December 22, 2015

"Did you know that you have been perpetrating covert propaganda on behalf of the United States government?"

Ira Glass confronts some lady who  tweeted "Clean water is important to me. I support EPA's efforts to protect it for my health, my family, and my community" — text written by the EPA, which it suggested that people copy and tweet as if it were coming straight from them. The Government Accountability Office ruled that the EPA violated federal law banning covert government propaganda. According to the GAO spokesperson, paraphrased by Glass:
[I]t's as if a government agency hired a spokesman to go on TV and talk up its programs, but the spokesman never revealed to anybody that he was being paid by the agency. He just acted like everything he was saying, praising the policies, were just beliefs that he had come to, on his own, just his personal opinion.
That's one segment of an episode of "This American Life" that's about the "Poetry of Propaganda." The entire thing is excellent. Transcript and audio at the link.

35 comments:

damikesc said...

Why would ANYBODY just copy a government tweet and claim it as their own? That's beyond pathetic.

And, as has been said before, Progressives are doing a damned impressive job to make one want smaller government. Larger government is far more corrupt and far less concerned about the citizenry. Why some want MORE of it blows my mind.

Char Char Binks said...

I repeat that tweet verbally every morning with my hand over my heart.

YoungHegelian said...

Remember the min-scandal some years back when Glenn Beck, then of Fox News, caught the Obama admin NEA trying to use federal money to crank out Obama propaganda?

There are lots of political appointees in the Obama administration who really seem to not give a flying fuck at a rolling donut for Federal procurement regulations, if not the law in general.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Leftists are just creepy. What's wrong with those people?

Chris N said...

Who doesn't believe that clean lakes and rivers require collective action and a new push on Capitol Hill for EPA action plan 57?

Who?

Really, where is this person?

Rick said...

The Government Accountability Office ruled that the EPA violated federal law banning covert government propaganda.

So it's ok when the government pays Acorn's Children to propagandize Obamacare. Just in case you're wondering.

damikesc said...

A Republican needs to, well, ignore the law and just fire almost all of the employees in several departments.

Hagar said...

It is not politics; it is religion, and the ends justify the means.

Carol said...

Not much different from the pre-written letters to the editor my party gives out to people to send in to their local papers. And boy are they bad. I assume both parties do it.

Smilin' Jack said...

""Did you know that you have been perpetrating covert propaganda on behalf of the United States government?""

Either the transcriber misheard "propagating" or Glass is illiterate. Either way, podcasts are stupid.

Jake said...

Ira Glass, Sarah Koening and the rest at TAL and Serial do know a lot about propaganda. Sarah Koenig's Dad was one of the most famous ad-men of all time to boot.

garage mahal said...

Anyone that advocates for clean water is pretty much a terrorist in my book.

Gusty Winds said...

ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, and CNN engage in this all the time. What's the difference? Liberals pretend they don't?

Sammy Finkelman said...

She thought she was only doing astro-turfing.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Oh that's probably the least objectionable misuse of Government power and/or trust the EPA's engaged in lately:

WSJ: The EPA's Secret Staff

(Google that tile if my link doesn't work for you)

Sure, the EPA secretly colludes with Lefty special interest groups (on taxpayer's time, no less, and in furtherance of plans to spend more taxpayer money naturally), but after all government is just the same for things we do together...

Pat Moffitt said...

It is my understanding that a politician's misrepresentations are protected political speech. Are misrepresentations by the unelected employees of regulatory agencies similarly protected?

The public is forced to apply for a regulatory permit for a wide variety of activities. The applicant and their professionals are required in NJ to personally certify all the submitted permit information is true under penalty of law. The regulator creating the public obligation, according to a FOIA (OPRA) reply, claims to be under no similar requirement. The State, in its OPRA reply, admitted it has no code of scientific conduct and is not required to have one and yet claims its regulations based on unsigned reports often without supporting data or citations are based on scientific and technical judgment. Can an agency have technical judgment or is judgment reserved to a qualified professional within the agency? The distinction would seem to be important.

stutefish said...

Carol said...

Not much different from the pre-written letters to the editor my party gives out to people to send in to their local papers. And boy are they bad. I assume both parties do it.

There's a huge difference between what political parties do, and what the government does.

Democrats astroturfing public support for EPA policy is obnoxious but tolerable. The EPA itself, an arm of the state, engaging in covert propaganda and encouraging private citizens to be complicit in that practice, is entirely unacceptable.

