Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wag the Dog
With more media coverage and media pressure than ever before on world governments, propaganda is alive and well in state media communication. There have been a slew of allegations in the past surrounding our very own SABC, but we are not alone. Today, Condoleeza Rice announced that a total of $85-million in funding would be used, for amongst other propaganda items, to broadcast US radio and television programmes into Iran.

According to the Guardian, "US propaganda efforts in the Middle East since September 11 have been relatively unsuccessful. Analysts say its Arabic news station al-Hurra (the Free One) is widely regarded with suspicion in the Middle East and has poor listening figures." Go figure...

Then comes some news from Mexico, where the government has admitted that it "staged a dramatic kidnap rescue for the benefit of a prime-time television audience."
The raid, televised on December 9, in which Mexico's equivalent of the FBI burst into a farmhouse at dawn, guns at the ready, to subjugate four alleged kidnappers and liberate three victims, had been presented by the government as proof that it was winning the battle against organised crime."

This week, a presidential spokesperson, Ruben Aguilar, accepted it was staged and called it a mistake.

The authorities have sought to share the blame with journalists that they claim asked the police to replay arrests carried out hours before.

"All we tried to do was serve you, the media," the Attorney General, Daniel Cabeza de Vaca, told a news conference. "That, and show the public that there is an institution that is working for them, that has successes and that arrests people."

Truly classic...