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Pentagon Reveals News Correction Unit 757

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the propaganda-juggernauts dept.
Jonas Wisser writes "BBC is reporting that a newly created Pentagon unit has a mandate to fight 'inaccurate' news stories. From the article: 'The Pentagon has set up a new unit to focus on promoting its message across 24-hour rolling news outlets, and particularly on the internet. [...] A Pentagon memo seen by the Associated Press news agency said the new unit will "develop messages" for the 24-hour news cycle and aim to "correct the record". A spokesman said the unit would monitor media such as weblogs and would also employ "surrogates", or top politicians or lobbyists who could be interviewed on TV and radio shows.'"
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Pentagon Reveals News Correction Unit

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  • Hello (Score:5, Funny)

    by I kan Spl (614759) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:18AM (#16654877) Homepage
    1984 called... It wants it's news story back.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gigne (990887)
      China called, and it wants it's PR dept back. (I'm prime too)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by antek9 (305362)
        It's called, and it wants both your and the GP's it's back.
        • Re:Hello (Score:5, Funny)

          by Instine (963303) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @07:02AM (#16655413)
          This is the UK, as your constitution isn't worth toilet paper now, we're revocing your independance:

          To the Citizens of the United States of America:

          In light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories (excepting Kansas, which she does not fancy). Your new prime minister, Tony Blair, will appoint a governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

          1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium," and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix will be replaced by the suffix "ise." You will learn that the suffix 'burgh' is pronounced 'burra'; you may elect to respell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you find you simply can't cope with correct pronunciation. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels (look up "vocabulary"). Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.

          2. There is no such thing as "US English." We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize."

          3. You will relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen", but only after fully carrying out Task #1 (see above).

          4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday. November 2nd will be a called "Come-Uppance Day."

          5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

          6. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

          7. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling "gasoline")-roughly $6/US gallon. Get used to it.

          8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called "crisps." Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with mayonnaise but with vinegar.

          9. Waiters and waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

          10. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as "beer," and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager." American brands will be referred to as "Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine," so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

          11. Hollywood will be re
          • by Kijori (897770)

            2. There is no such thing as "US English." We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize."

            The -ize suffix is actually perfectly acceptable in British English - it derives from the Greek suffix -izo. The growth of the -ise suffix is mostly a backlash against American simplification of the language. It is, however, incorrect to convert other suffixes to contain -ize instead of -ise; for examp

          • Re:Hello (Score:4, Interesting)

            by kalidasa (577403) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @10:36AM (#16657209) Journal
            This was pretty funny - about 3 years ago when it was first circulating via email. Of course, it's pretty silly for a country that has no written constitution would be making this kind of a joke (the Magna Carta delineates the rights of the propertied class and the limits of the powers of the King - it doesn't delineate the limits of the powers of the Parliamentary government; and what a Brit means by "constitution" is what e.g. Plato meant by "politea" or Cicero by "res publica" - the way in which the state is constituted, in effect via common law and various written laws, not an overarching written framework in a single, relatively easy-to-understand document - though with very complex subtleties - with legal force).
  • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:19AM (#16654881)
    Well, obviously this is a blatant attempt to . Anyone can see that!
  • Astonishing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by locokamil (850008) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:23AM (#16654907) Homepage
    Clearly, the US military now officially has its spending priorities correct. Who gives a damn about winning the bloody war, or setting Iraq's forces straight so that they don't get knocked up like cheap hookers every time they set foot outside their barracks?

    No-- this is more important by far. The Pentagon really does need to be fighting a press war with hairy-assed, unemployed bloggers operating out of their mothers' basements. They also need more lobbyists and politicians on their payroll, because if they don't win the war for the US, nothing else can.

    Astonishing. Just astonishing.
    • Who says the news has no effect on winning the war? Newsweek published a false report in its May 1, 2006 about the Koran being flushed down the toilet.

      Result?

