a local station's license in jeopardy if the station was unable to show "meaningful service to the community." One way to demonstrate such service, Whitehead was suggesting, was to eliminate reporting and analysis of the administration. As if to show the others what to do, CBS voluntarily dropped its "instant analysis" of administration speeches, angering the likes of Walter Cronkite and Roger Mudd. In an interview in the June 1973 issue of Playboy magazine, Cronkite claimed that this and other measures amounted to "a well-directed campaign against the press, agreed upon in secret by members of the administration…This administration has tried to bring, and may have succeeded in bringing the press to heel," (Powers, 1977, pp. 196-197).
108.) After the war in Vietnam, believing that the free reign of the press had often undermined the official party line, "America's future war planners decided not to risk uncensored press coverage of their own conflicts. They determined – evidently beginning in the Reagan Administration – that reporters would never again have the opportunity to confuse the American public about the government's war aims" and cited British tactics with journalists during the Falklands War of 1982. Twenty-nine correspondents, photographers, and technicians, subjected to strict censorship of their dispatches, were placed by the Thatcher government in various pools on Royal Navy ships in the South Atlantic. Lieutenant Commander Arthur A. Humphries, in the May-June 1993 issue of Naval War College Review, placed the Falklands War news management in an insightful perspective for his military peers, stating that "in spite of a perception of choice in a democratic society, the Falklands War shows us how to make certain that government policy is not undermined by the way a war is reported," (MacArthur, p. 138).
109.) Vladimir Pozner was a Parisian-born Soviet commentator and an international television celebrity who was one of the Soviet Union's leading interpreters of Glasnost and Perestroika and is currently serving as the president of the Russian Academy of Television. In his 1990 autobiography, he had this to say about the art of journalism: "…the realities of journalism don't involve just facts, for if they did, computers would replace journalists. Journalism always involves choices – choices among subjects, treatment, words. As a result, the claim of objective reporting functions simply to camouflage what is in fact a value-laden activity. It is not only the readers who are misled by the claim. The journalists too can be blinded by their own cover." In a March, 2003, interview with the Russian newspaper Pravda, Pozner asserted that in his view, current Russian television is more liberal and freer than American TV. Furthermore, he posited that as far as television was concerned, "it is the USA that has the least freedom of speech amid other democratic countries at the moment," (Pozner, 1990, pp. 187-188; "Vladimir", n.d.; Pozner & Novikova, 2003).
110.) "MYTH: Freedom of the Press in the U.S. exists even in times of war. The U.S. news media has been extremely skeptical of the official stories put out by the government, in order to uphold the truth.
RESPONSE: The last 20 years have seen a trend towards 'management' of the press by the government: restricted access press pools, fabricated stories, fake letters to the editor, and even violence against U.S. war reporters. According to the Winter 2002 Naval War College Review, citing the book America's Team: Media and the Military, the military had assigned reporters to a pool to cover the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989, but the Defense Secretary at the time, Dick Cheney, 'delayed calling out the pool'. During the 1991 Gulf War, according to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Patrick J. Sloyan, 'The Associated Press, which benefited most from a system that turned all journalists into wire service reporters, sent photographer Scott Applewhite to cover victims of a SCUD missile attack near Dhahran. The warhead had hit an American tent, killing 25 Army reservists and wounding 70… Applewhite, an accredited pool member, was stopped by US Army military police. When he objected, they punched and handcuffed him while ripping the film from his cameras. Dick Cheney, quoted in America's Team, was honest after the Gulf War about his treatment of the media. 'Frankly, I looked on it as a problem to be managed,' he said after the war. 'The information function was extraordinarily important. I did not have a lot of confidence that I could leave that to the press,'" (Cowan, 2003 [see source for complete references]).
