Monday, July 15, 2013

and speaking of propaganda...

... the US government just repealed a very interesting law at a very interesting time.

For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government's mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts. So what just happened?

Until this month, a vast ocean of U.S. programming produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks could only be viewed or listened to at broadcast quality in foreign countries. The programming varies in tone and quality, but its breadth is vast: It's viewed in more than 100 countries in 61 languages. The topics covered include human rights abuses in Iran; self-immolation in Tibet; human trafficking across Asia; and on-the-ground reporting in Egypt and Iraq.

The restriction of these broadcasts was due to the Smith-Mundt Act, a long standing piece of legislation that has been amended numerous times over the years, perhaps most consequentially by Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright. In the 70s, Fulbright was no friend of VOA and Radio Free Europe, and moved to restrict them from domestic distribution, saying they "should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics." Fulbright's amendment to Smith-Mundt was bolstered in 1985 by Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky who argued that such "propaganda" should be kept out of America as to distinguish the U.S. "from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity."

Zorinsky and Fulbright sold their amendments on sensible rhetoric: American taxpayers shouldn't be funding propaganda for American audiences. So did Congress just tear down the American public's last defense against domestic propaganda?

Yes! Yes they did. Because clearly the mainstream media has been getting crushed by the internet fact-checking monster, and lately events are breaking on Twitter faster than CNN. So offhand I'd say the US Government just authorized a nice government funded propaganda machine in case the existing, 100% DemocRat owned media conglomerate collapses under the weight of its own bullshit.  Besides, now they can TELL guys what to print instead of just asking them to go along with the gag.

America, welcome to the wonderful world of the CBC. It will suck more than you are expecting.

The Phantom


black mamba, still not a bloody robot said...

OT - Phantom, I ask a favour. Could you, as a Canadian who spends half his time in Arizona, tell me how our gun-permit laws work south of the border? In other words, if I got a permit here, how might that work in the U.S.? Or, you know, could you refer me to some website with the info? I've tried googling but I'm just not getting anything I can use.

The Phantom said...

Dear Mambot,

The single most important thing to know about gun licence reciprocity between the USA and Canada is: there isn't any. None. Zero.

You can get a licence in some states, others don't require a license at all. Arizona has no licensing to buy or carry a firearm.

HOWEVER. The ATF has a labyrinthine and ever changing set of Federal regulations. Last I checked back in February, it was -unclear-whether a Canadian can legally purchase or even possess a firearm in Arizona at this time. The store guy who was very eager to sell me a shotgun got different stories from different ATF apparatchiks at different times. One agent guy says its ok, another guy says its not, a third guy says you need a hunting licence, a fourth guy is clueless.

Clearly they've been directed to discourage gun sales. If I were you I'd get legal representation. Or buy something off a private citizen, which is -legal- in many US states, and just shut up about it.

Incidentally, buying something off a private citizen here in Canaduh is NOT legal, nor can you legally possess any firearm without a license. And as we saw in High River Alberta last month, having a gun license puts you on a List of people considered "of interest" to the authorities, shall we say.

As a practical matter therefore, I do not do any shooting activities in Canada. I go to Arizona and shoot at Caswell's in Mesa. Less than optimum solution, but better than having the Gestapo kicking in my front door at 3am.

Oh dearie me, only two comments and already Godwin's Law broken.

Alyric said...


Don't feel bad, look at it this way - western governments are busy Godwining themselves, it's not our fault if we point it out.

There are times when I wonder if there's some sort of convention of world leaders where they sit around chortling about the new and inventive ways they oppress their people.

Oh, wait - the U.N. Right.

The Phantom said...

Hey Alyric. Can hardly wait for the American version of the CBC eh? It'll probably be absolutely unwatchable too.