Wednesday, November 30, 2005

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

Excerpt of LA Times article:
# Troops write articles presented as news reports. Some officers object to the practice.

By Mark Mazzetti and Borzou Daragahi, Times Staff Writers

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.

Though the articles are basically factual, 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.

The operation is designed to mask any connection with the U.S. military. The Pentagon has a contract with a small Washington-based firm called Lincoln Group, which helps translate and place the stories. The Lincoln Group's Iraqi staff, or its subcontractors, sometimes pose as freelance reporters or advertising executives when they deliver the stories to Baghdad media outlets.
LA Times

BTW, it has been shown that such news also makes its way into the US press by the international wires, and some suspect direct payment for news into US media. As Armstong Williams said--the uncovered cases are just the tip of the iceberg.

See: The Man Who Sold Us the War

And what they don't buy they can coerce or bribe.


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