      Rioting in a number of countries, at least 15 people killed, countless wounded, insurgent attacks increased and the American public goes haywire (again) not knowing who to believe (the news media which has lost most/all of its legitimacy or the government whom everyone considers to be in a 1984 state at the moment?).

    • The other war (Score:2, Informative)

      by XanC (644172)

      The propaganda war is probably just as important as the "hot" war itself, so yes, the Pentagon probably really is getting its priorities right.

      The terrorists' objective is to hold out as long as possible, and make things messy enough that the Americans lose their will to stick it out. It's happened before: Vietnam, Beiruit, Iraq the first time around, Somalia, etc.

      They're doing everything they can to convince Americans to leave, and their willing accomplices in the media are glad to oblige, because they d

      • This isn't a playground and it's not about who's got the biggest dick, XanC. This is a country that is not at war with the United States. Think about it. What was the last time you heard anybody mention Al Quaeda in Iraq? No, it's about Iraqis fighting over their own country.

        We don't belong there and you will find that America will not tolerate losing many more young people just to prop up the ego of a President with a Daddy-Complex or dopes like you who think they're playing War.

        "Make them blink first"
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ScentCone (795499)
          What was the last time you heard anybody mention Al Quaeda in Iraq?

          How about: every day. Al Qaeda is the single highest-profile player in the jihaddi insurgency in that country. Why not read the BBC's summary [bbc.co.uk], dated today, as a refresher? Do you think that the average Iraqi is behind the large-scale slaughter of the average other Iraqi? Check in with Iran. It's not about Sunni vs. Shia, though that's how it's being portrayed. It's about destabilizing democracy and preventing a rational, world-friendly so
    • Re:Astonishing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Vintermann (400722) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @06:15AM (#16655197) Homepage
      And to think they criticised Hugo Chavez for using government funds to promote his own social policies. Talk about not seeing the beam in their own eyes.
    • by famebait (450028)
      Who gives a damn about winning the bloody war

      They have never given a damn about the actual war, only about its effects on their own power. If they can get those without actually fighting the bloody expensive thing, and without risking bad news being reported back, why not just make people believe they are fighting it, and winning? All you need is a "great firewall of the US". It will not be visible from the moon. Not on the pictures americans will see, anyway.
    • by lixee (863589)

      Clearly, the US military now officially has its spending priorities correct. Who gives a damn about winning the bloody war

      IMHO, "winning the war" can only be achieved thru total annihilation of the Iraqi population. And even if they do, jihadists will continue to pour into the country to resist the occupation.

      Let me recollect; Iraqis were already suffering under the reign of Saddam before the first Gulf war. They made sure any real opposition is suppressed by strangling the countrie's economy for 12 years

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by bvdbos (724595)
        Even Hans Blix says likewise... [allheadlinenews.com]
        Blix also claims the situation would have been better if the war had not taken place, saying, "Saddam would still have been sitting in office. Okay, that is negative and it would not have been joyful for the Iraqi people. But what we have gotten is undoubtedly worse."
  • Either you're someone who already believes what's on the news or you're someone who already distrusts the media.

    So if you're the first type, this is no big change. Your disinformation now comes directly from the source.

    If you're the second type, you won't be able to believe anything on the DailyKos and other "contra-news" sources since you will believe that they have been infiltrated as well.

    Any attempts to route around damage will lead you to either the BBC (but how long can you trust Bush's lapdogs?) or t
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``Any attempts to route around damage will lead you to either the BBC (but how long can you trust Bush's lapdogs?)''

      Bush has lapdogs inside the BBC?
      • by ajs318 (655362)
        No British government has ever liked the BBC. Thatcher and co always called them the Bolshevik Broadcasting Collective. Labour think they suck up to the Tories.

        IMHO that's the way it should be. Once a news service begins pandering to the government, you are already too far down the road to 1984.
        • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
          Exactly, that's what I thought. We know that Blair and Bush are allies and have covered each other's backs, but the BBC seems to set its own course, no matter what anyone else says.
    • by packeteer (566398)
      The BBC is a good source but there is better. Le Monde Diplomatique is a french paper that have an english version. Check it out at dota www.mondediplo.com
    • by mcc (14761)
      Naturally, this is not really that big of news. This has been going on since Eisenhower and bringing it into the open is just another way to manipulate the populace.

