The US military & the Iraqi press

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  • Thread starter Art
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  • #1
Art
It appears that the US military whilst contracting out 'killing' to private contractors are taking upon themselves new duties in the field of journalism.

Apart from it's legality being highly suspect is it right that the U.S., whilst expounding upon the greatness of democracy to the point they have travelled 1000s of miles to impose it by force on a small country in the M.E., should then undermine one of democracy's basic pillars, the free press, by using them to run their covert psychological operations campaigns?

It's astonishing just how far off the beaten path the US government has wandered in only a few years.
US paying Iraqi press to run favourable stories
By Mark Mazzetti and Borzou Daragahi
Published: November 30 2005 08:16 | Last updated: November 30 2005 08:16
As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.
The articles, written by U.S. military “information operations” troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
snip
The Lincoln Group’s Iraqi staff, or its subcontractors, sometimes pose as freelance reporters or advertising executives when they deliver the stories to Baghdad media outlets.
The military’s effort to disseminate propaganda in the Iraqi media is taking place even as U.S. officials are vowing to promote democratic principles, political transparency and freedom of speech to a country emerging from decades of dictatorship and corruption. It comes as the State Department is training Iraqi reporters in basic journalism skills and Western media ethics, including one workshop titled “The Role of Press in a Democratic Society.”
snip
U.S. law forbids the military from carrying out psychological operations or planting propaganda with American media outlets. Yet several officials said that given the globalization of media driven by the Internet and the 24-hour news cycle, the Pentagon’s efforts are carried out with the knowledge that coverage in the foreign press inevitably “bleeds” into the Western media and influences coverage in U.S. news outlets.
The full article is available here http://news.ft.com/cms/s/3ca72216-6179-11da-8470-0000779e2340.html

Have Bush's supporters in the US any clue as to what this type of behaviour is doing to the US's standing in the world community or do they just not care?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
67
165
This is just par for the course for the Bush administration. If they don't like the news, they just make up their own, even in Iraq.

The current administrations washing machine only has a spin cycle.
 
  • #3
devil-fire
at least they arnt taking the approach of just killing reporters who's writings paint a negative picture of americans in iraq. apparently aljaziera offices buildings where bombed some time ago
 
  • #4
Art
Bush appears to be claiming ignorance as his defence. Perhaps he should speak with his colleagues Rumsfeld and Cheney. I'm pretty sure they could fill him in;
Bush concern at Iraq 'propaganda'
Iraqis will wonder whether they should trust what papers say
The White House has expressed concern over reports that the US military is planting favourable stories about Iraq in the Baghdad press.
"We are seeking more information from the Pentagon," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
The reports, originally carried by the Los Angeles Times, said the Pentagon was secretly paying Iraqi papers to run articles praising US and Iraqi troops.
Many stories are being presented as independent accounts, the paper said.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4490324.stm
 
  • #5
288
0
The Pentagon has seemed more and more independent from the white house, to me, than I realized in the past. Hasn't independence of the Pentagon from normal rules of conduct, been invoked as an explanation for some of their recent behaviors? It wouldn't surprise me, anymore, if we have a branch of defense that is free to do whatever it wants. Blech.

Also, the story reminds me of the pre-packaged new segments that Bush etc had aired, a year or two or three (or all) ago.

Prepackaged news stories, sometimes known as video news releases, have become an increasingly common public relations tool among government agencies and in industry. They are designed to resemble broadcast news stories, complete with narrators who can be easily mistaken for reporters and suggested introductory language for TV anchors to read. Some news organizations have run them without changes and without identifying them as government-produced.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40318-2005Feb20.html

There were negative repercussions due to these segments. Hopefully the same will hold for the propaganda spread in Iraq.
 

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