Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Pentagon is gearing up the spin factory again

You might perhaps remember this small event whereby US Central Command saw fit to send out a "form" email to us, personalized in such a way to demonstrate that the author was unaware that most of us here would also have an interest in what might be going on in Afghanistan as well as Iraq.

It would seem that CentCom was particularly interested in having us check out their website for "accurate" information. And, I did.

In surveying the information on their site I noticed some omissions and felt obliged to point them out. No charge.

Now, it appears, there is going to be even more in the form of resources available. From the BBC:

The US defence department has set up a new unit to better promote its message across 24-hour rolling news outlets, and particularly on the internet.

The Pentagon said the move would boost its ability to counter "inaccurate" news stories and exploit new media.
Or, they could provide innaccurate news stories. I'm not saying they make anything up. Just that they leave a lot out.

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said earlier this year the US was losing the propaganda war to its enemies.
There's a source we can all trust. Perhaps what the Pentagon's new unit should consider is that their greatest liability is their leader.

The administration is particularly concerned that insurgents in areas such as Iraq have been able to use the web to disseminate their message and give the impression they are more powerful than the US, our correspondent says.
Hmmm. Think about that for a minute. We do get emails with pointers at various news stories. We have never been pointed at a site which promotes the cause of the insurgency in either Iraq or Afghanistan. We have been contact by US Central Command to use the information it provides, sanitized though it may be.

So, who is trying to use the web to disseminate their message? I'm pretty sure Specialist Erickson is in the US Army.

A Pentagon memo seen by the Associated Press news agency said the new unit would "develop messages" for the 24-hour news cycle and aim to "correct the record".
Is that develop in the photography sense or develop in the conceptual sense? I have no problem with "correcting the record". We don't really do much of it here, but we do point out when it's been done.

The unit would reportedly monitor media such as weblogs and would also employ "surrogates", or top politicians or lobbyists who could be interviewed on TV and radio shows.
Ah yes. Weblogs... the "new" media. We get all our information from the "old" media and add comment. It must be confusing to the Bushco spin doctors. This guy didn't have an internet to contend with and with no historical reference it means they're spinning by the seat of their pants.

Surrogates? Do you mean like this? As Scott says, "... isn't that Cheney uncanny with his ability to read the minds of "the Terrorists" so aptly? And that they all think exactly alike! Just amazing."

Of course, there's nothing "surrogate" about FOX News.

On Monday, US Vice President Dick Cheney also made reference to the use of media, suggesting insurgents had increased their attacks and were checking the internet to keep track of American public opinion.

"It's my belief that they're very sensitive of the fact that we've got an election scheduled and they can get on the websites like anybody else," Mr Cheney told Fox News.

"There isn't anything that's on the internet that's not accessible to them. They're on it all the time. They're very sophisticated users of it."
It's his belief?! What a master of understatement. I hope he remembers that insurgents are faced with the same problem as anyone else. The internet is a series of tubes....

And, Dick, lots of people are sophisticated users of the internet. Hell, your hand-puppet uses Teh Google to look at "the ranch" when you leave him unsupervised.

You know, there's lots of stuff out there. Some of it verifiable and some not. The Pentagon material is usually time-late, sanitized and lacking pertinent details. And truly, you can only absorb so much of the Pentagon's and CentCom's attempts to blow sunshine up everybody's ass. It makes sites like this, just as one example, valuable when searching out information.

Oh yeah, the first bit of spin out of the new machine looks like this:

Mr Ruff [Pentagon press secretary] said the move to set up the unit had not been prompted either by the eroding public support in the US for the Iraq war or the US mid-term elections next week.
My gawd. Now, that's what I call putting lipstick on a pig.

No comments: