"[P]ropaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state...."
April 5, 2008 2:19 AM   Subscribe

Need money? Have a blog? Well, your troubles may be over: "Hiring a block of bloggers to verbally attack a specific person or promote a specific message may be worth considering." Of course, if you don't want to play along, there are other ways to make your blog useful:
Hacking the site and subtly changing the messages and data—merely a few words or phrases—may be sufficient to begin destroying the blogger’s credibility with the audience.... If the messages are subtly tweaked and the data corrupted in the right way, the enemy may reason that the blogger in question has betrayed them and... take down the site (and the blogger) themselves....
Who might you be interested in "clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers"? Oh, the US military.
posted by orthogonality (19 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
"Loose keyboard caps sink Daisy Dutters."

Hmm. It lacks a certain je ne se quoi, no? I'll keep trying, boss. Honest.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:59 AM on April 5, 2008

So how about:

"Ogling RedTube nips, sinks ships." It's getting there, no?

Uh. On preview:

Pentagon Edited Wikipedia Entry Of Gay Soldier Killed In Iraq, Evidence Shows

"Browsing Gaydar when you should be a killin'
Lets the enemy know that this soldier ain't willin'."

ima be a real infowarrior someday, amirite, sarge?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:09 AM on April 5, 2008

"Hiring a block of bloggers to verbally attack a specific person or promote a specific message may be worth considering,"

Getting paid to do what most of us had to pay five dollars to do on Metafilter sounds like a pretty sweet deal.
posted by three blind mice at 5:05 AM on April 5, 2008 [2 favorites]

"I want you to remember that no blogger ever won a war by flaming out for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb flame out for his country.

"You know, by God I, I actually pity those poor bloggers we're going up against, by God, I do. We're not just going to flame the bastards; we're going to cut out their brain cells and use them to grease the heat sinks of our cpus. We're going to make those lousy bastards cut their left hands off by the bushel.

"Now, some of you boys, I know, are wondering whether or not you'll chicken out under fire. Don't worry about it. I can assure you that you will all do your duty.

"The peaceniks are the enemy. Wade into them. Burn them like strawmen. Shoot them with factoids. When you click your mouse onto a bunch of gibberish that a moment before was your best friend's blog, you'll know what to do.

"Now, there's one thing that you men will be able to say when you get back home. And you may thank God for it. Thirty years from now when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you: "What did you do in the Great Blog War?" You won't have to say, "Well, I shoveled shit in Louisiana." You can look him right in the eye and tell him, "I shoveled shit on the internet."
posted by pyramid termite at 6:08 AM on April 5, 2008 [6 favorites]

Greetings fellow MetaFilter users! I'm hoping that everyone is having a good Saturday here in the greatest country on earth! I know that I sure am! ;-D

Today I heard some awesome news! I have it on good authority that our brave soldiers have captured a terrorist arms depot outside of Fallujah. This can only mean that a corner has been turned and that the march towards freedom and democracy continues apace throughout the Middle East. Let us now all share our .jpgs of patriotic lolcats and eagles with teardrops in their eyes!
posted by Avenger at 6:56 AM on April 5, 2008 [4 favorites]

When I saw the headline for this on Wired it was April 1, and I just assumed it was an April Fool's joke gone awry. Look at the picture, for goodness sakes, if that doesn't say crazy staging I don't know what would.

I guess I was wrong after actually reading the article. It's propaganda - part of the information war - I don't see it as too beyond the pale for the Pentagon. At least the "hiring bloggers clandestinely" part. The "hacking blogs to change things so the blogger is discredited" part seems like it would require some legal backing first.

But it was an academic exercise, not a full blown program that's being acted on or anything.
posted by gemmy at 7:24 AM on April 5, 2008

"Hiring a block of bloggers to verbally attack a specific person or promote a specific message may be worth considering,"

I have to say I agree with three blind mice here. getting paid to write an opinion piece is nice work if you can get it. it's the passing it off as fact that concern...oh, who am I kidding, you all have cable.

but I am okay with the military considering one whacky plan after another. perhaps some day they come up with something that actually works. you know, like missile defence.
posted by krautland at 7:29 AM on April 5, 2008

It's funny, 10 years ago we'd be freaking out about this. Now I'm not even surprised.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:44 AM on April 5, 2008

Does anyone else here see the inherent difficulty in hiring bloggers to do anything clandestinely?
posted by ErWenn at 7:45 AM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Gemmy's right; this was just someone's term paper in which they advocate a particular strategery. I like the idea of a patriotic lolcats page, however. . . They should get a soldier to start one and see where goes?
posted by resurrexit at 8:14 AM on April 5, 2008

So, if Jessamatex start saying odd things about how we are winning the war, we know that MeFi has been cracked?
posted by SteveTheRed at 8:35 AM on April 5, 2008

The biggest single factor in our victory over Iraq has been the fact that every single one of our officer's laptops is running Vista Ultimate Media Edition! The multimedia presentations to the guys on the ground has never been sharper or clearer.

And when the battle is over, and it's time for a little R&R, even the grunts will find that Vista Ultimate Media Edition renders your internet porn is so realistically, it's almost as though Jenna Jameson and that Suicide Girl you like is right there in your tent with you, providing you with the hottest of Arabian Nights.

Vista Ultimate Media Edition: the patriots choice*.

*One dollar from every copy licensed will go directly to support your freedoms via the NRA.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:54 AM on April 5, 2008

Ken Macleod, one of my very favorite SF writers, is always worth reading, but his recent book riffing on this idea (and many others) is particularly good.

(Psst! His first one, the Star Fraction, is also really, really good!)
posted by straight at 9:56 AM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

mmmm.... might be difficult at this point
posted by [son] QUAALUDE at 9:58 AM on April 5, 2008

This isn't a full-scale program, but it isn't merely a thought exercise either. As an MI Officer (whom many thought should have gone SC) who also has experience running/coding a blog, I will tell you that all of these "academic" thoughts have been tested to at least some degree.
posted by mystyk at 7:02 PM on April 5, 2008

Legal backing! Good one!!

Not everyone who works at the Pentagon is scum, despite popular opinion.
posted by gemmy at 10:20 PM on April 5, 2008

The distinct impression I have is that these (conveniently removed from context) quotes from the report imply this is an modern iteration of info warfare tactics going back centuries, for use in a foreign theatre of operations. A lot of the comments thus far seem to give the impression that this is intended to be used in a "for domestic consumption" context. I think that's pretty clearly wrong. As much as I dislike the even the idea of the military engaging in ratfucking in the domestic arena, the use of such tactics in foreign media outlets is old news.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 7:21 AM on April 6, 2008

Not everyone who works at the Pentagon is scum, despite popular opinion.

Absolutely. Some just find themselves further marginalized with each passing day.

(If it weren't $5 for a one off joke for a day old post, I'd post this as Colin Powell.)
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:06 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

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