Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What's The Arabic For "Do Lunch"?

In a trick that makes utter, perfect sense to anyone living in Hollywood, the L.A. Times points out that the U.S. Army has been paying off newspapers in Iraq to run positive stories actually written by U.S. soldiers, but published as "news". Apparently, they have been using a front organization, the "Lincoln Group", to pose as "freelance journalists" and plant happy- pro-America propaganda all over the Euphrates Valley. This has the Times' media-belly-button-gazing editors all worked up into a righteous frenzy:

The military's effort to disseminate propaganda in the Iraqi media is taking place even as U.S. officials are pledging to promote democratic principles, political transparency and freedom of speech in 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."

Man, are those shills down there at the Pentagon a bit slow or what? Everyone knows you don't just hand over stories and money directly to journalists. That's like giving a crack rock and an AK to a six-year-old. The kid might have some fun, but everyone is gonna find out about it, and soon. Rather, you engage in the seductive veil dance of Hollywood PR. A free stay in a luxury hotel, an open bar, an overflowing buffet line, some handsome actors to flatter said love-lorn journalists with their undivided attention, and the next thing you know, the "articles" are writing themselves! What the Pentagon needs is the Iraqi equivalent of the TCA Press Tour. Someone in Washington better put in a call to Pat Kingsley. After battling Tom Cruise's Thetans, a violent insurgency would be a relief.


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