December 01, 2005

Same there as here: US buys good news

Bush administration exports its ethical standards to Iraq

Washington--U.S. Army officers have been secretly paying Iraqi journalists to produce upbeat newspaper, radio and television reports about American military operations and the conduct of the war in Iraq.

... Many military officials ... said they were concerned that the payments to Iraqi journalists and other covert information operations in Iraq had become so extensive that they were corroding the effort to build democracy and undermining U.S. credibility in Iraq. They also worry that information in the Iraqi press that's been planted or paid for by the U.S. military could "blow back" to the American public.

... On Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld hailed what he called the country's "free media," saying they were acting as "a relief valve" through which Iraqis have been engaging in democratic debate and dialogue.

... In addition to the Army's secret payments to Iraqi newspaper, radio and television journalists for positive stories, U.S. psychological-warfare officers have been involved in writing news releases and drafting media strategies for top commanders, two defense officials said.

... While the Pentagon's media campaign in Iraq harks back to CIA efforts in Italy, Greece and elsewhere after World War II to discredit communism and promote pro-Western ideas, it also reflects a widespread belief by some Bush administration officials that the news media are merely another interest group to be spun, influenced, bullied or, if necessary, bought or rented.

... "They don't represent the public any more than other people do," White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card once said, as quoted in The New Yorker magazine. "In our democracy, the people who represent the public stood for election. I don't believe you have a check-and-balance function."


Missouri Mule said...

Ani't this the chits. Kinda like the pot calling the kettle black, eh?

aikane said...

Yeah -- and don't forget, W is so much better for Iraq than Sadam was. After all, the evil Hitler Saddam told lies, suppressed the truth, and killed thousands of his enemies. Ain't it wonderful to have a godly man doing the same thing now?