Sunday, August 16, 2009

Up your GONGO, M8!

Or if you prefer to call them by the accurate and damning descriptor, “Government Organized Non-Governmental Organizations”. Their purpose? To make the public love policies that were not initiated by the public, among other things, and the EU is one of the biggest violators of the trust of good governance in this respect, according to the TIMBRO think tank.

Further European integration is a practical political ideal, and many powerful European leaders dream of a united and strong Europe to offset such global powers as the United States and China. Yet Europe’s citizens are conflicted when it comes to further political and economic integration, and have consistently voted down referenda that would move Europe in this direction.

To bridge this gap, the EU launched a communications effort to burnish the image of European cooperation. It includes traditional printed materials such as books, leaflets and brochures, but also encompasses television, radio, training programs for journalists and legislation designed to give the EU a facelift. More, efforts are underway to create a common European identity in the hopes of building support for closer economic and political cooperation. These activities extend beyond the normal realm of factual information, treading dangerously close to propaganda.
Which is quite true when you look at most media, where goings on in Brussels are clearly being reported from deep in the heart of a broadly emailed press release. The problem with this kind of uncritical tripe being promoted to Europeans is that a great many of them have a history of eventually accepting it at face value until they find themselves trying to find the truth in either tea leaves or rumors and conspiracy theories.

TIMBRO’s Director, Maria Rankka indicated quite plainly that there’s a dishonesty to it, if not a violation of that supposedly sacred social contract going on as well:
"The EU, at the tax-payers' expense, actively advocates more European integration and prevents free debate on the future of Europe, extending the limits of what we normally regard as communication," the study says.
Some of the stuff even looks like it’s meant to produce a conditioned response.
In one striking example, the report notes that schools keen to benefit from Brussels' €69 million a year free milk scheme must display an A3-format poster outside their canteens showing the EU flag and stating that EU money paid for the drink.

Brussels is currently rolling out a similar-scale free fruit project.
Or anything else for that matter. But what seems to be lacking here is the widespread sense that there is something wrong with selling something hard when 1) you either don’t have to, or 2) knowing that support isn’t what you want it to be; but going on to try to say that it’s also quite magically also a government by and for the people.

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