Monday, December 26, 2005

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword

Sort of. It seems you have to pay and supervise if you want to get it just right.

Bloggers, Money Now Weapons in Information War
Roggio's arrival in Iraq comes amid what military commanders and analysts say is an increasingly aggressive battle for control over information about the conflict. Scrutiny of what the Pentagon calls information operations heightened late last month, when news reports revealed that the U.S. military was paying Iraqi journalists and news organizations to publish favorable stories written by soldiers, sometimes without disclosing the military's role in producing them.
"I am convinced that information operations from both sides are increasing and intensifying. I think both sides are beginning to understand that this struggle will be waged in both the kinetic and informational realms, but that the latter is the decisive area of operations," wrote Daniel Kuehl, a professor at the National Defense University in Washington who specializes in information operations. "The insurgents target several audiences, including the Islamic world and the American populace." In addition, the military has paid money to try to place favorable coverage on television stations in three Iraqi cities, according to an Army spokesman, Maj. Dan Blanton. The military, said Blanton, has given one of the stations about $35,000 in equipment, is building a new facility for $300,000 and pays $600 a week for a weekly program that focuses positively on U.S. efforts in Iraq. The names of the city and the television station are being withheld because the producer of the show said he and his staff would be seen as collaborators and endangered if identified.
A local U.S. Army National Guard commander acknowledged that his officers "suggest" stories to the station and review the content of the program in a weekly meeting before it is aired. Though the commander, a lieutenant colonel whose name is being withheld because he is based in the same area, denied that payments were made to the station, the Iraqi television producer said his staff got $1,000 a month from the military. It does not disclose any financial relationship to viewers. There was no explanation of the discrepancy between that amount and the figure of $600 per week provided by Blanton. "The coalition forces support us," said the producer, who added that while the U.S. military reviews each program, "they don't change anything."
But he also said military commanders suggest stories, often about U.S. reconstruction projects or community efforts by the military. He acknowledged that the program portrays American military projects in a positive light.
The commander said: "We want a free and independent press. We found this small little TV [station] and asked if they are able to work with us. Our only guide to them is to tell our story, good or bad."

All the news that's fit to print, after it has been checked for "accuracy"(am I supposed to be speaking another language?). If you don't like the way the news is going, find a station that will do it your way appears to be our modus operandi.

Ethics, principles and morals are in short supply lately. It seems that you can lie about everything except a blowjob and get away with it. Show me the money.

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