The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

Alexis de Toqueville

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
Alexis de Tocqueville

The United States Capitol Building

The United States Capitol Building

The Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention

The Continental Congress

The Continental Congress

George Washington at Valley Forge

George Washington at Valley Forge

Friday, March 2, 2012

JW Spurs Senate Probe into Obama Propaganda Spending

From Judicial Watch:


JW Spurs Senate Probe into Obama Propaganda Spending

Judicial Watch is no longer the only voice in Washington calling attention to the Obama administration's policy of producing taxpayer-funded propaganda to brainwash the American people into favoring the administration's policies. Prompted by Judicial Watch's work in this arena, a key Senate subcommittee has joined our cause. Roll Call has the story:
 
Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) launched a wide-ranging investigation into the Obama administration's public relations and advertising spending Tuesday, sending information requests to 11 federal agencies.

The top Members on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management sent letters obtained by Roll Call to agencies asking for an accounting of all "contracts for the acquisition of public relations, publicity, advertising, communications, or similar services" dating back to Oct. 1, 2008, four months before President Barack Obama was even sworn into office.

"Over the past three years, we've seen accounts of wasteful federal spending on PR contracts to defend the administration's unpopular policies," a Portman aide said. "This investigation will further probe this administration's use of taxpayer-funded spin."
 
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(Incidentally, when questioned by the reporter as to why McCaskill, a Democrat, decided to help spearhead this investigation, a spokesman for the Missouri congresswoman said, "…good government is not a partisan thing." Amen to that.)

And what prompted Congress' sudden interest in this issue?  

According to Roll Call, Republicans on the subcommittee said Judicial Watch's efforts to expose an Obamacare propaganda campaign funded by Obama's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)"piqued their interest."  (And so it came as no surprise to see HHS on the list of target agencies.)

As you may recall, JW has already released a significant number of documents detailing this massive multi-media campaign designed to persuade the American people to "accept" Obamacare. In fact, as news of this congressional investigation emerged, Judicial Watch released brand new documents detailing the HHS Obamacare propaganda campaign.

JW got hold of the new records on January 9, 2012, as a partial response by HHS to a FOIA request we filed almost two years ago (June 9, 2010), looking for "any and all records from March 2010 to the present pertaining to the HHS brochure 'Medicare and the Health Care Law ‒ What It Means to You.'"  

Here are a few highlights from our most recent find:

  • The records consist of internal communications detailing efforts by members of HHS to generate and agree on "talking points" that address anticipated criticism of Obamacare, including a statementby the HHS Chief Actuary [Richard Foster] "that total health expenditures will go up and not down." The documents further detail how to counter a statement by Speaker of the House John Boehner that Americans "don't want this law."
  • The HHS talking points indicate the Obama administration plans to "be creative" in how it gets Obamacare information to the public. The talking points further detail a massive taxpayer-funded multi-media campaign that will "reach people where they live, where they work, and in the languages they best understand."
  • Additional projects discussed by the talking points include a video to be produced with Secretary of Health & Human services Kathleen Sebelius on Obamacare plus packets to be reviewed and approved by the White House for members of Congress, as well as a "donut hole brochure." While the total cost to taxpayers for the multi-media promotions campaign is not discussed in the pages provided, the documents acknowledge that the charge for sending a supplemental mailer to Medicare beneficiaries alone added up to more than $18 million. 
  • The HHS talking points state that the insurance industry "is not going to change years of anti-consumer practices overnight. They further indicate an intent by the Obama administration to "hold the industry accountable," by making available "millions of dollars in grants" to states to create health insurance consumer assistance offices that will help consumers to enroll in a plan or file complaints against insurance companies. The mechanics of funding this program are not discussed.

Of course, these documents are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we've already uncovered.  And they show a government agency out to get the private health insurance market.  

JW previously obtained documents from the Obama HHS showing that the Obama White House helped coordinate a multimillion dollar taxpayer-funded campaign to use Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo to drive web traffic to a government website promoting the Affordable Health Care Act. The expressed purpose of this campaign is to increase public support for the president's health care overhaul among key Obama campaign demographics, specifically Hispanics, blacks, and women.

In other documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, HHS describes in detail the key to success of the propaganda campaign in a "Statement of Work" accompanying the agency's Acquisition Plan: "Health and program-related messages are processed by the target audience according to a particular reality, which he or she experiences. Attitudes, feelings, values, needs, desires, behaviors and beliefs all play a part in the individual's decision to accept information and make a behavioral change." These documents suggest the total cost of the Obamacare propaganda campaign could reach as much as $200 million.

In November 2010, Judicial Watch obtained documents from the Obama HHS regarding a series of three Medicare television advertisements featuring actor Andy Griffith.  According to FactCheck.org, a project of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, the advertisements intentionally misinformed the American people.

This would appear to be exactly the kind of information of interest to Sens. Portman and McCaskill as they continue their bipartisan probe. You can be sure our investigators will be in touch directly with their offices. You can also be sure that we will continue our own investigations, independent of Congress, into the Obama administration's Big Brother propaganda campaigns.

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