Iraqi Media Paid for News Stories
Friday, December 02, 2005
(SNN Washington) Today, Pentagon officials were summoned to a closed-door session on Capitol Hill. The closed-door session is regarding a purported secret military plan in Iraq to plant propaganda in the Iraqi news media.
The White House is "very concerned about the reports."
As late as yesterday, senior Pentagon officials were saying that they had no knowledge of the program and were asking top generals in Iraq to explain the Iraqi operations. Meanwhile White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, has said that the White House is "very concerned about the reports."
The Lincoln Group, a Washington-based public relations firm, translated articles written by American troops. These articles were then given to advertising agencies that paid to have them place in the Iraqi news media. The group was hired last year after military officials concluded that United States was failing to win over public opinion. It is said that over $1 million in cash was given to Iraqi media for spreading the propaganda.
A free and independent press is critical to the functioning of a democracy
Senator John W. Warner, the Virginia Republican who heads the Armed Services Committee, has directed Pentagon aides to describe and justify the program. "A free and independent press is critical to the functioning of a democracy, and I am concerned about any actions which may erode the independence of the Iraqi media," the committee chairman's statement said.
While these actions may undermine the concepts of a free press and democracy, it seems almost typical of the way that our government operates today. Despite this, NewsBlog 5000 has not seen one penny of government money. Seriously, we wouldn't ask for that much. For the right kind of money, we're willing to stoop to depths so low that we would even sicken Bill O'Reilly.