Peruse the news today, and you just may come across this story -
U.S. military secretly pays Iraqi newspapers for running stories trumpeting U.S. missionNow, this looks bad, doesn't it - unless you have half a brain, of course, and can deconstruct the ever-present negativity in the mainstream press. It's from the Los Angeles Times, via the Seattle Times. Interesting note here; the L.A. Times' title for the same story on their site is "U.S. Paying Iraqi Press to Run Favorable Stories"). Anyone remember that "telephone" game...? By the time it gets across the country to the Washington Post, it will likely read, "U.S. Demands Iraqi Press Cover-Ups." At any rate, the story requires some translation, and I don't want you to miss one absolutely inspiring word, so here goes:What it says: 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.Translation:
Department of Defense stories authorized for public release are translated so Iraqis can read them, but the U.S. is a little busy what with the war and all, so they hired a translator. We spent a whole lot of time and effort finding that out - aren't you impressed?What it says:While the articles are basically truthful, they present only one side of events and omit information that might reflect poorly on the U.S. or Iraqi governments, officials said. Records and interviews indicate that the U.S. has paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of such articles — with headlines such as "Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism" — since the effort began this year.Translation:
OK, unfortunately for us, the U.S. and Coalition troops actually ARE winning this thing, but we'd much rather present negative information that creates an impression that the war is being lost, and dammit, they should, too! In fact, we're relatively sure we'd burst into flames if we said anything good about the war - and we're not taking any chances. And come on - they're presenting information that implies that the terrorists aren't completely running the show - we can't have that. It's as bad as that Iraq War Today blog presenting links to DoD and Centcom press releases!What it says:The military's effort to disseminate propaganda in the Iraqi media is taking place even as U.S. officials are vowing to promote democratic principles, political transparency and freedom of speech to a country emerging from decades of dictatorship and corruption. It comes as the State Department is training Iraqi reporters in basic journalism skills and Western media ethics, including one workshop titled "The Role of Press in a Democratic Society."Translastion:
OK, let's get this straight:Propaganda:
anything that is positive, patriotic, or supports our troops.News:
anything that is negative, anti-American, or trashes our troops.
Come on, people - haven't you learned anything
And in addition to presenting the positive elements of the U.S. and Coalition presence, which people certainly wouldn't hear about watching Al-Jazeerah, they're actually trying to teach responsible journalism! How dare they?!Sometimes, I really think my head is in danger of exploding when I read the news.