The U.S. military command in Baghdad acknowledged for the
first time yesterday that it has paid Iraqi newspapers to carry
positive news about U.S. efforts in Iraq, but officials characterized
the payments as part of a legitimate campaign to counter insurgents’
In a statement, the command said the
program included efforts, “customary in Iraq,” to purchase advertising
and place clearly labeled opinion pieces in Iraqi newspapers. But the
statement suggested that the “information operations” program may have
veered into a gray area where government contractors paid to have
articles placed in Iraqi newspapers without explaining that the
material came from the U.S. military and that Iraqi journalists were
paid to write positive accounts.
Ok so now we learn that the Bush boys do propaganda? As if we needed to be told! It fits the model that this war seems to have produced.
I’m getting heartily sick of government paid content. Especially in so-called democracies. Makes me grateful for blogging and for not owning a television. I really don’t think Orwell’s view of the world is as far fetched now as it was in say 1984. Ok so he was a couple of decades out.
The scary thing here is that buying comment practise – the same thing that may or may not be investigated (see this fellow blog for explanation) is not new. However I worry that the big brother “democracy” who muscled in with it’s holier than thou attitude might now be teaching the baby of the family bad habits.
Luckily for most of the West, paid comment is fairly blatant. The issue here is that the Big Brother here is passing off advertising as journalism and being deceptive as to the source. This reduces the Iraqis to being merely receptacles. It takes the local journalists away from the people that they are charged to work on behalf of.
If paid comment is in fact a common practise there, I dare say it was employed by Suddam Housain; presumably therefore not something that a “non-dictator” would want to employ. Regardless, customary or otherwise let the locals use their own media content. If the US still really needs to say something — other than good bye — it really needs to be spelt out who is saying what, positive or negative. It’s good democratic practise.
Oh I just realised that’ll be why Bush isn’t doing it! It’s good democratic practise and it’s smart.
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