The Sword Employs the Pen

The Pentagon is investigating "the military's practice of paying journalists to write articles and commentary ... and also looking more broadly at Pentagon activities that might involve inappropriate payments to journalists," writes Associated Press. CNN reported on Pentagon involvement with two news websites, Southeast European Times (focused on the Balkans) and Magharebia (focused on North Africa). Some 50 journalists were paid by the Pentagon through a private contractor, Anteon Corporation, for contributions to the Balkans site. A not "immediately obvious" disclaimer on the sites discloses that they are "sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defence." A U.S. military spokesperson said of the North African site, "It's not disinformation. Every printed word is the truth."