111.) Gary Webb is a very decorated journalist. In a career that spanned more than nineteen years, he was the recipient of more than thirty awards for his journalistic prowess, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1990, the H.L. Mencken Award from the Free Press Association in 1994, and the Media Hero's Award in 1997. In 1996, he wrote a series of articles entitled Dark Alliances that revealed how a "US-backed terrorist army, the Nicaraguan Contras, had financed their activities by selling crack cocaine in the ghettos of Los Angeles to the city's biggest crack dealer. [It] documented direct contact between drug traffickers bringing drugs into Los Angeles and two Nicaraguan CIA agents who were administering the Contras in Central America. Moreover, it revealed how elements of the US government knew about this drug ring's activities at the time and did little, if anything, to stop it. The evidence included sworn testimony from one of the drug traffickers – a government informant – that a CIA agent specifically instructed them to raise money for the Contras in California." His article was posted on the website of his newspaper, The San Jose Mercury News, and was quickly read by people all over the world – getting as many as 1.3 million hits in a single day (see to read all the articles in his series, including many follow-ups and related links) The fallout for this was immense, with the country's three largest newspapers – The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times – putting out stories on Webb, rather than his article. "Never before had the three biggest papers devoted such energy to kicking the hell out of a story by another newspaper." Why? "Primarily because the series presented dangerous ideas. It suggested that crimes of state had been committed. If the story was true, it meant the federal government bore some responsibility, however indirect, for the flood of crack that coursed through black neighborhoods in the 1980's… The scary thing about this collusion between the press and the powerful is that it works so well. In this case, the government's denials and promises to pursue the truth didn't work. The public didn't accept them, for obvious reasons, and the clamour for an independent investigation continued to grow. But, after the government's supposed watchdogs weighed in, public opinion became divided and confused, the movement to force congressional hearings lost steam." Once enough people came to believe that the story had been exaggerated or distorted, it could be quietly buried and forgotten. Edward S. Herman, Professor Emeritus of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, explains how this could so easily happen: "The readiness with which the media and intellectuals adapt to and serve their leaders' rampaging surprises many who don't grasp the extent to which the corporate media are a part of the imperial enterprise and structure, and how naturally the intellectual community accepts and works within the parameters fixed by imperial needs. If the structure of imperialism gives the United States the power to impose its will in many foreign locales, its institutions and intelligentsia will, as a matter of course, normalize and support the ensuing projection of power," (Edwards, 2003; Webb, 2002, pp. 306 and 309).
112.) In February of 2000, the Dutch newspaper Trouw and France's Intelligence Newsletter reported that the US Army's Fourth Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) Group at Ft. Bragg, NC, worked in the news division at CNN's Atlanta headquarters during the end of the 1999 Kosovo War. "In the 1980's, officers from…PSYOPS…staffed the National Security Council's Office of Public Diplomacy (OPD), a shadowy government propaganda agency that planted stories in the U.S. media supporting the Reagan Administration's Central America policies. A senior US official described OPD as a 'vast psychological warfare operation of the kind the military conducts to influence a population in enemy territory.' (Miami Herald, 7/19/87) An investigation by the congressional General Accounting Office found that OPD had engaged in 'prohibited, covert propaganda activities," and the office was soon shut down as a result of the Iran-Contra investigations…. According to Intelligence Newsletter, Rear Admiral Thomas Steffens, a psychological warfare expert in the Special Operations Command, recently told a PSYOPS conference that the military needed to find ways to 'gain control' over commercial news satellites to help bring down an 'informational cone of silence' over regions where special operations were taking place [During the Afghanistan war, the Pentagon found a very direct way to "gain control" – it simply bought up all commercial satellite images of Afghanistan, in order to prevent media from accessing them.]… An unofficial strategy paper published by the…Naval War College [Review] in 1996 and written by an Army officer ('Military Operations in the CNN World: Using the Media as a Force Multiplier') urged military commanders to find ways to 'leverage the vast resources of the fourth estate' for the purpose of communicating the [mission's] objective and endstate, boosting friendly morale, executing more effective psychological operations, playing a major role in deception of the enemy, and enhancing intelligence collection.'" Major Thomas Collins of the US Army Information Service has been quoted as saying that PSYOPS "personnel, soldiers and officers, have been working in CNN's headquarters in Atlanta through our program 'Training with Industry'. They worked as regular employees of CNN. Conceivably, they would have worked on stories during the Kosovo war. They helped in the production of news." CNN had five interns from PSYOPS, two in television, two in radio, and one in satellite operations. This wasn't the first time CNN has allowed government officials into their newsrooms. In 1991, Pentagon "trainees" were allowed in during Operation Desert Storm for reasons that were never made entirely clear. This follows what Colonel Christopher St. John, commander of PSYOPS, has stated. He "called for greater cooperation between the armed forces and media giants" and that's exactly what's happened ("Action Alert", 2000; Cockburn; "Media Advisory", 2002; Fisk, 2003, February 25).
