Kerry, Menendez, Dorgan, Lautenberg Legislation Demands End to Wartime Propaganda
Sens. John Kerry, Bob Menendez, Byron Dorgan, and Frank Lautenberg today introduced legislation that will prohibit the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) from using appropriated funds for propaganda and will require the DoD Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to deliver reports to Congress within 90 days. The bill is a companion measure to Rep. Paul Hodes' (D-N.H.) amendment to the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 5658). In April, Sen. Kerry called for an investigation by the GAO into the DOD's covert effort to cultivate military analysts with distinguished service records to produce favorable press coverage of the Bush Administration's wartime policies. According to Media Matters, military analysts made 4,500 press appearances to produce systematic propaganda for the war.
"We're going to make sure the public money isn't used for propaganda campaigns that undermine the public trust," said Sen. Kerry. "With confidence in Washington at an all-time low, the American people should not have to wonder whether the purportedly non-partisan, expert analysis they see on television might have been shaped by a government propaganda campaign. The Administration should be focusing all of its efforts on making Americans safer and more secure, not misleading marketing campaigns to keep them in the dark or smother competing opinions and dissent during a misguided war."
"The decisions we make about war are often life or death decisions for American troops. They also have broad security implications. In the debate about war, facts and sober analysis should carry the day. There is no need for paid cheerleaders to support an argument," said Sen. Menendez.
"This Administration has a history of pushing propaganda on the American public. The American people expect our federal government to tell the nation the truth. Our bill would require the immediate investigation of this Administration's efforts to manipulate the news, and ensure that the public gets unbiased facts and analysis in the future," said Sen. Lautenberg.
"In a free and democratic society, our government should never use the public airwaves to propagandize our citizens," said Rep. Hodes. "Congress cannot allow an Administration to manipulate the public with false propaganda on matters of war and our national security. This legislation will ensure that no money authorized will be used for a propaganda program, and require a report to Congress by both the Defense Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office on whether previous restrictions on propaganda have been violated. It's time for the American people to finally know the truth."