Friday, December 2, 2005

Freedom is on the march

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

Troops write articles presented as news reports.

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.

LA Times

Washington Post

There is something uniquely American about this practice. We are not directly controlling the Iraqi newspapers like some governments would. Instead, we are paying them to spread our propaganda. Whatever the method it is not freedom. The outcome is still government control over the media. It is not excusable that we are using the yankee dollar instead of sheer force to achieve our objective.

Update: Washington Post Military Says It Paid Iraq Papers for News


Blogger Moulton said...

The irony is that we balance the pro-American propaganda by mythologizing new Islamic heroes like Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

We call our opponents 'resistance', which in Arabic carries subtle connotations of noble heroism.

In American popular culture, we love our villains. We are fascinated with characters like Moriarty, Oilcan Harry, Snidely Whiplash, the Joker, the Riddler, Darth Vader, and Lex Luthor.

In the Semitic traditions, this villainous role is famously played by Satan — the intrepid all-purpose adversary who returns time and again to perennially vex the latest superhero du jour.

I suppose the real villain is our smug arrogance, whereby we imagine we can manipulate the beliefs of 6.6 billion people through the propagation of our sacred mythologies.

In the war between delusional beliefs and soberly scientific views of reality, mythology is the prevailing order of the day.

December 02, 2005  

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