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Friday, December 02, 2005

Newsweek's Michael Isikoff On Iraq Coverage

Political Teen has tonights "Hardball" segment on, in which Michael Isikoff admits the media doesn't cover the "good news" stories in Iraq, and instead covers bombings, and mass suicides.

Check it out here.

It's not a surpise to anyone who reads the news, but it's nice to have that in the open finally. The actual conversation was about the report earlier this week of the Pentagon paying for good news stories to be published and aired in Iraq.

After Mr. Isikoff's admission, though, is it any wonder that the Pentagon would do that? How else do you get the word out of things that are happening other than bombings?

The Post is reporting that the Pentagon's people, when they had stories or OP/ED pieces put in papers, were having them labeled as paid for. The problem comes with a company called Lincoln Group, which was supposedly having them placed without the "paid" disclaimer.

What's funny is the Washington Post and New York Times are both harping on 'journalist standards' in this case. Those are the papers that Judith Miller and Bob Woodward work for, and they have been shining examples of that standard of late.

The 64 thousand dollar question though, is this wrong? Information warfare, or propaganda, has been part of fighting wars forever. It's been used extensively in Iraq, since day one, in the form of embedded reporters. Think about the limits that were put on them during the actual fighting on what they could and couldn't show.

That propaganda was aimed both at the audience at home, and abroad, knowing the CNN, etc, are watched worldwide, not just in the US.

Lincoln Group did issue a short press release on the subject yesterday:

Truth in Reporting
(Washington, DC) – Lincoln Group has consistently worked with the Iraqi media to promote truthful reporting across Iraq. Our priority has always been, and continues to be, accuracy and timeliness.
Our clients, our employees and the Iraqis who support this effort have maintained a commitment to battle terror with a powerful weapon - the truth.

We counter the lies, intimidation, and pure evil of terror with factual stories that highlight the heroism and sacrifice of the Iraqi people and their struggle for freedom and security. We are encouraged by their sacrifice and proud to help them tell their side of the story.
If the stories they are sending are truthful, and what they are doing is paying for placement, is that wrong? Is it any different that product placement advertising in TV shows?

I don't think it is. In fact, I would venture to guess that major American newspapers have done similar things with actual news stories about companies. I'd guess they've given them a better spot in the paper in exchange for advertising, or maybe buried them a little bit. But that is only a guess.

For another view on this, you might head over to "Blame Bush!" or Macsmind, who has a great rant on the subject also.


Blogger shoprat said...

To a peacenik anything the military does to further its cause is wrong. Anything they do to weaken the US war effort is good. This renders the question of right and wrong unanswerable because the two sides don't even have the same standards.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Good point, an absolute stance does make "gray areas" pretty rare things, doesn't it.

11:23 AM  

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