In another new Orwellian twist — there seems to be a new one every week with the Bush administration — the Pentagon is launching a propaganda campaign, creating a “news” outlet that will provide feeds directly to small, local media presenting the military’s version of the Iraq and Afghanistan situation.
The $6.3 million project, expected to begin operating in April, is one of the largest military public affairs projects in recent memory, and is intended to allow small media outlets in the United States and elsewhere to bypass what the Pentagon views as an increasingly combative press corps.
U.S. officials have complained that Iraq-based media focuses on catastrophic events like car bombs and soldiers’ deaths, while giving short shrift to U.S. rebuilding efforts.
The American public “currently gets a pretty slanted picture,” said Army Capt. Randall Baucom, a spokesman for the Kuwait-based U.S.-led Coalition Land Forces Command. “We want them to get an opportunity to see the facts as they exist, instead of getting information from people who aren’t on the scene.”
The project, called Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System or DVIDS, will also give the Pentagon more control of the coverage when calamities do happen.
… “The Army wants to get their view across and they are using a technique as old as any public relations maneuver ever devised,” said Aly Colon, an ethics group leader at the Poynter Institute, the journalism research and education center in St. Petersburg, Fla.
”I would view the Army’s decision, in the same way that I would view OPEC creating a communications system to help the American public understand what it means when prices go up,” he said.
”This is the kind of news that people get in countries where the government controls the media. Why would anybody here want to buy into it?” Mac McKerral, president of the Society of Professional Journalists, told The Associated Press.
Like I said earlier, we’re witnessing the increasing domination of media and information by the government and the right wing…