I love the Stimulus.
Really, I do.
As a columnist, it is the gift that keeps on giving. If I ever run out of topics, all I need to do is wait a bit and some new example of federal blockheadery will bubble to the surface like an ancient french fry in an abandoned grease trap.
There is an old saying that to make money, you have to spend money. But as I am sure you are all aware, when it comes to the Obama Administration, to spend money, you have to spend money.
The latest example of Your Tax Dollars With Jerks was been brought to light by Jim McElhatton at the Times, who points out that the Department of Labor made use of stimulus money not to build roads , DSL lines, high-speed rail or even to purchase nifty purple signs to convince us what a great idea the stimulus was.
No, the DOL used stimulus money to purvey more left wing balloon juice on MSNBC, specifically on Rachel Maddow’s and Keith Olbermann’s programs. I know what you’re saying: “Who is this Keith Olbermann that he’s talking about?” Olbermann was a guy who had a show on MSNBC and he…oh never mind. Actually once upon a time, I was among the ten or so people who tuned into to watch him every night. But that is another story.
In 2009, The DOL spent about 495 grand with a public relations firm to run commercials during the shows that touted among other things, green jobs in attempt to raise awareness among employers and job seekers alike of “high growth environmentally friendly career areas.” You know, like Solyndra.
Number of jobs created: zero.
And to top it all off, the ads ran on MSNBC on two programs already devoting the bulk of their time to waving the Obanner. Holy Infomercial Batman! So nobody picked up a shovel, whether the project in question was ready or not. Nobody earned a dollar, went back to school, paid on a mortgage, or even bought a Dilly Bar. But the American people instead footed the bill for a series of ads that ran within another series of ads. You didn’t see anything for your money. You didn’t even get a bridge to nowhere.
The times pinged McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations LLC about running the ads on MSNBC and got a “no comment: but the DOL has stood by the decision to place the ads on the network adding that…wait for it… the decision to run the ads on MSNBC was not politically motivated. I’ll give you a second to recover from that before I throw the next punch line at you.
They didn’t run the ads on PBS because it was too expensive. Yes, you read that correctly. PBS, the allegedly free television network wanted to charge the federal government too much money to run the spots. This is the same PBS which shrieks like Big Bird on amphetamines when anyone suggests that its taxpayer funding be cut. I have to admit I’m at a loss to understand that since the ads were ultimately paid for by “support from viewers like you”, which is the standard catchphrase on the Subsidize Me Elmo Network.
One might speculate even the DOL knew that spending money with a network it subsidizes would have raised hackles and eyebrows so it ran the cash through a PR firm to give the effort some legitimacy, and opted for its other Administration-friendly network. And as a sidebar-if PBS’s ad rates are so high, why are they having pledge drives every other month? Non-profit television shouldn’t even have ad rates, theoretically.
Bottom line: the Administration took money that was supposed to put Americans back to work, and spent it on hyping its own jobs vision. And it did so on a network that was already advertising for it for free. You can’t by publicity like that, but it seems the Administration was determined to try.