The fact that conservatives fail to adequately fight the information war isn’t in doubt, neither are the reasons the radical left and big government supporters win that war. Here are three related articles:
Meet The 2nd Largest PR Firm In The World: The U.S. Government
By Adam Andrzejewski
In 2013, then-U.S. Senator Tom Coburn criticized the then Hillary Clinton-led State Department for spending $630,000 to convince taxpayers to “like” the State Department on Facebook. The State Department argued it was informing the world of its activities. Coburn wasn’t impressed. He argued the Department was simply promoting itself, rather than the best interests of the United States or its taxpayers.
At OpenTheBooks.com, we decided to take a closer look at federal PR expenditures. Our organization, American Transparency, quantified this spending in our just released OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – The Department of Self-Promotion, How Federal Agency PR Spending Advances Their Interests Rather Than The Public Interest.
Here’s what we found:
We were surprised to find the U.S. government not only leads in military spending, but also public relations spending. The federal government, in fact, is the 2nd largest PR firm in the world in terms of number of officers.
Read more: Forbes
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Obama’s army of PR staffers costs taxpayers $500 million per year
By Stephen Dinan
President Obama has swelled the ranks of government PR, adding hundreds of new public relations specialists to the federal payroll during his time in office, costing taxpayers a half-billion dollars a year, the government’s chief watchdog said Wednesday.
That doesn’t include the more than $100 million the administration spends annually for help from private sector spinmeisters, nor does it account for the $800 million spent on contracts for advertising in 2015, according to the Government Accountability Office.
“Spending $1.5 billion on government PR activities is a huge waste of money. That sort of spending should be drastically scaled back,” said Chris Edwards, a federal budget scholar at the Cato Institute.
Read more: Washington Times
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How the FDA – and Other Agencies – Shape What You Hear about Them
By Walter Olson
important investigation by Charles Seife in Scientific American looks at how scientific newsmakers – in this case the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – use “close-hold embargoes” to manipulate news coverage on breaking stories. Embargoes in themselves are a common enough practice in journalism; the special feature of a “close-hold” embargo is that it conditions a reporter’s access to a forthcoming story on not seeking comment from outside, that is to say independent or adversary, sources.
The result of this kind of embargo, critics say, is to turn reporters into stenographers by ensuring that no expert, outside perspective contrary to the newsmaker’s makes it into the crucial first round of coverage. And the FDA uses the technique to go further, according to Seife: it “cultivates a coterie of journalists whom it keeps in line with threats.” In fact, it even “deceives” disfavored major news organizations like Fox News “with half-truths to handicap them in their pursuit of a story.”
Read more: Fee.org
Image credit: trekandshoot /Shutterstock.