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March 23, 2023

"The Science (TM)" Is Now In the Government Propaganda Business

I mean, that's been going on for a while. But now "The Science (TM)" is getting government grants to push propaganda on the public about how wrong it is to ever question government "science."

Via Ed Morrissey, reports on the federal government's grant of 5.7 million taxpayer dollars to lie to the taxpayers that Government Science Is Never Wrong.

A group of professors is using taxpayer dollars doled out by the federal government to develop a new misinformation fact-checking tool called "Course Correct."

National Science Foundation funding, awarded through a pair of grants from 2021 and 2022, has amounted to more than $5.7 million for the development of this tool, which, according to the grant abstracts, is intended to aid reporters, public health organizations, election administration officials, and others to address so-called misinformation on topics such as U.S. elections and COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.

This $5.7 million in grant money is on top of nearly another $200,000 awarded in 2020 through a Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act-funded NSF grant for a project focused in part on mental health that Course Correct is said to have grown out of.

According to the abstract of the 2021 grant, Course Correct's developers, a group of five professors from various institutions nationwide, are using techniques related to machine learning and natural language processing to identify social media posts pertaining to electoral skepticism and vaccine hesitancy, identify people likely to be exposed to misinformation in the future, and flag at-risk online communities for intervention.

Oh, did i forget to mention? This government propaganda is also aimed at curing "misinformation" like "Democrats sometimes (oftentimes) cheat in elections."

That is Officially Government-Decreed Misinformation which taxpayer dollars are being used to squelch.

"Democracy and public health in the United States rely on trust in institutions," the professors wrote in the grant abstract. "Skepticism regarding the integrity of U.S. elections and hesitancy related to COVID-19 vaccines are two consequences of a decline in confidence in basic political processes and core medical institutions."

You should never have skepticism about the government, Comrade.

We've got a little list, you know.


In the 2021 grant abstract, they wrote social media serves "as a major source of delegitimizing information about elections and vaccines, with networks of users actively sowing doubts about election integrity and vaccine efficacy, fueling the spread of misinformation."

Government claims must never be delegitimized, Comrade.

And they want to use the tool to "correct misinformation" of any kind they decide is objectionable.

[I]n contrast to the language found in these NSF award abstracts, which largely focused on combating purported misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and elections, the February 2023 post from UW-Madison emphasized the tool's use to mitigate the influence of misinformation regarding topics that are largely apolitical.

The February 2023 post titled "Course Correct Working To Help The Public Understand Accurate Information About Food Safety" focused largely on the dangers of misinformation regarding food and drug safety, like the consumption of raw milk and the practice of vaping.

Dhavan Shah, a collaborator on the project and the director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication's Mass Communication Research Center, was quoted in the September 2022 post as saying: "Challenges of misinformation are not restricted to elections and COVID or to a particular community; we see large volumes of false information circulating around product recalls, children's vaccines, and natural disasters, all of which our system could be adjusted to address."

In a subsequent email exchange in which The Fix asked Wagner whether there's a change in course for Course Correct given the contrast in the language of the grant abstracts and the more recent posts from UW-Madison, Wagner replied, "No."

Read the whole thing.

On the Boyscast a few months ago -- I think -- Kurt Metzger mentioned that there had been a law forbidding the US government to engage in Radio Free Europe style propaganda efforts against its own citizens.

But then the government repealed that law, permitting it to propagandize to Americans.

The government justified this by saying that they didn't want to actually propagandize to the US citizenry. It's just that they broadcast baseball games to Cuba through Radio Free Cuba, and some Americans can pick up on those signals in Florida or the Virgin Islands or whatever, and they don't want to be accused of propaganda over that. So please, they asked, repeal this ban on propagandizing the American people, just so we can broadcast baseball games. That's all we want to do, broadcast baseball games.

You... don't hate baseball, do you?

And now we see -- surprise surprise! -- they had more in mind than baseball.

I assumed that this repeal on the ban of government propaganda directed against the US populace happened under Bush. Sounds like something he'd do. The whole GOP was roused to do anything to "fight terrorism" then.

But nope! It happened in 2013 -- under Barack Obama, who is definitely a man who respects the American tradition of liberty.

U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News to Americans

For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government's mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences.

By John Hudson

July 14, 2013, 7:06 PM

For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government's mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts. So what just happened?

Until this month, a vast ocean of U.S. programming produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks could only be viewed or listened to at broadcast quality in foreign countries. The programming varies in tone and quality, but its breadth is vast: It's viewed in more than 100 countries in 61 languages. The topics covered include human rights abuses in Iran, self-immolation in Tibet, human trafficking across Asia, and on-the-ground reporting in Egypt and Iraq.

The restriction of these broadcasts was due to the Smith-Mundt Act, a long-standing piece of legislation that has been amended numerous times over the years, perhaps most consequentially by Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright. In the 1970s, Fulbright was no friend of VOA and Radio Free Europe, and moved to restrict them from domestic distribution, saying they "should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics." Fulbright's amendment to Smith-Mundt was bolstered in 1985 by Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky, who argued that such "propaganda" should be kept out of America as to distinguish the U.S. "from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity."

Zorinsky and Fulbright sold their amendments on sensible rhetoric: American taxpayers shouldn't be funding propaganda for American audiences. So did Congress just tear down the American public's last defense against domestic propaganda?

BBG spokeswoman Lynne Weil insists BBG is not a propaganda outlet, and its flagship services such as VOA "present fair and accurate news."

"They don't shy away from stories that don't shed the best light on the United States," she told The Cable. She pointed to the charters of VOA and RFE: "Our journalists provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate."

A former U.S. government source with knowledge of the BBG says the organization is no Pravda, but it does advance U.S. interests in more subtle ways. In Somalia, for instance, VOA serves as counterprogramming to outlets peddling anti-American or jihadist sentiment. "Somalis have three options for news," the source said, "word of mouth, al-Shabab, or VOA Somalia."

They seem to have more in mind than just making VOA available stateside. The government now routinely funds all kinds of propaganda efforts, and is involved in funding mass censorship efforts like Stanford's internet monitoring program.

But you know -- it was just about baseball.

Obama just loved baseball. And he only wanted to broadcast baseball games to poor Cubans. So he just wanted to propagandize about how good baseball is.

And how good experimental vaccines.

And how well and cleanly elections are run in Democrat cities.

And how good and right it is to say that "birthing people" can be male or female, and that "male" and "female" are just socially constructed lies forced on us by a Cisnormative White Male Patriarchy...

They just want to clean up all the dirty, filthy "misinformation" in people's heads. Just give those brains a good washing. You know?

digg this
posted by Ace at 02:23 PM

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