FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Shilling for Bush

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

It seems clear now that the disclosure that two syndicated right-wing columnists were paid shills of the Bush administration posing as journalists is really just the tip of a grimy iceberg.

With the admission by Armstrong Williams that he had pocketed a cool $240,000 to pimp in his columns for the Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” program, and by Maggie Gallagher that she’d taken $21,500 to pimp for Bush’s “support for marriage” initiative (sexism is alive and well in the Bush White House when it comes to bribes), comes word that the administration has been spending $88 million on PR for its various schemes.

That’s the public’s money.

The likelihood is that there’s plenty more tainted cash that went to shameless hacks like Williams and Gallagher, though.

The irony in all this is that so much of the corporate media these days is pimping for Bush anyway. Fairness and Accuracy in Media (FAIR at www.fair.org) has documented how ABC and NBC have skewed their coverage of the alleged Social Security “crisis” by implying that the bankruptcy predicted by Bush is a universally accepted reality, when it fact it is only a scare and wildly improbable scenario.

The coverage of the war in Iraq, which is going from bad to worse but which keeps getting positive coverage on all the networks and in the press, with wounded and killed Americans and U.S.-brutalized Iraqis kept out of view, could have been scripted at the White House.

Of course, maybe there are key players in all the editorial offices of these institutions, steering their coverage in a pro-Bush direction, but this seems unlikely. More probably, the media are behaving like administration PR outfits because it’s easy, it’s safe, and it’s cheap–and because shilling wins valuable points that can be cashed in during regulatory issues, as when newspapers seek permission to buy a TV station in their own circulation area.

Still, there is something almost smutty about well fed people like Williams and Gallagher taking money in return for writing positive stories for the president. There should be some kind of intellectual STD that you get for performing that kind of obscene act-something that causes warts to appear on the eyelids and the tips of the fingers or something.

Gallagher said she would have told her readers about her check, but she “didn’t remember.”

Personally, I’d have a hard time in my income bracket “forgetting” a check for $21,500. I suspect that that is the case for most hard-working scribes, though maybe not for the coiffed airheads that grace the little screen, or for the people whose faces appear in thumbnails next to their verbiage on editorial pages across the nation.

Bush has called on his cabinet officers not to buy good press, though he has not called on them to come clean and report on the good press they’ve no doubt already bought. This is a bit like his telling his military not to torture after first authorizing a program of torture.

You can almost see the wink as he says it.

Just one more reason for Americans to doubt what they’re reading, seeing and hearing about this most staggeringly corrupt and power-hungry administration.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail