Money down the toilet

There is something sick at the heart of American “democracy”:

“The Bush administration spent at least $1.6 billion on public relations and advertising campaigns over 30 months, according to a report released Monday by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

“The report, requested by congressional Democrats, shows that government agencies are relying on outside consultants to help pitch their messages to the public, whether it’s to bolster public support for the war in Iraq, deter buying prescription drugs from Canada or recruit for the armed forces.

“‘To communicate these messages to the general public or particular target audiences, departments contract with media-related vendors…for a wide range of services, including communication plans, marketing design strategies, public relations campaigns, public service announcements and educational materials,’ according to the report.”

The situation is little different in Australia. The Howard government intends to spend millions this year promoting its planned overhaul of Medicare. The Victorian government is no better, and it is therefore time to enforce greater scrutiny of public funds. If political parties had to fund advertising themselves, rest assured we wouldn’t be as bombarded with propaganda masquerading as “education.”