Thursday, December 01, 2005

Paid Propaganda in Iraqi Newspapers

There are reports of paid propaganda in Iraqi newspapers, which should come as no surprise. Word has it "that the U.S. military is paying Iraqi newspapers and journalists to plant favorable stories about the war and the rebuilding effort."

White House spokesman Scottie McClellan feigned concern - "we're very concerned." Right. Details were first reported yesterday by the Los Angeles Times and on NPR as noted here by Ron.

"We are seeking more information from the Pentagon," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

At the Pentagon, spokesman Bryan Whitman said, as he did a day earlier in response to reporters' inquiries about the reports, that he was seeking details from U.S. military officials in Baghdad. "I have very few facts," Whitman said, adding that he would not confirm the essence of the story until he learned more from Baghdad.

"It's certainly an issue that's easy to get emotional about, and we need to understand the facts, and when we do I'll provide you as much information as I can," Whitman said.

The spokesman said that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was "aware of the issue," but he would not say whether Rumsfeld had expressed concern about it or whether the secretary had asked for additional information about it.

John Kerry said "the reports were troubling."

"I think that the United States of America paying for stories in Iraqi papers undermines America's credibility," Kerry said in the White House driveway after attending a bill-signing ceremony. "What we need are Iraqis who really believe what they're saying and say it for themselves. ... You need to deal with the truth, not with things that you make up or put out there as propaganda."

It's not uncommon for the Bush administration to pay for propaganda. We've seen it many times in the past.


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