      Really, in two or three weeks they'll probably be trying to deny this program even exists.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ben there... (946946)
      Well, it's been going on in this administration at least since 2002. The Office of Strategic Influence [wikipedia.org] was its former name, which was officially shut down because of backlash from the press, but its activities continued. That office was intended to influence foreign media, but the question is, how much of the disinformation makes its way back into (or is spread directly into) our media in the form of blowback [wikipedia.org]. Contracts for this type of work run into the hundreds of millions of dollars [timesonline.co.uk] in Iraq. You better b
  • Bring on the war! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rufusdufus (450462) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:27AM (#16654927)
    President Bush has said recently that terror groups were trying to influence public opinion in the US, describing their efforts as the "war of ideas"

    What, are we afraid of ideas? Is a war of guns and bombs better? If the people of the world are trying to influence our thinking, should we ignore them or should we listen? Who knows better about the problems of their part of the world than them? Do the Generals in the Pentagon know whats better for people across the world than their own leaders?
    • Get ready for the war on ideas. After all, the feather is mightier than the sword, and the logic consequence is that ideas are more dangerous than guns.
    • by tibike77 (611880) <tibikegamez.yahoo@com> on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:47AM (#16655039) Journal
      Ah, so nice to see that even if Soviet Russia (apparently) failed miserably, its ideas live on strong and spread to its former enemies. Heck, I thought Romania was so-so ok under Communism as long as you kept your mouth shut (hey, I was 12 years old at the time, so what did I know), apparently now USA is heading the same way. Slowly, but surely.
      And they have the guts to "condemn" China for the "great internet firewall" ? Talk about hypocrisy.

      Just goes to show, in all human forms of gov't, whoever HAS the power is the one least worthy to HAVE it in the first place.
      • by Pharmboy (216950) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @07:40AM (#16655651) Journal
        And they have the guts to "condemn" China for the "great internet firewall" ?

        It seems to me that the government isn't trying to control ideas, it is trying to compete in the market place of ideas. Just because the Pentagon will issue some press releases, this doesn't stop you, me or anyone else from putting our ideas out there as well. It seems to me that it is the government's DUTY to release information if they think the news is reporting false information. We can still choose to research it, compare it to other sources, and accept or reject it.

        I didn't see anywhere in the article that every US citizen was being forced to watch these new media channels, or being forced to accept the information as the truth. Funny, while I am as skeptical as they come when it comes to any government, I am not afraid of letting them release their response to news reports. Kinda fits in with the whole idea of free speech.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Tom (822)
      What, are we afraid of ideas?

      No, even though Bush actually meant it to be the "War on Ideas", his press corp did not catch his latest mis-pronounciation, so it's the "War of Ideas" now.
  • by Cordath (581672) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:28AM (#16654933)
    I, for one, have been plagued by crimethink. Historically I have been unable to bellyfeel the blackwhite of this administration. No longer! May this glorious new program free us *all* from the perils of oldthink!
  • Yeah right! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by demon_2k (586844)
    You mean that they keep track of what people know and seal the leaks?
  • Well, it would be very good to have inaccuracies and falsehoods reported in the media corrected. In the end, we all benefit from good information.

