'But we've got idiots doing this':
My tax dollars are paying for other Americans to fight and die, for bombs and bullets, for bloody victory or defeat. So I'm not going to get all upset about the U.S. government's spending money on covert paid propaganda
in Iraq that 'appears to violate fundamental principles of Western journalism.'
This is a war. It's not a journalism ethics seminar. That said, a few shared objections to and observations about the administration's propaganda efforts:
-- From a reader's comment over at Mark's blog
: "The important question is: were these articles effective, or simply another ridiculous drain on the taxpayer? Who was - or is - in charge of measuring the results? I mean, for the money one would hope these articles could have an impact on public opinion. But we've got idiots doing this, which really sums up the whole story from start to finish, doesn't it?"
-- From the editor of Al Sabah in Iraq: "I would spend the money a better way."
-- From Wonkette
) on the administration's domestic-targeted propaganda: "Mission Accomplished," downgraded to something a little less boastful. Etc. etc.
-- From me: If the administration had initially spent more time and money planning on the post-"mission accomplished" phase of the occupation, maybe we wouldn't have to be spending so much time and money at this point in the occupation.
Bottom line: I'm not against a little 'paid covert propaganda' if it means helping our cause and saving lives. It worked in WW II. It can work now. But Roosevelt was Roosevelt, and Bush is Bush. I guess that's roughly where the difference lies for me.Update
-- 'Operation Cornflake'
: Ah, for the days when American propaganda was more daring and imaginative. ...Update II
-- 'The Propaganda Warriors'
: Looks like an interesting book that delves into the WW II-era debate about what made good propaganda. From a review of the book: "A fascinating story of an old American dilemma - ideals versus self-interest. Propaganda can be truthful, or it can lie to help win a war." ... Or a combination of the two. OK, so things weren't all hunky dory during WW II. I stand corrected. ... I'm shocked. Journalists Stewart Alsop and James Reston, playwright Robert Sherwood, and theatrical great John Houseman all engaged in paid propaganda?Update III
-- From David Halberstam (via Dan
) on the Iraq propaganda: "It's stupid." ... Not unethical. Not the end of Western journalism. Just "stupid." ... Which sums up so much of what this administration has done.