Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I wondered why, a few months ago, we were suddenly seeing a barrage of well-produced public-service announcements promoting 1-800-MEDICARE as an information source. Now I know:

Just two days after the White House proposed serious budget cuts and the President said he's "calling upon Congress to be wise with the taxpayer's money," ... the White House will use $9.5 million from the Department of Health and Human Services – money that is supposed to be used to implement the law and could go to restore some of the cuts to social services for the poor – on political commercials that "rebut criticism of the new Medicare law." ...

The new Medicare ads urge citizens to call 1-800-MEDICARE to hear more about the new law....

So the Bushies were setting us up to regard this phone number as a benign source of friendly information, and now they've turned it (at least in part) into a tax-funded political propaganda unit.

(Though it's hard to imagine that it'll be a particularly successful one, if, as the link reports, you have to shout "Medicare improvement" into the phone in order to hear the propaganda. Hey, schmucks, if you want to use Orwellian doublespeak, use it yourselves -- but don't think you're going to make it sink in by forcing us proles to use it.)

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