The Molding of Advice

Bureaucratic Power is often subtle! The sustained attention that bureaucrats can devote to specific problems gives them a decided advantage over other political officials who deal with a variety of problems and confronts each issue pf public policy only at sporadic intervals! This is particularly true in the United States because American bureaucrats specialize early and remain in the service of a particular agency throughout their careers! In addition, expertise the concentration of energy. Not only do bureaucrats focus their attention on specific problems but also remain in office for longer period than is customary for politicians.

Nothing contributes more to bureaucratic power than the ability of career officials to mold the views of other participants in the policy process. Bureaucrats are highly organized information and policy and advising systems. And the data they analyzed and transmit cannot help influence the way elected officials perceive political issues and events.

Herbert Simon believes the ability to shape the value or factual premises of decision makers is a means of insuring control of the decision themselves. What facts are presented which are left out and of course what is emphasized.
A political executive needs many sources of information and advice to function properly. This is often difficult in Law Enforcement and Intelligence.

During the 1960’s protests in the area of Civil Rights and Anti-War were prevalent. President Johnson wanted to know who was organizing and attending these demonstrations. FBI Director Hoover informed the President that the demonstration on the campuses and Universities were largely participated by Communist even though they may have initiated by others. There was a loose alliance among many groups but the Communist groups were very active in leading the demands!

Johnson was therefore given a highly exaggerated view of communist participation and leadership in the Anti-War movement. It is impossible to determine what the effect this may have had on the policy-making process. However, it appears that an individual such as the President would prefer to believe that the opposition of his policies is made up of individuals who are disloyal and prefer that U.S. fail rather than succeed with foreign adversaries. What is clear is that Johnson had not idea whether the factual information was accurate of not! The molding of advice can be subtle!

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