    However, the conflict of interest (the agency is run by the state, and will have to correct messages about the state) leads me to doubt that this will lead to actually correct news.
  • The unit will also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:36AM (#16654983)
    Correct the misunderstanding that Iraq did not have WMD
    Correct the misunderstanding that the Iraq war did not actually end when GB said it did
    Correct the misunderstanding that Iraq is not a nice place to be now
    Correct the misunderstanding that several US interrogation techniques are actually torture
    Corrent the misunderstanding that there are not hordes of rabid terrorists queueing up to kill each and every last one of us

    And we used to laugh at the attempts of TAS to 'enlighten us'
    • by LQ (188043) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:48AM (#16655045)
      Correct the misunderstanding ...
      that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11.
      • >that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11.
        But every fule knows that it was Saddam that orchestrated 9/11, trained the terrorists, paid for everything etc. Oh hang on, sorry, I was on the wrong channel.
    • by knipknap (769880) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @06:40AM (#16655329) Homepage
      Corrent the misunderstanding that there are not hordes of rabid terrorists queueing up to kill each and every last one of us

      Well, there may be soon, the administration is working on it. Terrorists are too helpful to ignore, they have worked beautifully in their favor before.

      I am a German, and we still get to see a LOT of information on the history of the second world war in school, including videos of the propaganda machine of that time, political strategies, and their mindless followers.
      Now what is happening in America is beginning to remind me more and more of the propaganda machine that I saw in those videos from before the second world war. It is a trend that has gained intensity over the last couple of years. Whenever you tuned into US national news during the Iraq war, it's been a display of the technological advancement of the war machinery and one-sided government-friendly reporting. 50% airtime for one side, 50% for the other? It simply does not happen in popular media.

      My point is: The goverment has now started to broaden the definition of terrorism, so these things will give them even more power. If you control public opinion, democracy is not much different from a monarchy. When more power is given to anybody, the greed for more power will grow. In my opinion, it is not a question of whether the power will be abused. It is a vicious circle and only a matter of time.
      • by toetagger1 (795806) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @08:15AM (#16655855)
        I'm German, and have been living in the US for 9 years. The day I came here, I noticed what you said, and I am reminded of it everywhere I go in the US. And yes, 9 years ago Clinton was in power, and I was afraid of the groupthink mentality then too.

        However, the one thing that makes the US more of a monarchy than a democracy, is that you have the son of a former president as the commander in chief. And the wife of another former president is looking to run for president at the next election.

        The US is not a democracy in the terms of people CHOOSE their leaders, its a democracy in the terms of people THINK they choose their leaders.

        And if you get to know the political system in the US a bit closer, it becomes clear that the choices people think they have, are actually very carefully screened and selected by the most powerful parties in the country. This opens the door wide for a puppet government, where the president is a prominent public figure, and the policy is done by players in the background. Look for Cheyney to run for President in 2 years!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by argStyopa (232550)
        blah blah blah...the US government is starting to look like Nazis...blah blah blah

        What's so ironic is that at the same time you point the finger at the US government propaganda efforts, I'm certain that you believe YOUR media is objective.

        I've never seen people so willing to swallow unquestioning propaganda by the Left - I'm not sure if it's not some psychological knee jerk against the pervasive guilt of your older generations, or some deep Teutonic need to be told what to think (possbly both). Since the f
    • by suv4x4 (956391)

      Correct the misunderstanding that Iraq did not have WMD
      Correct the misunderstanding that the Iraq war did not actually end when GB said it did
      Correct the misunderstanding that Iraq is not a nice place to be now
      Correct the misunderstanding that several US interrogation techniques are actually torture
      Correct the misunderstanding that there are not hordes of rabid terrorists queueing up to kill each and every last one of us

      I... I had to save this this as a TXT file and compress it... to see what compression ra

  • by Filik (578890) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:38AM (#16654985)
    ...we are effectively loosing.

    This rapid walk away from democracy in the name of democracy is frightning .

    • Do you think that those in power in democratic nations want to keep democracy? Possibly the only part of democracy they want to keep is the appearance that the populace have any influence in government.

      These units, as pointed out elsewhere, have always existed. The revealance of this unit is probably intended as a sop to the sheeple - if we public admit that we have a propaganda corps, then we can't have anything to hide on that front, right? They're on "our side", right?
      • by tibike77 (611880)
        "Possibly the only part of democracy they want to keep is the appearance that the populace have any influence in government."

