After the Los Angeles Times reported that the Pentagon, through the Lincoln Group, was planting "favorable stories about the war and the rebuilding effort" in Iraqi newspapers, military spokespeople "offered a mixed message" about the program. It's "an important part of countering misinformation ... by insurgents," Lt. Col. Barry Johnson said, from Iraq. Gen. Peter Pace, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed concern that it could "be detrimental to the proper growth of democracy" in Iraq. Media organizations weren't so conflicted. The International Center for Journalists' vice-president called the program "indefensible" and the World Press Freedom Committee's director called it "unacceptable." But, as the Washington Post wrote, "such information warfare is not new to Iraq." In fact, the Lincoln Group's "payments to sympathetic 'temporary spokespersons' who would not necessarily be identified as working for the coalition" is a standard PR technique.
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