People in Washington DC are very concerned with “narratives” and “optics.” Such things drive the place in many respects.(Second only to money, and the 2 are entwined.) How do people think about stories? How do stories look in the eyes of the public. Spin. Bull. Propaganda.
Propaganda. It’s on the rise in this country, though it is not a new phenomenon. But now, the Obama administration is positioning psychologists and behavioral economists in government agencies in an effort to “nudge” the American public toward policies of which the administration – and the larger government apparatus approve. This is a new level of propaganda, more subtle. Potentially, much more dangerous.
And these government propaganda efforts are all done, as reported in the attached article, without almost any scrutiny and with your tax dollars. You are paying to be manipulated.
Time to start paying closer attention.
(From The Washington Post)
NASA tweeting that Congress should give it more money so our astronauts won’t have to ride on Russian rockets. Recovery.gov reporting overly optimistic statistics on jobs saved and created by stimulus funds. The Department of Health and Human Service Web site encouraging the public to“state your support for health care reform” during the congressional debate over Obamacare.
These are just some recent examples of the executive branch using our tax dollars to shape our opinions. Unlike the National Security Agency’s personal data collection or the overuse of “secret” stamps to withhold information, this government-produced propaganda receives almost no attention. But that doesn’t mean this “third dimension” of government information is not a problem. America becomes less democratic when the $3 trillion executive branch uses its resources to tilt the debate in its favor…
…The scope of the third dimension is difficult to assess. In 2014, the government spent $760 million to hire private advertising firms, according to USASpending.gov. The contracts purchased advertising space on all forms of media, marketing research and opinion polling, message-crafting assistance and more.