113.) On April 27, 1999, Amy Goodman of the Pacifica radio network interviewed Frank Sesno, CNN's senior vice president for political coverage, on the media's use of retired military personal as "analysts":
Amy Goodman: "If you support the practice of putting ex-military men – generals – on the payroll to share their opinion during a time of war, would you also support putting peace activists on the payroll to give a different opinion during a time of war? To be sitting there with the military generals talking about why they feel that war is not appropriate?"
Frank Sesno: "We bring the generals in because of their expertise in a particular area. We call them analysts. We don't bring them in as advocates. In fact, we actually talk to them about that – they're not there as advocates."
His response is very interesting. CNN may very well be calling them "analysts" rather than "advocates", but advocating the use of military force is precisely what they do. Exactly one week before Sesno made his remarks, one of CNN's military "analysts", retired Army Lieutenant General Dan Benton, made the following statement in regards to the war in Serbia: "I don't know what our countrymen, [those] that are questioning why we're involved in this conflict, are thinking about. As I listened to this press conference this morning with reports of rapes, villages being burned, and this particularly incredible report of blood banks…I just got madder and madder. The United States has a responsibility as the only superpower in the world, and when we learn about these things, somebody has got to stand up and say, that's enough, stop it, we aren't going to put up with this. And so the United States is fulfilling its leadership responsibility with our NATO allies and are trying to stop these incredible atrocities." Apparently, that doesn't constitute advocacy (Cockburn).
114.) In an impressive collection of news reports, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) showed that in 1998, ABC World News This Morning, NBC's Today, The Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, CNN, USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Newsday all reported the fact that the U.N. weapons inspection teams were removed from Iraq by order of the U.N. However, four years later, every one of those sources reported that Saddam had forced the inspectors out. Did they forget their own reporting or were they consciously assisting the United States government as outlets of propaganda by effectively re-writing history in a way that aided the Bush administration's war aims ("What a Difference", 2002)?
115.) Dan Rather, often cited as the poster child for the "liberal media" (see Bernard Goldberg's 2001book Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News), has been anything but liberal in his stance towards the president and his war aims. In an interview with the BBC in May, 2002, he said, "What we are talking about here – whether one wants to recognize it or not, or call it by its proper name or not – is a form of self-censorship. It starts with a feeling of patriotism within oneself. It carries through with a certain knowledge that the country as a whole…felt and continues to feel this surge of patriotism within themselves. And one finds oneself saying: 'I know the right question, but you know what? This is not exactly the right time to ask it.'" He's also been quoted as saying, "George Bush is the president, he makes the decisions, and, you know, as just one American, [if] he wants me to line up, just tell me where," and "Whatever arguments one may or may not have had with George Bush the younger before September 11th, he is our commander in chief, he's the man now. And we need unity, we need steadiness. I'm not preaching about it. We all know this," and "I would willingly die for my country at a moment's notice and on the command of my president." Do these sound like the words of a professional unbiased journalist who is committed to reporting the truth? Do these even sound like the words of a liberal journalist? Theodore Roosevelt once said, "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Edward R. Murrow must be spinning in his grave (Arnove, 2003).
