Media Watchdogs Caught Napping

In the run up to war in Iraq, foreign news websites are seeing large
volumes of traffic from America, as U.S. citizens increasingly seek news
coverage about the coming war. "Given how timid most U.S. news organizations have been in challenging the White House position on Iraq, I'm not surprised if Americans are turning to foreign news services for a perspective on the conflict that goes beyond freedom fries," said Deborah Branscom, a Newsweek contributing editor, who keeps a weblog devoted to media issues.


Bush League Diplomacy: The Empire Strikes Out

As PR Watch reported last year, the Bush administration has always intended to attack Iraq no matter what the results of UN inspections. The US's expensive post-911 propaganda and PR campaign to win foreign friends and change minds about US policy has predictably failed given Bush's bullying insistence on going to war. The Washington Post notes that "Six months after President Bush first appeared before the United Nations
and urged a confrontation with Iraq, the United States appears to have lost


A New Definition of "Innocent"

The United States and France were the source in the 1980s for "all the foreign germ samples ... used to create the biological weapons that are still believed to be in Iraq's arsenal, according to American officials and foreign diplomats who have reviewed Iraq's latest weapons declaration to the United Nations. ... The bioweapons declaration was obtained by Gary B.


Head Games with Media's Help

So confident is the U.S. military about a swift victory in Iraq that plans are already afoot to fly a CNN correspondent and a BBC reporter to the southern Iraqi city of Basra the moment it falls. "I'm not doing this so that the CNN correspondent gets another $100,000 in their salary," he said. "I'm doing it because the regime watches CNN. I want them to see what is happening." The plan is part of a psychological warfare campaign that the British officer called "white pys-ops." "Yes, we are using them," he said.


TV Networks Continue to Ban Ads for Peace

"MTV has refused to accept a commercial opposing a war in
Iraq, citing a policy against advocacy spots that it says
protects the channel from having to run ads from any
cash-rich interest group whose cause may be loathsome. ... 'It is irresponsible for news organizations not to accept
ads that are controversial on serious issues, assuming they
are not scurrilous or in bad taste,' said Alex Jones,
director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press,
Politics and Public Policy at Harvard. 'In the world we


Reporters Warned to Leave Baghdad

Defense Department officials are warning reporters to clear out of Baghdad, saying this war will be far more intense than the 1991 gulf war. "If your template is Desert Storm, you've got to imagine something much, much different," said Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Pentagon says it is warning journalists in the interest of their safety, but some critics see the heads-up as an attempt to control the news, with the goal of minimizing politically damaging images of suffering Iraqi civilians.


Bill Kristol Is Going To Get His War

"Five years ago ... The
Weekly Standard
made the broad, seemingly preposterous
assertion that America was entitled and even compelled to
engineer regime change in Iraq. But under the current
administration, driven by 9/11, that contention has become
conventional wisdom. ... 'I am impressed by their success,' said Senator John


No More French Fries for Congress

News outlets are gleefully reporting the renaming of French Fries in Congressional cafeterias, now to be called "Freedom Fries." (Parents are no doubt telling their kids, "Behave and get those Freedom Fries out of your nose or we're leaving right now!") The TV media are running with this story as part of the cheerleading buildup for a US attack on Iraq. No word yet whether European governments will retaliate by renaming All-American Hot Dogs as "Dogs of War."


Pentagon Ready For Primetime

U.S. Military public affairs officers at Central Command in Qatar are putting the finishing touches on their media center. USA Today reports that a $250,000 briefing stage has been shipped in from Chicago at a cost of $47,000. "Painted battleship-gray and backed by a 38-foot repeating world map, the set has five plasma screens, two rear screen projectors, two podiums and five digital clocks, including one giving Baghdad time. Behind the set is a state-of-the-art control room that requires at least three service members to operate," USA Today writes.



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