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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
Julian Vigo
The Hijos of Buenos Aires:  When Identity is Political
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano
By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix the ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
Aidan O'Brien
Fidel and Spain: A Tale of Right and Wrong
Carol Dansereau
Stop Groveling! How to Thwart Trump and Save the World
Kim Nicolini
Moonlight, The Movie
Evan Jones
Behind GE’s Takeover of Alstom Energy
James A Haught
White Evangelicals are Fading, Powerful, Baffling
Barbara Moroncini
Protests and Their Others
Joseph Natoli
The Winds at Their Backs
Cesar Chelala
Poverty is Not Only an Ignored Word
David Swanson
75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies
Alex Jensen
The Great Deceleration
Nyla Ali Khan
When Faith is the Legacy of One’s Upbringing
Gilbert Mercier
Trump Win: Paradigm Shift or Status Quo?
Stephen Martin
From ‘Too Big to Fail’ to ‘Too Big to Lie’: the End Game of Corporatist Globalization.
Charles R. Larson
Review: Emma Jane Kirby’s “The Optician of Lampedusa”
David Yearsley
Haydn Seek With Hsu
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail