The federal government spends more than $1 billion each year producing propaganda to promote everything from Obamacare to the Post Office. But the most significant portion of taxpayer funds used for propaganda goes to the Pentagon.
That’s according to a new report out from the Government Accountability Office, which reveals that the Pentagon accounted for a whopping 60 percent of government public relations spending between 2006 and 2015.
Of the 5,000 public relations professionals employed by the federal government, about 40 percent work for the Pentagon.
The new GAO report is light on details about the Pentagon’s specific PR expenditures— but other recent news items provide an idea of where all the PR money goes at home and abroad.
Reports last week revealed that the Pentagon paid a British PR firm more than half a billion dollars to run a propaganda program in Iraq.
As The Daily Beast reported:
Bell Pottinger’s output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee.
The agency’s staff worked alongside high-ranking U.S. military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters as the insurgency raged outside.
Bell Pottinger’s former chairman Lord Tim Bell confirmed to the Sunday Times, which has worked with the Bureau on this story, that his firm had worked on a “covert” military operation “covered by various secrecy documents.”
Bell Pottinger reported to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the National Security Council on its work in Iraq, he said.
Bell, one of Britain’s most successful public relations executives, is credited with honing Margaret Thatcher’s steely image and helping the Conservative party win three elections. The agency he co-founded has had a roster of clients including repressive regimes and Asma al-Assad, the wife of the Syrian president.
And back in 2008, The New York Times revealed that the military “experts” interviewed on major cable news channels are often paid Pentagon stooges.