Pence’s Pravda

Sometimes, the jokes just write themselves…

And they’ve been coming hot and heavy since Governor Pence announced his “news” bureau. Some of the best have been transmitted through twitter feeds with hashtags like “Just_IN_News” and “PencePravda.” Representative tweets: “Today’s top stories include a profile on Governor Pence’s barber, and a new study showing that in 2014, IEDC created all the jobs” and “@GovChristie you should start a state – run wire service too. I’ve already got a name for it: News Jersey.”

Matt Tully had some fun, too, suggesting how the Governor’s new “news bureau” might have covered past activities:

Take the governor’s mind-boggling decision in October to turn his back on an all-but guaranteed $80 million federal grant that could have funded preschool programs for thousands of low-income Indiana children. The likely Pence Propaganda Service headline: “Governor generously steers $80 million federal grant to the children of Iowa.”

On a more serious note, we might take this as yet another outpost on the unexplored frontier we all inhabit following the departure of most real journalism. Think of it as a new way station on the road to a brave new age of propaganda. Or, as an email blast from the Indiana Democratic party put it, just another manifestation of authoritarianism from the party of “limited” government:

From the party that tells you who to love, how to worship, and that science is bad, Governor Pence now wants to tell you what is and is not news.

This brazen attempt to fill the growing void of credible reporting with manufactured “news” is jaw dropping. Until this, I really thought Faux News was as low as we could go….

The one bright spot in this exercise has been the public’s reaction, which has been–how  shall I put it?– less than positive. The blowback has now caused Pence to protest (unconvincingly) that the whole thing has been a big misunderstanding. To which a wag onTwitter responded:

“Gov Pence today trademarked the phrase “understandable misunderstanding”. T-shirts & mugs with the slogan soon for sale at #JustIN store.”



  1. Where to start… It may be a misunderstanding, but the fact that the Gov even thought of it speaks volumes about how we’re “governed”.

  2. The old joke was that there was no pravda in isvestia and no isvestia in pravda. They were two Soviet era newspapers, Truth (Pravda) and the News (Izvestia). Same would go for Putin Pence’s Pravda.

  3. If you have your own propaganda machine, its all about how you spin it.

    After all, deflating footballs is not cheating, its gaining a competitive advantage.

  4. There was a time in the history of humanity where mythology was the rule and knowledge the exception. Times when knowledge was a dream and dreams were all that was available.

    Of course human curiosity rebelled at that and we skittered about for mellenia latching on to knowledge of every corner of the Universe and replaced mythology with incomplete, always, but reliable repeatable insight into, well, everything.

    Here’s the thing about knowledge though. It’s sort of random and decidedly unloyal to any cause. It is what it is, not what any of us might want it to be.

    Oh, dear. How does one profit from that? My gizmos may be supported by it today but rejected by it tomorrow. Fossil fuels as an example. Hero to villain in the flash of a century.

    Fortunately for the power and profit addicted the Curator had kept the records of mythology in the storeroom and was able to dust them off and repackage them in more contemporary garb and, voila, brand marketing was born.

    Leading of course to the rebirth of religions based on mytholigy. The Great Oligarchy Plot is a fine example. Worship of Golden Goats and such based on the notion that in some obscure and abstract area of life hell must be paid for those disloyal to the Goat.

    In today’s reincarnation the priesthood of Koch and Trump and Norquist and Boehner supported by their minions like Pence and Perry and Walker have also requested the Curator to bring from the closet the tried and true mythology of human sacrifice.

    Of course the worldwide shortage of virgins has required some rule adjustments in the mythology. Now the qualification to be involved but not committed to life ending sacrifice is that one be white, male, Christian, or more fundamentally of European Aristocratic Descent, and baptized of, for, and by, the G.O.P.

    Progress. The glorious return of the Crest of Mumbo and Jumbo showing slaves cowering at the feet of their masters.

    As god always intended. Hail the god of European Aristocracy. Keepers of the Myth.

  5. Pence’s “understandable misunderstanding” is gathering a lot of free publicity on his hopeful road to the presidency. He is just devious enough to have planned this public outcry and the statement, “He said he had little knowledge of what his staff had been working on…” is geared (in his mind) to absolve him of any wrongdoing regarding this asinine idea. His denials will put him in good stead with Republican voters and, I’m sure he hopes the Koch brothers are watching…and reading:)

  6. His eye is not on the presidency. Remember that Indiana is the home of the VPOTUS. He sees himself as a shot in 2024. Usually, Dems don’t see that far ahead.

  7. This is Pence’s new jobs bill… I’m sure that he will hire two or three people for the duration.
    Apparently he is not only capable of double speak but feels that in the name of limited government we must duplicate everything in government – first he’s basically rewritten every federal program in order to claim that he’s developed his own programs for schools, health, etc. Then there was the Center for Education fiasco that cost the taxpayers a million or so… now a news bureau – doesn’t the governor’s office already have staff to write press releases?

  8. Let’s see – some guy starts his own news outlet to spread lies , deceit , and political propaganda . Who does that ??????????????????

  9. This is a wonderful opportunity. The “service” wants you to thing that they are combining the “news”into one place. Some of it is true, but a lot will be slanted and some written to take our attentions off the really big stories. Some good journalists will get together, form a blog, or publish a newsletter designed to inform the public on all the junk that is in Governor Pence’s letter. Sort of like the bad guy and then his good side. Then whoever gets the “official” document can get the second one, too, and then compare them. Glad the Governor thought of it.

  10. Hired ex Star people to pull off this stunt. The tragedy lies in the fact that he thought you were too dumb to notice. Incompetence in high places. The arrogance of ignorance.

  11. Earl, excellent statement with strong support. The support comes in the history of ideologues in power. To begin with, they believe that the ends always justifies the means, and that their “ends” are more important than anyone else’s “ends”. That means they begin to think that they can do and say whatever they please without consequences because they are so much more important and brighter than the common peasants. Then they get careless and do or say something illegal, forgetting that the common peasants also listen and know the law. Then they get caught and go to jail, despite the claim that “my faith in God will deliver me” or “justice is on my side”, or some sort of hogwash. Same story has happened hundreds of times, but they never learn, because they are so narcissistic that they also think that they know everything and are much too clever to get caught. I’m thinking about Tony Bennett as well as the long line of Illinois governors right now, but I’ll bet the readers can think of dozens more. You KNOW that’s where this bunch is headed. Just not soon enough. I’m afraid they will leave it in shambles.

  12. “Little knowledge of what his staff had been working on?”

    Let’s see, Ronald Reagan tried that line in the Iran/Contra affair (what WAS
    that crazy Oliver North up to down in the basement?), and a certain
    New Jersey governor with a bridge problem has attempted that approach
    more recently.

    The problem is, there are only two possibilities in these situations:
    Either the chief executive
    knew what his staff was up to — and hence was responsible — or did NOT
    know — and therefore was providing incompetent leadership.

    Either way, the Gov. has stepped in it, and the smell is rising…

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