Father Diamond is spinning in his grave

Expanded from the Sunday, 8-15-2004, Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune
and the 8-20-2004 Comstock Chronicle
Updated 11-19-2006


"Publicity never hurt anyone who didn’t hurt it first."

Legendary orchestra leader Paul Whiteman (1890-1967)

The President of the United States certainly resembles that remark. Public relations professionals and media mavens, myself included, increasingly marvel at the cold-blooded efficiency of the White House PR machine.

For the third election in a row, it has turned a bonafide war hero into a commie-pinko-wimp traitor. Dubya started in South Carolina in 2000, calling into question Sen. John McCain’s record in Vietnam. He added rumors that that the Arizona GOP senator was liberal, gay and had a black baby. The latter truthfully applied to Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S. Carolina, but the smear stuck. (McCain and his wife actually adopted an orphan from Bangladesh, so I guess that’s black enough for a racist southern state.)

Within a few weeks, McCain was making speeches screaming "I’m a conservative Republican!" to anyone who would listen. Too late. Bush had made McCain the issue and went on to win the Republican nomination and steal the presidency.

In 2002, southern racism was again marshaled to victory as Sen. Max Cleland, D-Georgia, was smeared as a bin Laden sympathizer in an election centered on continued state use of the confederate flag. Cleland, a former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, lost three limbs in Vietnam.

I need not reiterate the current trashing of the documented war heroism Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

Bush has once again succeeded in making Kerry the issue rather than the president’s own desertion while under obligation to serve in the Alabama National Guard.

Dubya was reared to love the glory of combat. "It doesn't take much to predict that George II will soon risk American lives in some foolish war," I wrote in this column on Jan. 21, 2001.

The Bushes are nothing if not adept at baiting their opposition into one-upmanship games of macho tough talk.

Kerry took the bait last week and may have conceded the election as a result. His Accidency the President goaded Kerry into answering "if you knew then what we know now, would you have voted to go to war?" (paraphrased)

Astoundingly, Kerry agreed, then added disclaimers that his vote was only to empower the president to go to war after all else had failed. Kerry went in the tank (omigawd — an inadvertent Dukakis allusion) with the Grand Canyon as a backdrop. He could not have dug himself a bigger hole.


Michael Moore due in Reno on Wednesday October 13, 2004

Debate over controversial speaker welcome
Reno Gazette-Journal Editorial

Oscar time for Mike & Mel?

Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 wins the Palme d'Or
at the Cannes Film Festival

Moore film tops $8 million
on opening day

Mike on the road with Crackers the Corporate Crime-Fighting Chicken.

Kerry should have listened to comedian Bill Maher: Americans don't do nuance.

As my high school forensics teacher once advised, when your opposition agrees with you, you've won the debate. The very British Father Diamond would today award the war issue and thus the contest to Bush.

The anti-war faction now has nowhere to go but self-destructive maverick Ralph Nader or perhaps Libertarian Michael Badnarik. Liberals can only hope that Badnarik, who will be on the ballot in many states, shaves from Bush some of the disaffected Perot/Buchanan/Goldwater Republicans as a counterweight to any siphoning Nader causes from the left.

His own gaffes, made worse by the Bush spinmeisters and combined with blacks and Jews again being prevented from voting in Florida, may be too much for Kerry to overcome.

Last Thursday, the nation’s most accurate news source, Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," featured an interview with Bryan Keefer of He’s one of the authors of a new book entitled "All the President’s Spin." (Excerpt linked below.)

Keefer admitted to grudging admiration for the efficiency of the White House propaganda machine, an upgraded combination of Michael Deaver’s Reagan-era visual staging and James Carville’s Clinton war room. Other fans are checking in.

The cover story of the new September edition of Harper’s Magazine is by editor Lewis Lapham, the most elegant and artful political writer in the country. 

In "Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History," Lapham chronicles the billions spent over the past four decades by wealthy right wing interests.

These issues are nothing new to the few of us who have been watching. A decade ago, I noted the research of the late University of New South Wales Prof. Alex Carey. (The 1994 Labor Day Barbwire, "People vs. Corporate Con Job," will shortly be uploaded and linked to this column.)

Using the U.S. as his example, Carey warned his fellow Aussies that steps needed to be taken so that the Australian government would not be perverted by corporate interests posing as populist reformers.

John Kerry today is merely the latest victim.

Perhaps John McCain and Alan Ginsberg offer the only remedy: HOWL. Loudly, clearly and often.

PR SMARTS, PART DEUX. There is no sharper promoter in the Silver State than "Nevada Newsmakers" host and producer Sam Shad. For the next two weeks, the Olympics will bump his show off the NBC affiliates in Reno and Las Vegas. (It will remain available to Charter cable subscribers on Channel 12 in Washoe-Carson-Douglas, Monday through Thursday at 9:30 p.m. and on White Sheets Radio KKKOH from 9:00-11:00 a.m. Sundays.)

Knowing that he needed to publicize the show’s continuing with new material (some hot candidate debates are scheduled this week), Shad came up with an ingenious way to stay in the news flow. He got a hurricane named for his wife, Bonnie.

And it hit Jebya in Florida!

If Bush hires Shad for his media juggernaut, Kerry’s toast.

Michael Moore, call your office.

Be well. Raise hell.



Getting Focused

Franz Kafka defeats Frank Capra

The Silence of the Cows

Campaign 2004: Star Trek Virtual Politics

Excerpt: All the President's Spin

The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey

Review of Alex Carey's "Taking the Risk out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia"

ORDER "Taking the Risk Out of Democracy"
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press

SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.

CNN's Lou Dobbs' new book "Exporting America" quotes Carey

PBS/NOW with Bill Moyers: Outsourcing American Jobs

Apathy is never having to say you're sorry

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Copyright © 1982-2005, 2006 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 35-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

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