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Freeing SpeechThe Constitutional War over National Security$
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John Denvir

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814720141

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814720141.001.0001

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(p.33) 2 The Manufacture of Consent

(p.33) 2 The Manufacture of Consent

(p.33) 2 The Manufacture of Consent
Freeing Speech

John Denvir

NYU Press

This chapter examines the implications of the power of presidential speech for national security and for democratic government more generally. The president has a right to communicate his views on both domestic and foreign policy issues, but the modern presidency does not simply make its views known; he dominates the discussion. Presidential speech is a part of the larger issue of government propaganda that has been problematic for democracy since the beginning of the twentieth century. This chapter first traces the history of how presidential speech became a problem for national security before discussing various responses to the danger it presents. In particular, it considers the power of presidential rhetoric and how presidential speech has been used to sell national security policies to the public, including the invasion of Iraq. It then explores how presidential speech can undermine democratic deliberation on national security issues, whether the use of presidential speech is constitutional, and how it can be exploited to spread disinformation.

Keywords:   presidential speech, national security, president, foreign policy, government propaganda, democracy, presidential rhetoric, Iraq, democratic deliberation, disinformation

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