I would actually rank it above falsifying VA wait times, among things requiring a thorough investigation and summary dismissal of anyone involved who doesn't have the sense of decency to resign.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Smilin' Jack said...Either way, podcasts are stupid.

Bite your tongue, Jack. EconTalk is reliably good, How Did This Get Made is frequently hilarious, Comedy Bang Bang with the right guest can be gold...people like Marc Maron's WTF podcast but I haven't listened to it much (I still remember him as a stand up comedian).

Skeptical Voter said...

In the land of Good King Obama, good little morons parrot the party line.

PB said...

so many criminals in government, so little time. That's the strategy. Flood the zone. Create a high tempo of law-breaking, likely to disguise some really bad things we'll only find out about later.

Terry said...

Garage Mahal is pushing his own propaganda.
The truth is that clean rivers and lakes have a cost. An informed citizenry weighs the facts and decides if the cost of clean rivers and lakes exceeds or does not exceed the value returned. Ideologues decide what the costs of clean lakes and rivers are (for everybody) and whether the value returned by clean rivers and lakes is worth the cost it takes to produce them (for everybody).
Bureaucracies like the EPA are unable to determine if the cost of regulation is worth the benefits received, hence the need for democratic oversight of bureaucracies by congress. The bureaucracy itself should know that it is unable to determine if the cost/benefit ratio makes the regulation worthwhile (it is not the People). It should welcome congressional oversight.
The EPA does not seem to welcome congressional oversight. On the contrary, the EPA seems to believe that it is better able to determine the value of clean rivers and lakes than the people who own them (the people of the United States). Leftists like Garage Mahal are quite happy to have the EPA determine when the rivers and lakes are clean enough, as long as the people at the EPA bureaucrats share his ideology.

bhollis said...

How about that story in the same episode where the little kids in San Francisco put on a play about how the rich techies are ruining the city through gentrification!! Even with some distance, the dad didn't seem to realize how insane that whole thing was.

BN said...

"Bureaucracies like the EPA are unable to determine if the cost of regulation is worth the benefits received."

Bureaucracies are in it for their own selves. Just pay me, fools.

BN said...

Welcome to the USSA. The line starts over there. Get in line.

traditionalguy said...

The issue is pure First Amendment. Under Obama the EPA is our Established Religion disguised by a mythology of a science. They are into Spanish inquisition tactics as we speak.

F said...

I generally cannot stand Ira Glass. In truth, I quit listening to NPR 5-6 years ago because of people like him and Diane Rehm. Maybe age has mellowed him.

cubanbob said...

"[I]t's as if a government agency hired a spokesman to go on TV and talk up its programs, but the spokesman never revealed to anybody that he was being paid by the agency. He just acted like everything he was saying, praising the policies, were just beliefs that he had come to, on his own, just his personal opinion."

Now that we have rule by decree thanks to Obama the corrective for this is more rule by decree. In this instance the next president should issue a presidential order permanently barring the agency from issuing any new regulations immediately followed by an other presidential order rescinding and revoking every regulation ever issue by the agency and immediately following that firing everyone employed by the agency in any capacity as they are no longer needed. If it turns out there is a need for the agency it can always be resurrected in a much more attenuated version.

Sebastian said...

The only thing that is "news" here is that This American Life pays attention to it. Everything else is standard operating procedure: This American Life.

walter said...

How many (essentially) policy commercials has this broader admin created?

walter said...

hard to believe..seems to be a very honorable bunch at EPA lately, no?
Limited support though..they should be much further along by now in skyrocketing electricity costs.

walter said...

By the way, TAL had a ridiculously over the top bit o' propaganda not long ago regarding CAGW. I sent commentary and of course not even a form response. STFU Ira.

Achilles said...

It is for the cause of clean water. Anyone who disagrees with clean water is bad. We need moar EPA to ensure clean water. Anyone who disagrees with giving the EPA more power over our lives wants dirty water. We should just throw all those people who don't want to give the EPA more power in jail.

Birkel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MikeR said...

The article was amazing, especially the part about Columbia and FARC.

Mick said...

Propaganda is legal, by executive order.

http://www.maxkeiser.com/2013/06/first-time-since-1948-propaganda-is-now-legal-in-the-u-s/