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Pentagon Reveals News Correction Unit 757

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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  • Ministry of Truth (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:23AM (#16654909)
    The Ministry of Truth, perhaps?

    Next target will be all those inaccurate history books in the libraries.
  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GodLogiK ( 650517 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:24AM (#16654917)
    so what's to be done? We always knew this would happen. What can we do about it?
  • Yeah right! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by demon_2k ( 586844 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:33AM (#16654963) Journal
    You mean that they keep track of what people know and seal the leaks?
  • 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.
  • Re:The other war (Score:3, Interesting)

    by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @07:51AM (#16655721) Journal

    I don't believe that the purpose of this new agency is to provide accurate information. I base this on the fact that it will often not be in the interests of this agency to provide accurate information. You only have to look at the way casualty figures and coverage of the wounded has been understated and downplayed. The GP is absolutely right in saying that the propaganda war is very important. Where I disagree strongly with him is what parties it is important for. It is important to the Pentagon and the government. Obviously if information can be distorted to reflect better on these parties, then that is in their interests to do so.

    Now if the GP's point was that the media is providing innacurate information that is slanted against these parties as you say, then I agree it is just as bad as innacurate information on behalf of these parties. But I don't believe that is what was meant. I don't believe because he describes it as a propoganda war about who blinks first. He also suffers from the confused thinking that's been put about by the US government in talking blandly about terrorists as one mass, as if Saudi members of Al-Quaeda are one and the same as Hezbollah or palestinian bombers or the Iranian government. How people fighting against an invading army (US in Iraq) are reasonably described as terrorists is beyond me.

    The purpose of this agency is not to provide accurate information and I don't believe that was the OP's belief either.
  • evidence (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Dmack_901 ( 923883 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @09:57AM (#16656705)
    I welcome this, so long as they cite sources/evidence for me to double check.
  • 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).

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?