In the age of pervasive media, the primary method of social control is through the creation of narratives delivered to the public through various forms of communication. This reality has given rise to an obsession among the power elite to control as much messaging as possible. The Pentagon’s efforts to spin news of its response to the Puerto Rico emergency situation were revealed when a reporter was accidentally included in a string of emails. Christopher Flavelle, is a Bloomberg climate reporter, has claimed that he was added to an internal email list in late September. Both the Defense Department and Federal Emergency Management Agency discussed plans to frame its disaster relief response in Puerto Rico in a positive light.
Flavelle alerted officials after receiving the first email, however, he still continued to receive the emails for five days. Flavelle published a bloomberg story in which he wrote: “Those messages, each of which was marked ‘unclassified,’ offer a glimpse into the federal government’s struggle to convince the public that the response effort was going well. That struggle was compounded by the commander-in-chief, and eased only when public attention was pulled to a very different disaster.” Below are passages from the emails:
Sept. 28: Eight days after Maria hit, coverage of the federal government’s response is getting more negative.
The Government Message: Pentagon officials tell staff to emphasize “coverage of life-saving/life-sustaining operations” and for spokespeople to avoid language about awaiting instructions from FEMA, “as that goes against the teamwork top-line message.”
Sept. 29: San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz criticizes Washington’s spin, calling Puerto Rico a “people-are-dying story.”
The Government Message: FEMA talking points ignore Cruz, instructing its officials to say that “the federal government’s full attention is on Hurricane Maria response.”
Sept. 30: Trump attacks the mayor’s “poor leadership ability.” The Pentagon worries that Trump’s “dialogue” with Cruz is becoming the story, with “many criticizing his lack of empathy.”
The Government Message: FEMA stresses its success in reaching “all municipalities in Puerto Rico.”
Oct. 1: Trump calls critics of the response “politically motivated ingrates.”
The Government Message: Defense staff admit that “the perception of USG response continues to be negative.” Spokespeople are told to say, “I am very proud of our DOD forces,” before conceding “there are some challenges to work through.”
Oct. 2: The massacre in Las Vegas dominates the headlines.
The Government Message: The shooting “has drawn mainstream TV attention away from Puerto Rico response,” FEMA says. Still, the roundup seems to have lost some of its previous optimism. It concludes, simply: “Negative tonality.”
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I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here