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Originally posted by worldwatcher
Perhaps you need to read up more on this but this isn't just a case of "paying to print good stories", this is fake news.
The Times reported that while the articles are basically factual, they present only one side of events and omit information that might reflect poorly on the U.S. or Iraqi governments. Records and interviews indicate that the U.S. has paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of such articles, with headlines such as "Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism," since the effort began this year, the newspaper wrote.
One piece, for example, cited by the New York Times, is cheerily titled “The Sands of Victory Are Blowing Toward a Democratic Iraq,” with a lead that goes thus: “Western press and frequently those self-styled ‘objective’ observers of Iraq are often critics of how we, the people of Iraq, are proceeding down the path in determining what is best for our nation.” It even quotes from the Hadith to support its call for unity, and scorns those who express pessimism about the country’s future.
When the US government intentionally plants fake news and commentary in the Iraqi press, disguised as independent reporting — presumably to distort the picture in favor of the occupation — the harm to the US reputation as a whole clearly far outweighs the benefits.
Washington cannot set out to convince Arabs that it will “introduce” them to democracy when it subverts a major building block of democracy — an independent, free media — by engaging in crude, unethical and propagandistic practices worthy of an East European regime under Soviet control.
In the US, a reporter or editor dumb enough, or unprofessional enough, to be party to the egregious practice of publishing fake news will get a kick in the behind, that is, before he gets fired. By planting phony stories in Iraqi newspapers, the Pentagon in effect is saying that while it is not done here in the US, it can be done there. Those Third World Arabs don’t know a free press from a hole in the wall anyhow. They’ll believe anything they’re told. Now that would be a troubling stance if it were true.