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
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail