Mission Creep Reaches U.S. Newsrooms

"Over the past five years, the money the [U.S.] military spends on winning hearts and minds at home and abroad has grown by 63 percent, to at least $4.7 billion this year," reports the Associated Press. "That's almost as much as it spent on body armor for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2004 and 2006. ... This year, the Pentagon will employ 27,000 people just for recruitment, advertising and public relations -- almost as many as the total 30,000-person work force in the State Department." The Texas-based Joint Hometown News Service offers "glowing stories written by Pentagon staff," accredited to the authors without their military titles. "In 2009, Hometown News plans to put out 5,400 press releases, 3,000 television releases" -- presumably, video news releases -- "and 1,600 radio interviews" -- presumably, audio news releases. The military operation's website lists participating newspaper, radio and television outlets, in all 50 U.S. states. In Madison, Wisconsin, where the Center for Media and Democracy is based, the Capital Times, Wisconsin State Journal, WIBA AM/FM, WMLI FM, WHPN-TV, WISC-TV, WKOW-TV, WMSN-TV and WMTV-TV are all listed as clients of the military "news" service.