The American people often complain that the government “isn’t listening.” The Obama administration continually proves it is listening intently to every word uttered about it, and monitoring the speakers. The latest outrage involves the federal government awarding $18,000 in taxpayer dollars to John Brooks Rice to monitor media coverage of Obama’s handling of the BP oil spill. Rice watched news reports from May to July on behalf of Obama, noting whether reporters portrayed his boss in a positive or negative light.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) doled out the cash to Rich via a no-bid contract, the very tool Democrats criticized Republicans for using in Iraq. Now that the program has been exposed, Obama is trying to shove the cost off onto BP. The Associated Press reports, “The Coast Guard expects BP to reimburse the $18,000, Coast Guard spokesman Capt. Ron LaBrec said.” (The government could also have gotten a better deal; Hot Air has more details.)
Those details are virtually all Obama administration officials have given the media. Rice refused to hand over “copies of his reports rating the tone of news stories,” claiming he had already deleted them. Although the AP filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all the documents Rice produced, it “hasn’t received them.” However, Rice told reporters, “From reading and watching the media I would create reports. I reported either positive coverage, negative coverage, [or] misinformation coverage.”
The word “misinformation” sounds an eerily familiar tone. Earlier this week, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius warned insurance companies to stop peddling “misinformation” that ObamaCare caused insurance rate hikes. It does not matter that this is transparently true; Obama admitted Friday, “We didn’t think that we were going to cover 30 million people for free.” Even the dependably liberal shill Time magazine noted the “overt nature” of Sebelius’ “threat,” extorting insurers that if they continue to exercise their First Amendment right to state the obvious, Obama would shut them out of state insurance exchanges — and possibly the insurance industry altogether — by 2014.
The Obama administration was also keen to monitor “misinformation” when it unveiled flag@WhiteHouse.gov. The White House website asked American snitchizens to e-mail the feds any information “about health insurance reform that seems fishy.”
Congressman Darrell Issa has exposed how this is part of Barack Obama’s systematic, comprehensive, and possibly illegal use of covert, taxpayer-funded propaganda. His 36-page report uncovered numerous instances of potentially impeachable offenses. In one relevant example, Obama spent tax dollars to hire Tracy Russo, a former blogger for John Edwards, to comment on internet articles or bulletin board messages that criticized his adminsitration or agenda, often anonymously. (You can read his full report here.) He attempted to enroll National Endowment for the Arts grant recipients and Hollywood liberals in the push for his agenda.
His Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) “highly recommended” states receiving stimulus funds post highway signs lauding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Obama’s $787 billion stimulus, along construction areas. Some of these advertisements for big government cost up to $10,000 each.
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