The Public Information Committee - Area 62

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The Committee is composed of 11 members, 5 from government and 6 from the public. The five government members are the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of State, whose office acts as secretariat for the Committee, the Commissioner of General Services, the Director of the Budget, and one elected local government official appointed by the Governor. Of the six public members, at least two must be or have been representatives of the news media.

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Anti-German propaganda fuelled support for the war, but it also contributed to intolerance on the home front. Dachshunds were renamed liberty dogs, German measles were renamed liberty measles, and the City University of New York reduced by one credit every course in German. Fourteen states banned the speaking of German in public schools. The military adversary was thousands of miles away, but German-Americans provided convenient local scapegoats. In Van Houten, New Mexico, an angry mob accused an immigrant miner of supporting Germany and forced him to kneel before them, kiss the flag, and shout "To hell with the Kaiser." In Illinois, a group of zealous patriots accused Robert Prager, a German coal miner, of hoarding explosives. Though Prager asserted his loyalty to the very end, he was lynched by the angry mob. Explosives were never found.

A particularly effective strategy for demonizing Germans was the use of atrocity stories. "A handy rule for arousing hate," said Lasswell "is, if at first they do not enrage, use an atrocity. It has been employed with unvarying success in every conflict known to man." Unlike the pacifist, who argues that all wars are brutal, the atrocity story implies that war is only brutal when practiced by the enemy. Certain members of the CPI were relatively cautious about repeating unsubstantiated allegations, but the committee's publications often relied on dubious material. After the war, Edward Bernays, who directed CPI propaganda efforts in Latin America, openly admitted that his colleagues used alleged atrocities to provoke a public outcry against Germany. Some of the atrocity stories which were circulated during the war, such as the one about a tub full of eyeballs or the story of the seven-year old boy who confronted German soldiers with a wooden gun, were actually recycled from previous conflicts. In his seminal work on wartime propaganda, Lasswell speculated that atrocity stories will always be popular because the audience is able to feel self-righteous indignation toward the enemy, and, at some level, identify with the perpetrators of the crimes. "A young woman, ravished by the enemy," he wrote "yields secret satisfaction to a host of vicarious ravishers on the other side of the border."


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(c) Each state agency that maintains a website shall post information related to this article and article six-A of this chapter on its website. Such information shall include, at a minimum, contact information for the persons from whom records of the agency may be obtained, the times and places such records are available for inspection and copying, and information on how to request records in person, by mail, and, if the agency accepts requests for records electronically, by e-mail. This posting shall be linked to the website of the committee on open government.

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The regulations also state that the public shall continue to have access to records through officials who have been authorized previously to make information available.

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i. furnish to any agency advisory guidelines, opinions or other appropriate information regarding this article;
ii. furnish to any person advisory opinions or other appropriate information regarding this article;
iii. promulgate rules and regulations with respect to the implementation of subdivision one and paragraph (c) of subdivision three of section eighty-seven of this article;
iv. request from any agency such assistance, services and information as will enable the committee to effectively carry out its powers and duties; and
v. develop a form, which shall be made available on the internet, that may be used by the public to request a record; and
vi. report on its activities and findings regarding articles six and seven of this chapter, including recommendations for changes in the law, to the governor and the legislature annually, on or before December fifteenth.

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Designation of records access officer
Under the Committee’s regulations, each agency must appoint one or more persons as records access officer. The records access officer has the duty of coordinating an agency’s response to public requests for records in a timely fashion. In addition, the records access officer is responsible for ensuring that agency personnel assist in identifying records sought, make the records promptly available or deny access in writing, provide copies of records or permit you to make copies, certifying that a copy is a true copy and, if the records cannot be found, certify either that the agency does not have possession of the requested records or that the agency does have the records, but they cannot
be found after diligent search.