116.) "In past wars including the 1991 Gulf War, the pool system has been the main means of control of journalists 'in theatre' – a propaganda term adopted by many journalists. The pool allows the military to control the movement of journalists as well as almost everything they see. In 1991 the Pentagon tried to bully journalists not to operate outside the pool and some adopted the value system so fully that they turned in any journalists who tried to report independently. This time the Pentagon has [become] more sophisticated and more determined to eliminate the possibility of independent reporting. They have pressured journalists to leave Baghdad and by 18 March about half of the 300 there had left, including many of the key UK and US journalists…who would likely have more credibility in their own countries. The rules issued by the Pentagon were themselves part of a process of spin. They are presented as voluntary and appeared to some to offer 'unprecedented freedom to report the facts'. But on closer inspection, a number of clauses buried in the text indicate the iron fist in the velvet glove. While the rules state that there is 'no general review process' of reports by the Pentagon, a later section notes that 'if media are inadvertently exposed to sensitive information they should be briefed after exposure on what information they should avoid covering'. A security review also becomes compulsory if any sensitive information is released deliberately. In a classic passage attempting to present strict censorship rules as voluntary, the Pentagon notes that 'agreement to security review in exchange for this type of access must be strictly voluntary and if the reporter does not agree, the access may not be granted'. The pool this time has a new feature known as 'embedding' which entails that reporters operate in close proximity to military units. They will not be allowed to travel independently and some suggest that control of the technology of communication will be controlled by the military, too. These new rules mean that journalists will don military uniform and protective clothing and, the Pentagon hopes, start to identify with the military. According to reports there are 903 journalists embedded with US and UK forces, six times the number of journalists in Baghdad. At US military headquarters in Qatar, the daily briefings will be delivered from a huge press centre complete with a mocked up studio with five large TV screens to show accurate bombing runs. Topped off by tastefully deployed camouflage netting installed by a specially flown in Hollywood designer, the centre cost in the region of $250,000," (Miller, 2003, March 28 [see source for complete references]).
117.) The Geneva Conventions forbid the targeting of civilian installations – whether state-owned or not – unless they are being used for military purposes (the broadcasting of propaganda does not constitute military use). However, this didn't stop "the coalition of the willing" from launching missiles at the Iraqi TV offices on March 25, 2003. Despite this violation, US media applauded the action without a single reference to its illegality ("U.S. Media", 2003).
118.) BBC war correspondent Kate Adie revealed in an interview on Irish radio in early March of 2003, that the Pentagon's attitude is "entirely hostile to the free spread of information." Furthermore, she was told by a senior officer in the Pentagon, "that if uplinks [satellite telephone or television methods of distributing information] were detected by any planes…above Baghdad, they'd be fired down on. Even if they were journalists… Who cares," he said, "They've been warned," (Dunne, 2003).
119.) Bill Hammond, a historian with the Army's Center of Military History, has noted that in the more than 10 years of the War in Vietnam, only 54 journalists were killed of the more than 6,000 who'd spent time in the war zone. In the first three weeks of the new War on Iraq, 12 journalists have died, with a majority of them the result of Allied munitions. (DO THE MATH: 54 deaths divided by approximately 10 years equals 5.4 deaths per year; 12 deaths multiplied by the product of approximately 1 month times 12 months equals 144 deaths per year.) On Tuesday, April 7th, 2003, two reporters and one cameraman were killed when an American tank fired into the Palestine Hotel, known to be the base of operations of non-"embedded" journalists in Baghdad. General Buford Blount of the US 3rd Infantry Division – whose tanks were the ones that fired into the hotel – announced that his vehicles had come under rocket and rifle fire from snipers in the hotel. However, footage shot of the attack from the roof of the hotel by a French journalist, "records…silence before the tank's armament is fired." Al-Jazeera, which has incurred the wrath of both the American and Iraqi governments for its live coverage of war, gave the Pentagon the coordinates of its Baghdad office in February, 2003, and were given assurances that the bureau would not be attacked. Then, on April 7th, the US State Department's spokesman in Doha, Nabil Khoui, visited al-Jazeera's offices in the city and once again told them they would not be attacked. "Within 24 hours, the Americans had fired…into the Baghdad office" killing journalist Tareq Ayyoub and wounding another staff member. Saudi Arabian newspapers on the 9th condemned the killing and charged that they were "deliberately targeted by US gunfire to silence the truth." Al-Jazeera's daily newspaper stated, "It is clear the shelling of television and press offices in Baghdad was not random, but rather targeted because it was carried out in two instalments [sic]…It appears that some people did not like the media contradicting lies issued by war generals…Unfortunately, those who expose the lies get the message by missiles." Although the military claims the al-Jazeera bombing an accident, it just so happens that at the beginning of the invasion of Afghanistan at the end of 2001, the US military "accidentally" bombed the al-Jazeera offices there, too. The ill-fated Tareq Ayyoub was wounded in that illegal attack (Kurtz, 2003; Miller, 2003, April 3; Fisk, 2003, April 9; "Saudi Media", 2003; Shalom, 2003).
