Propaganda 101: Manufacturing and Misrepresenting Sources

This week you can probably expect a big push in the media for the cynically misnamed Employee Free Choice Act (Card Check), which I've written on before. One element of that push which will be getting coverage is an article by Seth Michaels on the AFL-CIO Now blog which heralds the fact that:

"A coalition of major investors who oversee more than $750 billion in assets is joining the fight for workers’ freedom to form unions by asking major corporations what they’re doing to protect and enhance the ability of workers to form unions."

Wow, that sounds pretty serious. That's a lot of investment money. It must mean that stockholders and important players on Wall Street are really concerned about making sure that unions can bully workers into joining by taking away their right to a secret ballot.

In fact, stockholders and major investment groups have not actually taken leave of their senses and decided it would be great to further burden businesses with rapacious union interference in our current harsh economy. What you actually have here is a classic example of how propagandists can use legtimate seeming sources to support their positions and create the impression of a popular movement or widespread support where it does not actually exist.

In the article there is a link to a press release from Domini Social Investments which further heralds this letter which has been sent to various Fortune 100 companies in support of EFCA by a group of "major institutional investors" controlling $757 billion in assets.

The effort here is to create an impression of widespread support in the financial community for Card Check. The core deception in this propaganda effort is that the letter is actually signed by a very limited group dominated by investors controlled by or closely associated with the unions promoting the legislation. The major signers on the letter are actually mostly international union pension funds or organizations representing union pension fund managers. Also signing the letter are a variety of specialty investment groups which invest in "socially responsible" businesses (unionized businesses), but they control only a small fraction of that $757 billion in assets and they are on the list mainly as a smokescreen for the union-controlled investment groups who hold the vast majority of the assets referred to.

In fact, the top signer on the list and the one with the largest assets is the AFL-CIO Employees Staff Retirement Fund, so the AFL-CIO is using their blog to promote this letter from "a coalition of major investors" without bothering to point out that they themselves are the major investors in question. Everything in the article is true as written, but the appearance that the unions have found major allies in the investment community for Card Check is entirely deceptive. The progressive angels of Wall Street who have joined them in their fight turn out just to be the unions themselves in a not very clever disguise.

What's more, the letter itself is hardly the clarion cry for EFCA which the AFL-CIO would have you believe. The letter actually makes an effort to look like it originates with the UNPRI a United Nations labor practices workgroup. The letter also does not actually endorse EFCA in any way as the AFL-CIO website suggests, but actually just solicits companies for their input on various labor issues. The letter says clearly:

"Please note that, although individual investors represented in this letter may have taken a view on the legislation, the group as a whole has itself not formulated an official position."

In reality the UNPRI and perhaps even many of the signers on the letter don't actually support Card Check at all. The letter also describes what policy towards unions and workers rights ought to be:

“The freedom to form or join a union of one’s choice or not, and to bargain collectively for the terms of one’s employment, are fundamental human rights that we as global investors recognize and respect.”

Who could disagree with that statement? It's broad enough that almost anyone would sign off on it, and would apply to the position of those who oppose the EFCA as well as those who support it. In fact, the main argument against Card Check is that it limits worker freedom to join unions by taking away the secret ballot which protects their free choice. So it could very well be that many of the signatories oppose the EFCA and it's certainly true that the group as a whole has not take a position on it and the letter is not an endorsement of it.

The letter actually seems to originate with a company called Boston Common Asset Management which like many of those signing the letter is a strange amalgem of investment firm and advocacy group. They're a worker owned collective which manages "socially responsible" investments, but seems to devote more of their time to lobbying for and promoting various left-wing causes. This business model raises all sorts of questions, like where they get the money to fund their advocacy work and how much of their customer base and revenue comes from union sources. Adding to my suspicions is that what appears to be the draft version of a similar letter to selected congressmen clearly originated on the AFL-CIO site, suggesting that these letters are being written by the union and passed on to these other groups for publication. Further research may turn up more evidence, but looking at the websites of these "social investing" groups I find it hard to believe that they could attract a great deal of money from legitimate private investors. My suspicious nature makes me wonder whether any of the groups signing the letter represent anyone other than domestic and international union interests.

What this example shows us is that when you have enough money and resources you can effectively generate your own news. Your shills issue a letter, you then hail that letter in your own publicity as a newsworthy event, you misrepresent it to make it seem more significant than it is, and then with any luck the compliant media picks up on it. With the letter released on Thursday, we'll see if that happens this coming week.

Meanwhile, in contrast with the score of shills advocating Card Check in this letter, 3100 businesses have sent their own letter to Congress opposing the passage of EFCA.


Once again, 9/11 is upon us. I speculate that the people at MSNBC will not run all day coverage of 9/11/2001. Nor do I think that they will broadcast, like they did last year, the unfolding of the morning of 9/11/2001. I may be wrong but, I don’t think MSNBC or CNN would like to show the images of planes going into buildings this year. Perhaps it might make the viewer think, 7 short years after 9/11 and one Muhammaden slip by Obama bumbling about his "Muslim faith" and the fact that his middle name is Hussein, just how absurd it is that this man is even being considered for the job of President.

