The Pentagon’s extensive covert propaganda operations in Iraq have made a mockery of President Bush’s desire to turn Iraq into “an inspiring example to reformers in the region.” They have also “sparked a backlash among some senior military officers in Iraq and at the Pentagon who argue that attempts to subvert the news media could destroy the U.S. military’s credibility in other nations and with the American public.”
Yet conservative pundits and bloggers could hardly be more pleased. They have offered virtually unqualified praise for the propaganda efforts.
[The propaganda efforts] wouldn’t undercut the trust of the Iraqi people if papers like the LA Times weren’t blowing their cover. We need more operations like this in Iraq, and more respect for their classified nature.
So we’re spinning the Iraqi press by planting propaganda in its pages? BFD [Big f***ing deal]. … We’re adjusting to war in a new media universe. We haven’t adjusted swiftly enough.
If you toss away the myth that news and reporting is some sacred, undefilable calling, this story becomes a non-starter. When I look at the front page of my local paper, most of the stories were not written by their employees. Newspapers use stories from AP or Reuters all the time. Providing content to newspapers is a well-established business.
Smart move, given that the Iraq Campaign is one small part of the Terror War — in which the media is the arm of decision. If you don’t manage information, you lose. … Propaganda is important in any war, but it’s vital in a media war.