Thursday, December 01, 2005

Army pays Iraqis for favorable news coverage

Every honorable journalist abhors what is described here:
U.S. Army officers have been secretly paying Iraqi journalists to produce upbeat newspaper, radio and television reports about American military operations and the conduct of the war in Iraq.
by the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau.

Some other angles are covered by the New York Times (registration required, but free).

The story was broken a day earlier, in less detail, by the Los Angeles Times.

This disclosure is equally repulsive to Richard Edelman, a key figure in the public relations industry.
If a free media is a central aspect of a democratic society, then we cannot allow our PR industry to impede its development. It is a perversion of our business . . .
What the Army is doing, he writes, is barefaced Pay for play , an allusion to the sordid corruption of radio disc jockeys by the music industry.

Ths Washington Post report is more specific about who has been conducting this media campaign.
The program has been run out of the Multinational Corps commanded by Lt. Gen. John R. Vines in Baghdad, with the help of a Washington-based contractor, Lincoln Group. The company translates the articles and markets them to Iraqi media outlets without indicating the material came from the U.S. military.

The lowdown on the Lincoln Group from the Center for Media and Democracy.

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