by WorldTribune Staff, January 12, 2017
As Americans celebrated the Christmas season, President Barack Obama quietly authorized the military spending budget for 2017.
Included and buried deep in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, and not mentioned by the president in his official statement after signing it, was the Counter Disinformation and Anti-Propaganda Act, which will criminalize “fake news” on the Internet.
The new law “will allow the government to crack down with impunity against any media outlet it deems ‘propaganda,’ ” Aaron Kesel wrote for wearechange.org on Dec. 24. “The next piece of the legislation will provide substantial amounts of money to fund ‘counter propaganda,’ to make sure the government’s approved stories drown out alternative media and journalists who question the status quo. In other words the stage is now set for the U.S. government to legally crack down on every media outlet that the they deem to be ‘foreign propaganda.’
“The Ministry of Truth is set up. Welcome to 1984.”
Also called the Countering Information Warfare Act of 2016 (S. 2692), when introduced in March by Sen. Rob Portman, the legislation represents a dramatic return to Cold War-era government propaganda battles.
“These countries spend vast sums of money on advanced broadcast and digital media capabilities, targeted campaigns, funding of foreign political movements, and other efforts to influence key audiences and populations,” Portman said, adding that while the U.S. spends a relatively small amount on its Voice of America, the Kremlin provides enormous funding for its news organization, RT.
“Surprisingly,” Portman continued, “there is currently no single U.S. governmental agency or department charged with the national level development, integration and synchronization of whole-of-government strategies to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation.”
The new law would task the secretary of state with coordinating the secretary of defense, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors to “establish a Center for Information Analysis and Response,” which will pinpoint sources of disinformation, analyze data, and “develop and disseminate fact-based narratives” to counter propaganda.
In short, long before “fake news” became a major media topic, the U.S. government was already planning its legally-backed crackdown on anything it would eventually label “fake news.”