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Thursday, December 01, 2005 

The Evil Military Steps on Journalists Toes (Propaganda in Iraq)

(NY Times) WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 - Titled "The Sands Are Blowing Toward a Democratic Iraq," an article written this week for publication in the Iraqi press was scornful of outsiders' pessimism about the country's future.

"Western press and frequently those self-styled 'objective' observers of Iraq are often critics of how we, the people of Iraq, are proceeding down the path in determining what is best for our nation," the article began. Quoting the Prophet Muhammad, it pleaded for unity and nonviolence.

But far from being the heartfelt opinion of an Iraqi writer, as its language implied, the article was prepared by the United States military as part of a multimillion-dollar covert campaign to plant paid propaganda in the Iraqi news media and pay friendly Iraqi journalists monthly stipends, military contractors and officials said.

Let the “outrage” ensue:

"I think it's absolutely wrong for the government to do this," said Patrick Butler, vice president of the International Center for Journalists in Washington

Finally someone with some clarity:

"I'm not surprised this goes on," said Michael Rubin, who worked in Iraq for the Coalition Provisional Authority in 2003 and 2004. "Informational operations are a part of any military campaign," he added. "Especially in an atmosphere where terrorists and insurgents - replete with oil boom cash - do the same. We need an even playing field, but cannot fight with both hands tied behind our backs."

Now, just to make sure, I checked Dictionary.com on this one:


· The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.

· Material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause: wartime propaganda.

Yep, no where does it say that propaganda is lying or telling anything near a falsehood. So how is this different from Ted Turner (who is vocally against Bush) paying his reporters at CNN to go out and report negatively on Iraq, the war, reconstruction efforts, combat actions, and/or the Administration in general? The only difference is that they are doing it in a country where the benefits of this greatly outweigh the drawbacks.

If you tell the truth to people, you don’t have to depress them. It is not all sad. The reality is that our media is outraged that they have lost the monopoly and can no longer dictate the message Americans and Iraqis will get.

And just to remind our younger readers, this stuff is pretty mild and gentle compared to the days of yore. Take this example from WWII, and imagine if it were adapted and distributed today. The ACLU would fall over dead from congestive heart failure.

Visit this Link for other fun time propaganda examples