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Matt Welch at Reason has a great article on the propaganda issue: Bamboozlers On the Loose.

Of course, this is all just peanuts compared to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which since 1998 has spent $1 billion trying (and failing) to convince us that smoking the odd joint might kill you, or at least cause terrorism. When the TV networks squawked about the lost ad time, the ONDCP foreshadowed the Armstrong Williams payola scheme by suggesting some anti-drug story lines instead. It was a win-win, really.

There are two profoundly undemocratic through-lines in the state’s repeated purchase of propaganda. The first is the foul notion that we are a nation of people who literally can’t handle the truth, and so must be influenced in ways we don’t even realize by a government that knows our best interests better than we do. …

The second is an alarmingly cavalier approach to pissing away taxpayer money. …

Also, the editorial in today’s Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, TX): Feds cross the line with fake news.

When comedian Norm McDonald was on “Saturday Night Live,” he was the anchorman on the show’s Weekend Update skit. He would read headlines from that week’s news and change portions of the stories to make them funny. At the end of the segment, he would sign off with the words, “And that’s the fake news.” It was funny as part of a comedy skit, but it has no place in the real world of journalism. More importantly, it has no place in government. …

One of the foundations of a free society is an independent press, completely free of government influence. Although some news outlets are often accused of supporting one faction or another of government, they are independent from those factions and don’t get their marching orders from any political party.

The press’ role in a free society is to keep citizens informed about what government is doing and to hold officials accountable to the Constitution they’ve sworn to uphold.

That’s not possible if the media are spoon-fed supposed news stories that support government agendas. The feds should stay out of the news business and the media should be more careful about their sources.

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