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Big Brother Speaks!

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This Week's Poll from the Lester & Charlie Institute of Forward Thinking!

Pesky citizens are always going around demanding more transparency in government. Well, this week, the U.S. government shouted, "Let the sunshine in!" And guess what they've decided to give you access to? Thousands of hours of government-produced propaganda!

Allow us to explain: The propaganda arm of the United States is enormously well funded. It produces thousands of hours of content every week, broadcasts in over 100 countries in more than 61 languages. In fact, practically the only people on the planet who don't see these shows are the ones who pay for it -- American taxpayers.

Americans: aren't you curious to see what you've been missing?

At least, that's the logic that the government is trying to foist on Americans to justify bringing this propaganda to American televisions, now that the law against broadcasting government-made propaganda to its own people has been repealed.

Yes, that's right! Thanks to an amendment to the 1948 Smith-Mundt Act -- an amendment that passed last January and has just now taken effect -- it's now legal for the U.S. gub'mint to show in America whatever propaganda they've been showing in, say, Iran or Somalia or Tibet. Does it say something about our present state of self-government that -- after decades of vociferous resistance from firebrand senators such as J. William Fulbright and Edward Zorinsky -- the U.S. government now thinks it's OK, and, for that matter, necessary, to propagandize to its own citizens the way it does to people in Iran?

"Our journalists provide what many people cannot get locally," said a spokeswoman for the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the organization that oversees this program, "uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate." Hmm. That explains why they're showing this stuff in countries where the American-made television might be the only alternative to local government-run programming. But does the government think Americans aren't getting "uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate" at home? Does the government think everyone is watching FOX?

And that's not even the end of their logic. "Now Americans will be able to know more about what they are paying for with their tax dollars," the BBG spokeswoman went on, "greater transparency is win-win for all involved!"

Wow. How's that for spin? It's not propaganda; it's transparency! Satisfied yet? Is that how the U.S. tries to sell its ideas abroad? Well, we're about to find out, now that these thousands and thousands of hours of government-produced programming will soon be available right here at home!

So, yes, much as we remain suspicious of it, we are curious to know: Just what has our government been broadcasting to the citizens of foreign countries this whole time? What do you think?

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