Washington, DC — August 18, 2011
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it obtained documents from the Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) showing that the Obama White House helped coordinate a multimillion dollar taxpayer-funded campaign to use Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo to drive web traffic to a government website promoting the Affordable Health Care Act (also known as Obamacare). The expressed purpose of this campaign is to increase public support for the president’s health care overhaul among key Obama campaign demographics, specifically Hispanics, blacks, and women.
The 2,328 pages of records, obtained by Judicial Watch pursuant to a March 23, 2011, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 11-608)), include internal correspondence between officials at the HHS office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA), as well as communications with representatives from The Ogilvy Group, the public relations firm hired by the Obama administration to manage the Obamacare campaign. The following are highlights from the documents:
- The Obama HHS launched a campaign to track Internet searches and to use online search engines such as Google and Yahoo to drive traffic to a government website promoting Obama’s healthcare overhaul. Using “pay-per-click” advertising tools, such as Google Adwords, HHS purposely targeted for influence people searching the term “Obamacare,” a word that has been described as “disparaging” by political agents of the president. One HHS email details:
A few keyword groups continue to be top performers, and have subsequently driven most of the traffic to the campaign websites:
- Affordable Care Act, including such terms as health care reform, government health insurance, Obamacare, and affordable care act.
- Health Insurance Group, including terms as health insurance.
- Health Care Group, including terms as health care.
While other keyword groups have not performed as well, and are not driving significant traffic to the campaign websites:
- Health Insurance, Health insurance options, Medical Insurance, and Insurance companies
- According to a budget summary prepared by Ogilvy, from October 2010 through February 2011, the Obama administration spent $1,435,009 on these online advertisements alone, including advertising campaigns with Google and Yahoo, almost $300,000 per month.
- According to a December 10, 2010, email from Margo Gillman, Senior VP of Ogilvy Public Relations to Jenny Backus, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and the Principal Deputy for Strategy and Planning for HHS, the Obama White House was involved in coordinating the HHS propaganda campaign:
read the full story at Judicial Watch
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