"Impartial information is increasingly hard to come by in Iraq," reports Fiona O'Brien. "As fighting has intensified on the ground, U.S. authorities have stepped up a separate battle for public opinion, tightly controlling the flow of information to journalists whose ability to move freely in Iraq has been limited by increasing danger." Although U.S. military officials refuse to discuss Iraqi civilian casualties, other reports suggest that hundreds have died in the past week in Fallujah alone.
A senior defense advisor to the Australian government says she was fired after refusing to write media briefings that supported claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. "I felt like I was part of the propaganda machine. As a public servant I shouldn't be expected to write propaganda," said engineer and analyst Jane Errey. Rather than participate in pro-war briefings, she took a leave of absence and has now been terminated permanently.
Former navy public affairs office Lt. John Oliveira told Democracy Now! that he didn't realize how stressful his military oath would be for him when aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt last year. "I had to get on television every day to talk to the American people and the international public and continue to sell them on the administration's policies, which I did not believe in," Oliveira said. He oversaw embedded journalists on the aircraft carrier, which at the time was in the eastern Mediterranean. "I'm [now] doing what I can to support our troops.
The General Accounting Office is investigating whether the Department of Health and Human Services' video news releases touting the new Medicare law constitute illegal "covert propaganda." Some PR pros think it's much ado about nothing: "VNRs have been around since the dawn of TV," said the
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) has released a report and database that identifies 237 specific misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq uttered by the five Administration officials most responsible for providing public information and shaping public opinion on Iraq: President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.
"The former Iraqi exile group that gave the Bush administration exaggerated and fabricated intelligence on Iraq also fed much of the same information to newspapers, news agencies and magazines in the United States, Britain and Australia," Knight Ridder reports.
"We have won without lies," chanted the crowd outside the Madrid headquarters of Spain's socialist party, PSOE, which swept to victory in the country's March 14 elections. "Spin was indeed at the centre of PSOE's extraordinary, unexpected triumph," notes reporter David Mathieson. "There is no word in Spanish for 'spin,' but there has been no absence of the practice in Madrid over the last year - and especially in the past few days. The spectacular gains made by PSOE ...
The White House is marking "this Friday's first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq with a week-long media blitz arguing that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was essential to combating global terrorism and making the United States safer." Another goal is to set "realistic expectations" for the rebuilding of Iraq.
"When David Kay, the CIA's former chief weapons inspector in Iraq, announced earlier this year that his team had found no stockpiled weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he touched off an explosion of blame, finger-pointing, denial, and hasty 'clarifications' about the extent and accuracy of the intelligence that the Bush Administration used to buttress its decision to invade Iraq. Kay's startling conclusion, though, came as no surprise to many analysts in the U.S.
The Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland has published a new study on "Media Coverage of Weapons of Mass Destruction," and the picture isn't pretty. "Most media outlets represented WMD as a monolithic menace, failing to adequately distinguish between weapons programs and actual weapons or to address the real differences among chemical, biological, nuclear, and radiological weapons," the report states.