Pentagon Scheme to 'Buy' Good News a 'Disgrace'

The 'disgusting' Pentagon-financed campaign to implant positive news into the Iraqi media is, 'yet another stigma of disgrace on the forehead of the U.S. occupation.' According to this op-ed article from Iraq's Azzaman newspaper, the scheme is, 'an insult to the Iraqi people, Iraqi media and the future of the country.'


December 6, 2005

Original Article (English)    

Freedom of the Press: Bush Wanted to Bomb Al-Jazeera [Ad Dustour, Jordan]

The current U.S. administration is unwilling to learn from its series of its ill-fated campaigns in Iraq.

It has been gone from one blunder to another, undercutting its credibility in the eyes of Iraqis and eroding any remaining confidence in its efforts in the country.

To salvage America's image, the Pentagon thought it could buy Iraqi trust by implanting "positive" stories in local media. The Pentagon is reported to have paid millions of dollars to have these stories published.

While we are sorry to know that many Iraqi reporters, newspapers and other media outlets were involved, we would like to underscore that the effort is yet another stigma of disgrace on the forehead of the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

After undermining the country’s institutions, sovereignty and credibility, the Pentagon eventually moved to humiliate its national and independent press.

True, there are now scores of newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations in Iraq. But it should be noted that as it is evidence of the multi-million dollar subsidies the Pentagon has been paying, this mushrooming of media has been more a curse than a blessing.

Al-Jazeera: 'Ladies and Gentlemen ... This is just in!' [Alittihad, UAE]

The Iraqi media landscape may look varied and fragmented, but this is not at all a sign of multiplicity and freedom of speech. The U.S. occupation has enabled the emergence of newspapers, radio and televisions stations that lack the basics of balanced and credible reporting. These outlets have become merely tools in the hands of the Pentagon or factions that advance its policies.

This disgusting, U.S. financed media campaign is an insult to the Iraqi people, Iraqi media and the future of the country.

We would like to confirm to our readers that no Pentagon-sponsored material has found its way into the pages of our newspaper. We are proud of this and promise to keep our independence no matter the cost and threats we occasionally receive.

We cannot and should not fall into the trap of the U.S. occupation and its games, both of which we strongly condemn. The campaign is just another milestone in the aggressive and brutal path the United States has pursued since its 2003 invasion.

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