        Excuse me, but since WHEN did "the people" have ANYTHING to say in any government of a "large" country, ever ?
        Even today, the most self-acclaimed democracy (USA) is NOT a "democracy" at all, but a democratic REPUBLIC.
        The difference, ever so subtle, is that "the people" can only "elect" those they want to SPEAK FOR THEM, instead of speaking for themselves.

        So the more you keep the fa
        • by Halo1 (136547)

          Excuse me, but since WHEN did "the people" have ANYTHING to say in any government of a "large" country, ever ?

          Well, the EU is not a country, but we as an NGO composed of "the people" surely had quite an influence on the software patents debate in Europe. And yes, there was a lot of undemocratic crap [ffii.org] happening. But it's too fatalistic to think you can't have influence or even win. It does cost a lot of effort (I and several others basically spent two or even more years of our life on almost only this),

        • by quigonn (80360)
          How is democracy "even more flawed that communism"?

          I think you don't have even the slightest understanding of parliamentary democracy, which you only characterize as a "facade" as opposed to direct democracy. It works like this (at least here in Europe): people elect people and/or parties. Those people and/or parties with the most approval then form some kind of parliament, being the legislative power in the country. These people/parties are elected by the people (usually) because of what agenda, politics,
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      But who says you're becoming your enemies in order to fight them? Couldn't it just be a power grab for the sake of doing a power grab, with the whole "War on Terror" thing just being the excuse used to get away with it? If that's the case, there's a very good reason to make sure the "War on Terror" is never won, because that would take away the excuse for grabbing power.
  • by citanon (579906) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:39AM (#16654997)
    Has there been any instance in our nation's military history where we've won a war without a successful propaganda effort? From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to WWII and Vietnam, we have won wars where propaganda was relatively successful and lost when it was not.

    People who think that the military doing propaganda is wrong/evil/unprecedented have never taken an honest look at history.

    Get over it people, this is not 1984, this is trying to do a much scaled back version of what we have always done in the past.

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:50AM (#16655057)
      The question is, though, whether this "war" is supposed to be won or if it's supposed to be running. The war on (insert idea) cannot be won. You can't wage a successful, finite war on an idea. A "war" on terror or drugs is a "war" that you cannot win with firepower.

      That's what is being suggested, though. People are sent to the place where whatever idea is fought, they die there and nothing is gained. You can't gain ground in this battle. There is no big leader, no key figure, no enemy headquarter to be conquered to end the battle.

      Ralleying your population behind a war against a common enemy is a necessity. But this time the war has become an end in itself, it's not the means to the end. The war on (idea) is not fought to end (idea), because it cannot end it. The goal is simply to strengthen the economy, to reduce unemployment (as hard as it sounds, but killing people (or having them killed) reduces your workforce...) and to distract the population from other problems.

      And a war with these goals cannot be won. It never was in history.
      • by quigonn (80360)
        A "war" on [...] drugs is a "war" that you cannot win with firepower.

        You can. You just need to take the right ones. Speed [wikipedia.org] has been quite successful in the past, and Modafinil [wikipedia.org] seems to be the latest fad.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to WWII and Vietnam, we have won wars where propaganda was relatively successful and lost when it was not.

      People who think that the military doing propaganda is wrong/evil/unprecedented have never taken an honest look at history.''

