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US Army Used Reporters for Own Ends in Iraq War
September 8, 2003 1:51 PM   Subscribe

U.S. Army Used Media Cover in Iraq for Own Ends which sounds like a big old bowl of yellow journalism but isn't really, at least I don't think so. It was more to refute the Iraqi Minister of Lies talking about the whooping the Iraqi war machine was delivering to the coalition forces.

The main issue that the reporters had was that they were only getting the one side of the story and not the Iraqi perspective.

But it raises some questions about the supposed objectivity of the media. Is this a proper use of them? To help achieve military goals? Or to try to avoid more unnecessary deaths?
posted by fenriq (15 comments total)

 
General W.T. Sherman had very little use for reporters. In fact, he had them put on the back of a mule, backwards, and led around his camp with a sign about their neck reading "Spy", so that all would know who they were.
posted by kablam at 2:48 PM on September 8, 2003


General W.T. Sherman

Paul Tecumseh Wolfowitz, in the modern parlance.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 3:06 PM on September 8, 2003


Right. So instead of the Iraqi "Minister of Lies", we get the United States' "Minister of Lies". (Why, you can't tell the players apart without a scorecard!) So much for our supposed moral superiority, and so much for the "honor" of those running the military. Pathetic.

"We've turned the media into a mechanism for communicating information from the action to the consumer including the enemy," said Army Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "What we don't engage in is deception or manipulation."

posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:54 PM on September 8, 2003


But it raises some questions about the supposed objectivity of the media. Is this a proper use of them? To help achieve military goals? Or to try to avoid more unnecessary deaths?

1. There is no true "objectivity" in the media.
2. The proper "use" of the media is to report facts, and analyze them, using whatever "bias" (not always a bad word) a given reporter/editor has.
posted by davidmsc at 4:14 PM on September 8, 2003


From the article:

"'I just wanted them to report what happened. If having the media report accurately is using them, then they were used,' said Col. David Perkins, . . . commander of the 3rd Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade."

Right on the money. Isn't this how everyone uses the media?
posted by Zonker at 4:16 PM on September 8, 2003


This is the least of the ways the government used the media during this war.
posted by jpoulos at 4:35 PM on September 8, 2003


Of course you could just have tuned in to French coverage of the war for the other perspective, but then you'd actually have to make the effort of learning another language... an activity common to most of the world's educated populace, but strikingly unpopular in America.
posted by clevershark at 4:44 PM on September 8, 2003


Of course, you could read plenty of other perspectives in English (yes, even in the American dialect of English) if you wanted to, an activity common to many people right here in the US, whether educated or not. But apparently that isn't "clever".
posted by Zonker at 4:58 PM on September 8, 2003


"We've turned the media into a mechanism for communicating information from the action to the consumer including the enemy," said Army Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Great, even the government is calling us consumers now. Have they completely given up on the whole 'citizen' facade?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:25 PM on September 8, 2003


Have they completely given up on the whole 'citizen' facade?

Yes. But not without some justification, as so many have abdicated their duties as citizens of democratic states while still expecting the rights and privileges of same. Not that that excuses their contempt for the citizenry, but it goes some way to explaining it, perhaps.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:28 PM on September 8, 2003


So the Army, which shoots and kills people to achieve its ends, may have, just may have, neglected to portray itself in the most unflatering light possible.

What were they thinking? Didn't they know that they are evil and should be devoted telling the world just how bad they are?

Why didn't they grab those embeds and clout them soundly about the neck until they told the truth about about the blood-drinking war crimes that were going on?

Oh, the pain of it all ...
posted by Jos Bleau at 9:08 PM on September 8, 2003


"What we don't engage in is deception or manipulation."

RE: the Saddam statue photo. Has this been even mentioned in the mass media? It keeps creeping on the internet like a persistant mefi troll, yet I haven't seen a debunking or acknowledgement. From my perch it looks like mass fraud and the kind of shit that should get people reaching for their guns or at least the fax machine and their senator's phone number.

Here's a better photo, the place is practically deserted. The site mentions ABC did pull out for a wide angle shot at one time. But where's the controversy? Its all indy-media type sites. Amazing, I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Bush administration tested our complacency a long time ago and found us to be sleepwalking through life. This would fuel so much newstainment, but I guess newstainment is best left when bashing centrists and lefties.

As far as the solider who demanded Rumsfield resignation, I wonder how many hundreds of miles away they kept him when Rummy visited the other day.
posted by skallas at 9:54 PM on September 8, 2003


"What were they thinking? "

An important distinction to make here:

Propaganda vs disinformation.

Generally, propaganda is more geared toward your friends and allies while disinformation is to fool your enemies. The FPP deals with military disinformation or as they like to call it psyops, yet F&M's post deals squarely with unresolved propaganda aimed at the American people and anti-war types worldwide. There is no excuse for this.
posted by skallas at 9:56 PM on September 8, 2003


Hmm, isn't it the reporters job to figure out things and report them? If you're only getting one side of the story, as a reporter you should be able to figure that out, and if it's important to you search for other information. Personally, I don't feel the military is to blame for only giving that one side, it's not their job to give the other side.
posted by piper28 at 9:58 PM on September 8, 2003


Reminds me of This Kate Adie thread, on the lead up to war. If satellite uplinks from the press are detected in Baghdad, they would be "targeted down", said a senior US military official. "They know this. They've been warned."
posted by BigCalm at 12:52 AM on September 9, 2003


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