120.) In order for reporters to become "embedded", they must sign a contract with the government that explicitly requires them to "follow the direction and orders of the government" and prohibits them from suing for injury or death even where this "is caused or contributed to" by the military. They are almost completely controlled by the military and "agree to give up most of their autonomy in exchange for access to the fighting on military terms." Christina Lamb of the London Times noted that "embedded" journalists are "giving a more positive side, because they're with the troops…and they're not out in the streets or out in the countryside seeing what's actually happening there." Since the war began, the British populace in general has become more supportive of the war, and of that, British Minister of Defense Geoff Hoon has said, "…the imagery they ["embedded" reporters] broadcast is at least partially responsible for the public's change of mood." At the end of March, 2003, Hoon stated, "One of the reasons for having journalists ["embedded"] is to prevent precisely the kind of tragedy that occurred to an ITV crew very recently when a…journalist was killed essentially because he was not part of a military organization." ITN reporter Terry Lloyd and two of his crew (cameraman Fred Nerac and local translator Hussein Othman) were killed by "friendly fire," (Miller, 2003, April 3; "Missing", 2003).
121.) Patrick J. Sloyan, who covered the 1991 Gulf War as a Newsday correspondent, recently wrote, "When the air war began in January 1991, the media was fed carefully selected footage by [General Norman] Schwarzkopf in Saudi Arabia and [General Colin] Powell in Washington, D.C. Most of it was downright misleading." It's happening this time, too. According to Christian Lowe of the military magazine Army Times, "embedded" journalists are being "hounded by military public affairs officers who follow their every move and look over their shoulders as they interview aviators, sailors, and maintainers for their stories," (Solomon, 2002; Miller, 2003, April 3).
122.) On January 27, 2003, CNN released a document to its entire reporting staff. Entitled "Reminder of Script Approval", it relayed the fact that all stories must be submitted to an anonymous row of script editors in Atlanta who can insist upon changes. "A script is not approved for air unless it is properly marked approved by an authorized manager and duped [duplicated] to burcopy [bureau copy]…When a script is updated it must be re-approved, preferably by the originating approving authority." This means that, although the reporter in Jordan, Baghdad, or the West Bank most assuredly understands the background and nuances of his or her story far better than the authorities in Atlanta, the anonymous CNN script editors will decide upon the spin the story should take. In other words, CNN is censoring itself, or is agreeing to be censored. According to CNN's Aaron Brown, this is a normal part of journalism in that every respectable news organization has an editor that checks the facts and makes sure the copy written makes sense in the big scheme of things. This is true. However, what he doesn't explain is why, since this is such a normal procedure, did CNN feel the need to remind its reporters of this fact – and in such detail—on the eve of a war deemed illegal by the United Nations (Fisk, 2003, February 25; Goodman & Rendall, 2003).
123.) Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) conducted a quantitative study from January 30, 2003, to February 12, 2003, concerning ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. They concluded that of the 393 on-camera sources who appeared in nightly news stories about Iraq, more than two-thirds (267) of the guests were from the US and 75% of those (199) were either current or former government or military officials with only one expressing skepticism or opposition to the war. "Such a predominance of official sources virtually assures that independent and grassroots perspectives will be underrepresented." In fact, only 20 of the 393 represented the Iraqi government and only 3 represented anti-war organizations. At a time when 61% of US respondents were telling pollsters that more time was needed for diplomacy and inspections, only 6% of US sources on the four networks were skeptics regarding the need for war, half of them were people on the street, and half of them were unnamed ("In Iraq", 2003).
