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Good News, Bad News, Old News, Fake News

December 2nd, 2005

So there’s a story out that a military contractor with strong conservative ties has been paying Iraqi journalists to spin news favorably to the U.S. in the Iraqi press. The White House, of course, is feigning ignorance and concern, but they’re not fooling anyone.

My immediate reaction to this was, this is a surprise? While it may have had a different direction previously, Bush administration press manipulation in Iraq is old hat:

[April 05, 2004] BAGHDAD, Iraq — Inside the marble-floored palace hall that serves as the press office of the U.S.-led coalition, Republican Party operatives lead a team of Americans who promote mostly good news about Iraq.

Dan Senor, a former press secretary for Spencer Abraham, the former Michigan Republican senator who’s now energy secretary, heads the office packed with former Bush campaign workers, political appointees and ex-Capitol Hill staff members.

More than one-third of the U.S. civilian workers in the press office have GOP ties, running an enterprise that critics see as an outpost of Bush’s re-election effort.

So we’re supposed to be surprised that Bush is using the press in Iraq to spin things the way he wants? As this story demonstrates, he’s been doing it from the very beginning–it’s just his audience that’s changed. Now he’s trying to use the press to spin the news to Iraqis instead of to Americans.

And let’s not forget the the blatantly fake news reports that Bush generates here, not to mention the fact that they’ve been paying off reporters in the U.S. for some time now.

So forgive me if I am not in the least bit surprised about this news. Anyone with an eye open would recognize it as standard operating procedure for this White House. But if it’ll stir up antipathy to Bush and finally get someone to investigate and do something, then maybe this is to good purpose. But let’s not pretend it’s new, okay?

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