If you don’t wish to watch coverage like this please tune into Chimpsy Radio. All day on 9/10 & 9/11, we will remember 9/11 in our own way It will begin at 1pm Est and end with my show at 9:30pm Est. I will speak about Obama and ask not where Obama was but, what exactly what was he thinking just days after 9/11. I will not be talking about 9/11 truthers. Been there, done that so many times.
Of course, with every year approaching 9/11 the truthers come out. I’ve often advocated beating the fuck out of them when they approach you with your ideas but I think now it’s just a matter of tuning them out. Some of you may know them. They might even be your friends and while I’ve ended a couple of friendships over this scurrilous viewpoint. No, I don’t think you should do the same. But if you must engage them, please bring common sense. The truthers hate that shit.

For instance, truthers like to make wild claims that building 7 was brought down in a controlled demolition. First, do you really think that a truther understands laws of psychics? Why bother with that? Simply use common sense. Ask them, can you explain to me why collapse would begin at exactly the point where damage was inflicted, since the conspirators would have had to been able to predict exactly where debris from the fallen North and South Towers would strike WTC 7? And while the makers of the documentary Loose Brains comment that WTC 7 "fell straight down, into a convenient pile," the TRUTH is that the pile of debris was 12 stories high and 150 meters across, hardly the kind of "convenient pile" described by shit for brains like Dylan Avery and Corey Rowe.

These brain dead losers will go as far to say that not only WTC 7 but the WTC 1&2 were controlled demolitions as well. Again, common sense. Please say: Dumbass, since the building was wired for a controlled demolition and targeted to be hit by airplanes why not just do the controlled demolition, ditch the airplanes and blame it on the terrorists of your choice? Go further. Doesn’t prepping a building for demolition takes considerable time and effort? Usually a building targeted for demolition has been abandoned for considerable time and partially gutted to allow explosives intimate contact with the structure of the building. But since all of the WTC buildings were occupied right up to 9/11, how did the government gain access to wire 3 towers for complete demolition without anyone noticing? Imagine trying to sneak wires and bombs into buildings while thousands of people are working in offices, riding the elevators and milling about in the halls that scenario is HIGHLY unlikely.

They love to start talking shit about the Pentagon.
Their claim that the plane never crashed and that a missile or a bomb did this damage. We’ve heard it before and the mentally impaired like to refer to this as Pentegate. Again, remain composure and let common sense prevail. Say this: You poor fool. A speeding Boeing 757 will not leave a snow-angel style impression of itself in a concrete building (vs. the mostly-glass exterior of the WTC buildings, which did leave an outline of a plane). And the contention that no remains of Flight 77 were found at the crash site is simply absurd. Many pictures taken of the area around the Pentagon crash site clearly show parts of an airplane in the wreckage. Allyn Kilsheimer, the first structural engineer to arrive at the Pentagon after Flight 77, spoke about his own observations as crashed. "I saw the marks of the plane wing on the face of the building. I picked up parts of the plane

with the airline markings on them. I held in my hand the tail section of the plane, and I found the black box. His eyewitness account is backed up by photos of plane wreckage inside and outside the building. I held parts of uniforms from crew members in my hands, including body parts."

You might want to follow up that factotum with: I guess Kilsheimer is just another Bush loving nea-con to you, huh? Who made up the fact that he was traumatized by holding peoples arms and legs? Take your medicine.
When discussing Flight 93 with a truther it might be difficult to keep composed. For most of us, Flight 93 was a valiant effort by heroes to fight back and stop further destruction and loss of life. Not to a truther. I know, it may be hard at this point to fight the urge to take the anti American piece of shit by the throat and choke the stink out of em! But, common sense is like the force and may it be with you.

Truthers have often claimed Flight 93 had landed safely in Cleveland. This has been rejected by every credible news outlet in the country. Then the unsupported assertions that the main body of the engine and other large parts of the plane turned up miles from the main wreckage site was too far away to have resulted from an ordinary crash. This is incorrect because the engine was found only 300 yards from the main crash site and its location was consistent with the direction in which the plane had been traveling. Let’s not forget the black box for the flight records the struggle onboard preceding the plane’s crash. Those are facts. Let common sense prevail: Excuse me you infinitesimal minded crack pot. Why would the same U.S. government that allegedly destroyed the WTC shoot down Flight 93 before it could cause similar damage to other buildings?
I can sit here and go on pages more. It’s your choice whether you wish to debate this subject, beat someone to a pulp or turn the other cheek and ignore. I personally recommend ignoring the ignorant. Remember, these are the same people who believed that George Bush was responsible for Hurricane Katrina by blowing up the levees because he hated black people. These are also the same people who for years believed that JFK was killed by the government rather than a lone and known Communist. And to them, the government that killed JFK is always a conservative government because, after all, they’re evil. Meanwhile, the JFK administration was liberal democratic. I guarantee you that if JFK was a conservative republican, Oliver Stone would’ve romanticized Lee Harvey Oswald instead of vilifying the government.

Finally, pity these fools. Seriously. Some conspiracy theorists themselves don’t really believe what they are saying. The main appeal of 9/11 conspiracies is that they are easy to understand and to accept. Like children, they are easily led to believe this easy brush off of a catastrophic event in which we, citizens of the United States, were the target. For most of us proud Americans who understand this catastrophe and know who did it to us, we realize how precious and fragile human life and liberty are. And perhaps that may be the greatest rebuttal to those who wish to live life pursuing delusions.

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