Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

As The (Sniff!) French See It

Let's take a look at how AFP, France's version of AP, looks at our news. Jim Mannion, Yankee snail-eater for hire, reporting:
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The Pentagon is expanding its public affairs operations to counter "inaccurate" news stories and editorials and exploit "new media" to get its message out, its chief spokesman said, denying the effort was linked to the US elections.
Shall we give him the quotes around "inaccurate?" He later attributes the word to a Pentagon spokesperson, but gosh, doesn't it make you think he doesn't really consider any Pentagon criticisms he's read to be the least bit inaccurate?

Quickly on to "exploit" -- a loaded word, for sure. American Heritage defines it positively first, "To employ to the greatest possible advantage," but then there's this:
To make use of selfishly or unethically: a country that exploited peasant labor. See Synonyms at manipulate.
So, 17 words in, M. Mannion has questioned the need for the campaign and its ethics. What's left? Just forcing the Pentagon spokesperson to deny that "the effort was linked to the US elections."

A bit of background is necessary here: The RFP for the Pentagon PR program was sent out months ago and the contract was awarded on Sept. 25, over a month ago, so it's hardly news. Mannion's tardy reporting makes it possible for him to ask a stupidly naive -- or devilishly clever -- question, all to cast more negative light on the Pentagon and the US war effort.

I won't bore you with the other troublesome parts of the article, which as you read this is being read throughout Europe and doing its carefully constructed damage to the American war effort. I will, however, provide you with the one heartwarming quote the story contained:
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a strident critic of media coverage of Iraq, also has pushed for a sweeping overhaul in the way the military communicates with the public.

In a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in February, he called for 24-hour press operations centers and an approach that would give Internet operations and other channels of communications equal status to "20th century press relations."

"It will result in much less reliance on the traditional print press, just as publics of the US and the world are relying less on newspapers as their principal source of information," he said.

Absolutely! I've been banging this drum for some time, but it is worth saying again: We are losing the information war, and we have to turn that fact around.

Rumsfeld hit the nail on the head ... another reason to call for his resignation, eh?

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