Thursday, December 01, 2005

With headlines like this:

U.S. Is Said to Pay to Plant Articles in Iraq Papers , do you really imagine the U.S. government is half-competent? What does Iraq need for long-run stability? A stable and functioning civil society. Doing things that allow people to dismiss any and all newspapers and news reports as fabrications cooked up by the U.S. government and thus rely on rumor and gossip for their politics is not a useful base for functioning democratic politics.

Plus, any positive news people read in the papers is suspect despite the fact that some may well be accurate. And any supporter of the U.S. in print will be accused of being paid-off despite the fact that some supporters may well be genuine. This is one of those utterly short-sighted and narrow-minded policies that has so many ridiculously obvious bad consequences that it boggles the mind how somebody could think it was a good idea. The goal of the policy is clearly to shift opinion in favor of the U.S. government positions. But lying and planting propoganda probably isn't the ideal way of improving people's opinion of you, isn't it? Ironically, what led to this was a perceived need to improve credibility!
Citing a "fundamental problem of credibility" and foreign opposition to American policies, a Pentagon advisory panel last year called for the government to reinvent and expand its information programs.
Talk about counter-productive. Something like this is bound to leak out at one point or another. Shouldn't whoever came up with this wake up the next day and think wow, that was a dumb idea and move on to more intelligent plans?


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