      Well, it depends. Maybe some wars _shouldn't_ be won?
    • by MathFox (686808)
      From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to WWII and Vietnam, we have won wars where propaganda was relatively successful and lost when it was not.
      Are you applying for a job at the "Pentagon counterinformation service" or did they allready hire you?
    • That would be all fine and dandy (actually, it wouldn't, since wartime propoganda still propagates racism and jingoism), except that we aren't at war. We haven't been since 1945, and no, Congress authorizing use of force is not a declaration of war. If the justification for war (or "war" in this case) isn't good enough for the people to support it then that indicates that the people making the decisions have motives contrary to the wellbeing of the people. The secrecy and "correction of falsehoods" just se
    • True, propaganda has such a negative connotation. Propaganda is defined as "the organized circulation by a political group, etc of doctrine, information, misinformation, rumour or opinion, intended to influence public feeling, raise public awareness, bring about reform, etc.". So, given that definition, anything communicated publicly by the Government is propaganda.
    • Sort of agree but another angle is that in the past, your average Joe had very little access to media/news sources other than the daily papers so feeding them propaganda was easier and less obvious.
      Now anyone can google up a whole bunch of views on an event and see the spin a government or company put on something. The result is we're all far more savvy about this things, resent being manipulated so obviously and less trusting of the Powers That Be overall.
    • "you can't win without propaganda" is... propaganda. Because you give the impression, without saying it, that propaganda is a somewhat important factor, the truth being: everyone does at least a little propaganda to keep morale high against the bad effects of a war, and one of the factions usually wins.

      History? fascist italy and communist bloc, FULL of full time propaganda, were fast to convert to being friends of USA and capitalism. So, your theory is wrong. Not that it's a theory, it's just saying "the en
    • by Fred_A (10934)

      Has there been any instance in our nation's military history where we've won a war without a successful propaganda effort? From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to WWII and Vietnam, we have won wars where propaganda was relatively successful and lost when it was not.

      Helloooo ! You are not at war.

      Just in case you didn't know.

      Using your troops as an occupation/"police" force doesn't qualify as a war. There is no opposing nation. And nobody ever declared war, on one side or the other.

    • All propaganda is based on deception and lies but also on truth. E.g. stating that Hitler was an insane person bent on subjugating all "minor races" is rather close to the truth and thus fighting him is a good thing, whereas stating that Saddam was sitting there with his Al Quaeda buddies just plotting an imminent attack using anthrax, sarin, mustard gas, a dirty bomb and/or a real nucilar bomb to kill US citizens is a bad form of propaganda especially when it leaves its perpetrators open for attack once it
  • Does that mean editors for Fox News should put their lawyers on speeddial?
    • by quigonn (80360)
      Actually, Fox News is the only news station that gets "The Truth, The Absolute Truth and nothing but The Truth Seal of Quality" certification by the Pentagon News Correction Unit.
    • by pryonic (938155)
      Maybe they'll finally punish Fox News for making mistakes like reporting that Mark Foley is a democrat [bradblog.com] during their reporting of the scandal...

      But seen as Fox support the current administration I doubt it...

  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:45AM (#16655027) Homepage Journal
    FTFA:

    ``The Bush administration does not believe the true picture of events in Iraq has been made public, the BBC's Justin Webb in Washington says.''

    Well, I don't believe so, either. If the true picture had been made public right from the beginning, popular support for the war would probably have been so low that the government wouldn't have dared to go to war in the first place.
  • Its news not law (Score:3, Insightful)

    by el_womble (779715) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:48AM (#16655043) Homepage
    I'm all for this. As long as they don't demand that newspapers publish their stories and only their stories (or more likely that the major netwoprks get lazy and just go to them to get their stories) or make it illegal to believe anything else, this is democracy and freedom in action.

    Knowing what the military want you to think is fascinating, providied its balanced by the free press. Having the news delivered by different agendas is what makes watching modern history unfold so exciting and makes it easier to get down to the facts and through the bullshit.
  • Governments involved in military operations organise to produce media in support of said operations?! Holy shit, say it's not so! We should name this most recent phenomenon after a mid 1980s German electropop outfit!

    That said, the Pentagon has more-or-less admitted "Yes, we are actively making... stuff named after a mid 1980s German electropop outfit" which in the eyes of many destroys all credibility of anything they produce (true or not). They may well have shot themselves in the foot.

    In the meantime, I'l

  • Firstly, the fact that terrorists and insurgents can make stuff up faster than we (and here I mean "we" as in the US or just, in general, non-terrorists and non-insurgents, for sake of argument) can counter with fact is probably a true statement. It's MUCH tougher to actually back things up with facts than just wild accusations and propoganda. That's for sure.

