Baghdad Press Club Membership Has Its Privileges

"A U.S. investigation into allegations that the American military is buying positive coverage in the Iraqi media has expanded to examine a press club founded and financed by the U.S. Army," reports USA Today. The Baghdad Press Club was created in 2004, "to promote progress amid the violence and chaos of Iraq." A military spokesperson said "members are not required nor asked to write favorably" about the United States. According to a reporter at the U.S.-funded television station Alhurra, "press club members were invited to cover U.S.-led reconstruction efforts, such as restored sewage plants and newly-opened schools." Print reporters were paid $25 for each story, or $45 if the piece included photos, while television reporters were paid $50 per story. A Lincoln Group spokesperson said the firm "was not involved with the Baghdad Press Club."