Hey, I think we just found $5 billion a year that can be diverted to helping economic recovery and preventing home foreclosures on hard working (or trying to work) Americans.
On an abandoned Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas, editors for the Joint Hometown News Service point proudly to a dozen clippings on a table as examples of success in getting stories into newspapers.
What readers are not told: Each of these glowing stories was written by Pentagon staff. Under the free service, stories go out with authors' names but not their titles, and do not mention Hometown News anywhere. In 2009, Hometown News plans to put out 5,400 press releases, 3,000 television releases and 1,600 radio interviews, among other work — 50 percent more than in 2007.
The service is just a tiny piece of the Pentagon's rapidly expanding media empire, which is now bigger in size, money and power than many media companies.
So, do you think sometimes you see articles in the local paper, or stories on local TV news that seem ridiculously tilted towards the US military. Well, that's your tax dollars hard at work.
First off, this is very, very close to being illegal. Even the AP, which is not exactly hostile to the US military, hints at that in this article.
And the reason that this was at one time made illegal is that this is very destructive to democracy and freedom. Do you ever notice how its become almost impossible to speak against the US military in this country? Its becoming very hard to have any sort of discussion that might lead to lower defense budgets, or less of our military going around the world killing people. And when you realize there's a $5 billion a year operation employing 27,000 people promoting the US military, then one starts to see why.
In a democracy, power is supposed to reside with the people. The government is supposed to reflect the will of the people. As such, its not the government's role to be telling the people what to think. That distorts the process. That puts power with the government, as opposed to power residing with the people.
Anyone want to make a small wager that this doesn't change under Obama? Maybe I'm wrong, maybe his radical pick of Gates as Sec of Defense means that policies like this under previous Sec of Defense Gates will be reversed.