124.) During the first Desert Storm, the British Ministry of Defense
referred to the relationship between the government and the press as
"buddy-buddy". This is no different today. Members of the press are being
"embedded" in various military units, thus, certainly bringing about
questions of bias. Here is a brief list of things to look out for when
watching reporters on the frontlines during these next few wars:
A. Reporters who wear items of American or British military costume – helmets, camouflage jackets, weapons, etc..
B. Reporters who say "we" when they are referring to the U.S. or British military unit in which they are "embedded".
C. Those who use the words "collateral damage" instead of "dead civilians".
D. Those who commence answering questions with the words: "Well, of course, because of military security, I can't divulge…"
E. Those who, reporting from the Iraqi side, insist upon referring to the Iraqi population as "his" (i.e. Saddam's) people.
F. Journalists reporting from either side who use the god-awful and creepy phrase "officials say" without naming, quite specifically, who these often lying "officials" are.
G. "Allegedly" – for all carnage caused by Western Forces; not used for carnage caused by "enemy" troops.
H. "Officials here are not giving us much access" – a clear sign that reporters are confined to their hotels.
I. "Remnants" – allegedly "diehard" Iraqi troops still shooting at the Americans but actually the first signs of a resistance movement dedicated to the "liberation" of Iraq from its new western occupiers.
J. "Newly liberated" – for territory and cities newly occupied by the Americans or British.
K. "What went wrong?" – to accompany pictures illustrating the growing anarchy in Iraq as if it were not predicted (Fisk, 2003, January 21; Fisk, 2003, March 16).
125.) Shamed (and retired) Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, who was once Reagan's point man for crisis management and coordinator of US counter-terrorism efforts in the 1980's, a staff member of Reagan's National Security Council, and one of the main players of what has become known as the Iran-Contra scandal, which involved the illegal selling of weapons to the government of Iran, was a frontline "embedded" war correspondent for FoxNews during the 2003 war on Iraq, although his bio on the Fox webpage makes no reference to his shameful past. Other on-air Fox journalists even referred to him as "Col. North" from time to time. He's also the host of War Stories on the Fox network, a weekday radio program, Common Sense Radio, and the author of Mission Compromised, a fictionalized account of the October, 1993, raid on Mogadishu, Somalia – the first of a proposed trilogy. Even though he is clearly a media-man today, he openly admitted on The 700 Club the not so surprising fact that he has "a great many friends who are still serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines, as well as the FBI, CIA, DIA [Department of Internal Affairs], and the NSA," ("Oliver", 2002; "Guest: Oliver North", 2003).
126.) Television reporter Pat Dooris of KGW News in Portland, Oregon, was one of the 30 journalists "embedded" on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. However, he, unlike so many others then and now stationed in the Persian Gulf, was not away from his entire family. According to The New York Times, "When Pat Dooris…had a chance to interview the captain of this aircraft carrier, there was one question he was determined to ask. What would he do…if in an attack on Iraq, one of the carrier's fighter jets did not come back? Mr. Dooris's question was driven by more than professional curiosity. His older brother, Cmdr. Bill Dooris, is a pilot and second in command of one of the carrier's F-18 Hornet squadrons, which would play a critical role in any air assault. The risks his brother faces have been on his mind for a while." Did KGW really expect him to present an unbiased journalistic view of the events going on around him when he was so closely tied to them (Clemetson, 2003)?
127.) Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Peter Arnett, an NBC and National Geographic correspondent in Baghdad, was fired at the end of March, 2003, for granting an interview with state controlled Iraqi television. In his short interview, he stated, in part, that "the first war plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance. Now they are trying to write another war plan. Clearly the war planners misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces… President Bush says he is concerned about the Iraqi people. But if Iraqi people are dying in numbers, then American policy will be challenged very strongly." Reporters are supposed to be unbiased and report the truth as they see it. If a reporter is patriotic or takes sides, he or she cannot fulfill his or her duties properly. In his first piece in The Daily Mirror, his new employer, Arnett wrote, "…my…NBC reporting career was turned to ashes. And why? Because I stated the obvious to Iraqi television; that the US war timetable [to be in Baghdad by the end of March] has fallen by the wayside… I don't want to give aid and comfort to the enemy – I just want to be able to tell the truth," (Ruttenberg, 2003, March 31; Ruttenberg, 2003, April 1; Arnett, 2003).
