Republican Party

If Citizens United Wasn't Bad Enough…

...imagine an America with legalized government propaganda in the modern age. We'd be totally effed.

An amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill, BuzzFeed has learned.

The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee's official website.

The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts—the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987—that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns.

The bi-partisan amendment is sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State.

  • …Says the guy with the propaganda as his banner.

    • mrbrink

      Friendly reminder.

  • Ipecac

    I’m confused. Don’t these guys realize a “DEMOCRAT” is in office? Shouldn’t they be waiting for a Republican President to enact this kind of fascist power grab?

    • Scopedog

      I dunno. According to some on the Left, we’ve had a Republican in the White House since January 20, 2009.

      Of course, this ominous bit of legislation is scary, but expect to see posts from Greenwald and Lindorff (among others) who will scream that Obama’s really the one responsible for all of this, that it’s part of his master plan to finally and completely sell us out, and he’s worse than Bush.

      I wish I was kidding about this, but deep down, I’m expecting it.

  • D_C_Wilson

    It seems like there are already plenty of ways around these laws. The Bush administration routinely produced fake news items that painted their policies in a positive light and then planted them in the “librul” media .

    And who could forget Judith Miller, who acted as Dick Cheney’s chief stenographer at the NY Times.

  • mrbrink

    Must not be enough sympathy right now for anti-government zealotry.

    The fascists will fix that.

  • Hey guys, this is off topic but, Cory Booker is getting excoriated today for his stupid remarks on Meet The Press this morning saying, he’s uncomfortable with the Obama campaign’s Bain “Attack”! And now, it’s all over the blogs and likely coming soon to the Whitehouse press briefing room, where well thought out questions on matters of vital importance to the American people are ignored on a daily basis. Booker then popped out 5 tweets, at last count trying desparately to walk it back. Thanks a lot Cory! Now, we’ll spend the next few days discussing this “SCANDAL” is how it will be described.

  • muselet

    If this goes through, we’re screwed.

    According to [a Pentagon official who is concerned about the law], “senior public affairs” officers within the Department of Defense want to “get rid” of Smith-Mundt and other restrictions because it prevents information activities designed to prop up unpopular policies—like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


    A U.S. Army whistleblower, Lieutenant Col. Daniel Davis, noted recently in his scathing 84-page unclassified report on Afghanistan that there remains a strong desire within the defense establishment “to enable Public Affairs officers to influence American public opinion when they deem it necessary to “protect a key friendly center of gravity, to wit US national will,” he wrote, quoting a well-regarded general.

    Does anyone else think the DoD could do with fewer Public Affairs officers?


  • West_of_the_Cascades

    from the House Rules committee website it looks like those two congressmen are the only sponsors, and it’s one of a couple hundred proposed amendments that are in the hopper, so let’s hope it dies a quiet death in committee. This has to be something that at least some Republicans would object to as well on libertarian or anti-big-government grounds (right?).

  • Victor_the_Crab

    If Obama vetoes it, the Supreme Court Five will see to it that it’s accepted into law.

  • 1933john

    A permanent “5 O’Clock Follies”…..??

  • Ned F

    “It removes the protection for Americans,” says a Pentagon official who is concerned about the law. “It removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information. There are no checks and balances. No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false.”

    That’s all I need to hear, this is so wrong in every way.