Friday, December 02, 2005

Goooooo Team Democracy!

Not enough good news in Iraq? No problem, we'll just plant our own:

U.S. Military Covertly Pays to Run Stories in Iraqi Press
WASHINGTON — 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.

Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country.

Though the articles are basically factual, they present only one side of events and omit information that might reflect poorly on the U.S. or Iraqi governments, officials said. Records and interviews indicate that the U.S. has paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of such articles, with headlines such as "Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism," since the effort began this year.

The operation is designed to mask any connection with the U.S. military. The Pentagon has a contract with a small Washington-based firm called Lincoln Group, which helps translate and place the stories. 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 pledging to promote democratic principles, political transparency and freedom of speech in a country emerging from decades of dictatorship and corruption.

See also Knight Ridder's U.S. military pays Iraqis for positive news stories on war.

Periodically, I find myself having the urge to move to the Upper Peninsula and join one of those paranoid militias that stockpiles weapons and makes plans to fight the Federal Government. Luckily, I always manage to fend off these ridiculous notions. Hearing about stuff like this sure makes it hard, though.


Becka said...

I go back and forth between the UP and Idaho. Both are beautiful, and equally full of crazy militia types. Though Michigan has Lake Superior, which is, by far, one of the most awesome lakes this world has to offer. But Idaho has mountains. Real mountains.

No, no. . .must. . .not. . .go. . .crazy. . .

Anonymous said...

i just don't care enough about stuff to move all that way...

former five souther

Cath said...

I was about to leave a comment saying "best stay where you are...the UP is a lot colder than San Diego" but when I saw Becka's comment, I knew I was wrong. The northern country, though colder, is far superior (no lake-related pun intended). (That's why I'm trying to STAY HERE!). Do it Dave! Do it!

Cath said...

This comment has nothing to do with this post, but if I was a blogger, I would want to know this. Did you know that Voldemort is a Republican, and that he's running for office? I saw one of those "Republican's for Voldemort" bumper stickers...on a car in the Awana parking lot of all places...the very last place on earth you would think to see a joke about Republicans OR Voldemort. I pointed it out to a few friends, who had never heard of Voldemort, and they said "yes, I can't remember what he's running for."

Also Dave, its about time you blog about the whole war on Christmas thing. You can just paste my words if you want, since I don't have my own page to rant on. :)

Dave said...


I've seen that bumper stick. Funny stuff.

"War on Christmas?" Hmmm...I'm not sure I want to touch that one. I might consider writing something if the spirit takes me (the spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge, that is!).