    However, the idea that insurgents (note the lack of the word "terrorist" in D. Cheney's rhetoric, they've finally lost that argument) are using the
    • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @08:13AM (#16655839)
      Firstly, the fact that terrorists and insurgents can make stuff up faster than we

      Well, you don't need to make up "the Marines bombed your house and killed your sister, father, and daughter. Join us in fighting them!" People aren't swarming to fight the US so much because of made-up stuff, but because there are about 150,000 armed-to-the-teeth foreign military, and a few tens of thousands of foreign paramilitary, killing their fellow Iraqis every day, with complete immunity from Iraqi law. It's true that if all Iraqis laid down their arms and did exactly what the foreign occupiers told them to, without hesitation or complaint, with averted eyes and a cowed demeanor, no one would be shot, but there's that pesky "pride" thing that, though a virtue in Americans, is a character flaw in everyone else on the planet.

      it's easier to hate wealthy nations than it is to reform a poor government run by corrupt theologues.

      Well, to be fair, the West has financed and armed many of the corrupt dictators that kept their economies in a state of, well, shit. It's not as if they were free nations that decided to hate us because we were free. Saddam was put in charge by Britain. Other examples abound. No, I'm not saying "the west is evil," only that part of their list of grievances against us is that we have supported dictators in their countries, and actually impeded democracy. See Iran as an example. We overthrew their democracy and installed a dictator--somehow, though they hate us, I don't think it's because of our freedom. No, I don't think their nations would blossom into post-Enlightenment bliss if we pulled our money and influence out, but we have been a very prominent part of the problem for about a century. Even if the problem would have existed without us (as it probably would have), that doesn't negate the fact that we have dirt up to the elbow.

  • great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by illuminatedwax (537131) <stdrange AT alumni DOT uchicago DOT edu> on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:59AM (#16655111) Journal
    This has been a great eight years! I always wanted to know what it was like to live in China, and now we keep getting closer every day! :)
    • by tibike77 (611880)
      In other news, European Union representatives claim they will no longer automatically accept political refugees from the former US of A, on the grounds that "the French hate them too much already".
      A triage process that will include the stereotype pannel of one Frenchman, one Brit and one German asking the typical "oh no, yet another American" questions will separate those that can file for refugee status from the ones forwarded to India instead.
      [/sarcasm]
  • BBC is reporting that a newly created Pentagon unit has a mandate to fight 'inaccurate' news stories

    I've never known a news story where I was personally involved to be reported accurately. I don't mean political bias, but basic things like names, dates, and the order of events.

    Journalists are especially bad at reporting quotes accurately and "harden them up" by missing out important reservations. Journo: "Will this disaster happen?" Interviewee, "Well, yes, if nobody does anothing to fix things." As r

    • by cpghost (719344)

      I concur! It happens all the time, also on occasions where I had prime facie evidence that the facts were reported... let's say, inaccurately, to put it mildly.

      Amazingly, it very seldom happens out of malice or bad intentions. Nearly every time news reporters distort the facts out of sheer incompetence and pure carelessness. Sometimes time constraints (time to publish or time to broadcast) also contribute: rushing out a story becomes much more important that double checking (or single cheking!) one's sour

  • A number of corrections needed in this thread but can we put this on a fairly low priority for amendment ( readership is generally apathetic
    and without influence ). Particular attention to claims this is a new department ( change to show its nothing new and has always been here ) also a number of incorrect statements about the glorious leadership require revision.

    Thanks, update the log once the work is completed and flag for on-going sporadic monitoring and retroactive corrections.

    Mr Smith.
    Dept Of Truth
  • And this was a plot line, we'd all think 'What a bunch of crap, that would never happen here.'
    Inch by inch, week by week, something very scary is happening and more worryingly, nowhere near enough people are noticing or even care.
  • BBC source? (Score:3, Funny)

    by SeaFox (739806) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @06:42AM (#16655339)
    Are there any American media stories about this or have they already been corrected?
  • Seems like a convenient way to circumvent campaign funding laws. Now the GOP can tap the whole Defense budget to finance their ads. Great move Karl.
  • by MCTFB (863774) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @07:07AM (#16655441)
    In fact, there would be a problem if the Defense Department (or any other government bureaucracy that disseminates news to the public) did not do something like this.