128.) The current Bush administration has taken their communications
department very seriously, utilizing the skills of several television
professionals. Of those, one is Scott Sforza, "a former ABC producer who was
hired by the Bush campaign in Austin, Tex., and who now works for Dan
Bartlett, the White House communications director." Sfozra created "the
White House 'message of the day' backdrops and helped design the $250,000
set at the United States Central Command forward headquarters in Doha,
Qatar, during the Iraq war." Bob DeServi, a former NBC cameraman "whom the
Bush White House hired after seeing his work in the 2000 campaign," has the
title of associate director of communications for production. A third player
is Greg Jenkins, "a former FoxNews television producer in Washington who is
now the director of presidential advance. [He] manages a small army of staff
and volunteers who move days ahead of Mr. Bush and his entourage to set up
the staging of all White House events. "We pay particular attention to not
only what the president says but what the American people see," said Dan
Bartlett. When the president gave a speech in Indianapolis regarding his
economic policy, White House aides had the people in the background remove
their ties so they'd look more like ordinary folks, the kind Bush claims
will benefit from his tax cut. At a speech given at Mt. Rushmore during the
summer of 2002, the platform set up for the television cameras was on the
president's right, rather than directly in front, as had been done with
other presidents. Why? So the president would be captured in profile with
his face alongside those on the mountain. More recently, in his now (in)famous
Top Gun-esque landing on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, Sforza – who had been
"embedded" on the ship for several days at the time – had orchestrated
everything from the fact that members of the Lincoln crew "were arrayed in
coordinated shirt colors over Mr. Bush's right shoulder" to the "'Mission
Accomplished' banner placed to perfectly capture the president and the
celebratory two words in a single shot. The speech was specifically timed
for what image makers call 'magic hour light,' which cast a golden glow on
Mr. Bush. 'If you looked at the T.V. picture, you saw there was flattering
light on his left cheek and a slight shadowing on his right...It looked
great,' said Joshua King, director of production of presidential events in
the Clinton administration." Bush's communications department "understand
the visual as well as anybody ever has," commented Michael Deaver, Ronald
Reagan's chief image maker, who was convicted of perjury in 1987 under the
then newly-signed Ethics Act. "They watched what we did, they watched the
mistakes of Bush I, they watched how Clinton kind of stumbled into it, and
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Still to Include:
1.) Many media corporations also own companies that are involved with the military-industrial complex, which implies a friendly working relationship between media conglomerates and Washington/the military/the pentagon.
2.) Members of both the government and the entertainment industry (particularly those involved in the film and music industry) have been working very hard to create strident measures for censoring the Internet. Jack Valenti is a key figure in this.
3.) There is a new psychological condition being studied amongst the peoples of Venezuela which is believed to be the result of an individual's surroundings drastically differing from what they are being told is real in the press and on television.
4.) Corporations have been putting our information up for sale, including insurance companies, credit card companies, cable companies, magazine publishers, and government agencies such as the DMV. Who's buying it? Well, other corporations, for one, but also the US government, which is keeping it in files on its citizens. This is a way for them to bypass such restrictions as Unlawful Search and Seizure.
5.) Several past presidents of the Screen Actors Guild have gone into politics themselves, or have attached themselves to the careers of other politicians.
6.) Robert Ryan, Liesel Matthews (AKA Liesel Pritzker), Charlie Chaplin…
7.) Guts & Glory (PN 1995.9 .W3 S93 2002)…
About the Author:
David B. Deserano is a recent graduate from Portland State University, Oregon, with an MS in Communication Theory. Much of his time has been spent researching and documenting the numerous links between the US government and a supposedly free media. He has turned this article (which originated as his Masters thesis) into an illustrated 'zine. To contact Dave Deserano, email him at email@example.com.