    In the old days, respectable news outlets could be counted on to check their sources and accurately report the news coming out of the defense department. The number of organizations deliving news to the populace was few, so if inaccurate information was given to the public, all it took was a phone call from the defense department press liason to a news outlet to straighten out the facts so that the news outlet had the opportunity to report the defense department's official version of events.

    Now with the internet and bloggers on all sides of the political spectrum from Matt Drudge to Arianna Huffington, the loudest and most obnoxious rumors based strictly on hearsay from "unnamed sources" often become "facts" in the minds of the populace at large, due to the fact that a lie told often enough, often becomes truth in the minds of the public.

    And with respect to governments and other international organizations that are hostile to the interests of the United States, including terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda or Hezbollah, they have no moral or ethical qualms about feeding their politicized version of events to unprofessional amateur journalists that are desperate for attention and website hits, also known as "Bloggers".

    Now, does that mean that the defense department does not actively put out propaganda of its own which is of dubious nature when it comes to its "truthiness"? Of course not, and how much "truth" you believe comes out of the defense department mostly comes down to how much you trust the defense department in the first place. If you are a hardcore liberal, then you probably are more likely to believe Osama Bin Laden's propaganda than anything Donald Rumseld says, and if you are of the neo-con flavor, then anything Donald Rumsfeld or George Bush or any of the generals say is gospel to you.

    Nevertheless, it is ridiculous to get all worked up about whether or not the defense department is working to counter the propaganda of political interests both domestically and abroad who are willing to lie incessantly about the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan because they feel that the worse America does in Iraq, the more political brownie points their favored party gets in the long run.

    The sad thing is that the people on both ends of the political spectrum will pass second hand "facts" from dubious sources around so much between each other that eventually they begin to believe their own bullshit and then when the real facts and truth come to the surface, they are unwilling to accept them (sort of like how the 9/11 World Trade Center conspiracy theories have been debunked so many times, yet many people continue to believe they were controlled demolitions by the Israeli Mossad).

    Get your news from multiple and diverse news outlets and any reasonably intelligent person can sort out the bullshit from the facts and get a general idea of what the real truth happens to be. Of course, that requires more effort than listening to just one news outlet or another that tends to report the news in a way that just reaffirms your existing world view, but at least you will be more likely to spot propaganda when you see it.
    • by fantomas (94850) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @07:28AM (#16655587)

      "In the old days, respectable news outlets could be counted on to check their sources and accurately report the news coming out of the defense department."



      Alas I think you're a misguided romantic. Can I ask what experience you have of 'news outlets' in 'the old days'?

      I am afraid I am deeply suspicious of anybody who tries to tell me they have solid facts after they start with "in the old days".

      In the UK this is a bit close to Tory MPs telling us about warm beer and cricket on sunny Sunday afternoons while coppers cycled past and clipped kids round the ear for scrumping apples from Farmer Giles' orchard. I guess in the USA these 'old days' were when kids ate blueberry pie and fished in the hollow and were called Huckleberry Finn or something.

      Define "in the old days" please. 1980? 1950? 1785? (last being first publication date of the Times)

  • vVoilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta held as a votive, not in vai
  • I think you folks are missing what's being said by not reading past the spin: it's not just about "inaccurate news stories" and "enemy terrorists"; from their point of view anyone who disagrees with them is an enemy, and they're talking about "new media", not just "news stories":

    The newly-established unit would use "new media" channels to push its message and "set the record straight", Pentagon press secretary Eric Ruff said.
    [...]
    "We're looking at being quicker to respond to breaking news," he said.

    "

Round Numbers are always false. -- Samuel Johnson

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