The Los Angeles Times reports:
U.S. Military Covertly Pays to Run Stories in Iraqi Press
Troops write articles presented as news reports. Some officers object to the practice.
By Mark Mazzetti and Borzou Daragahi, Times Staff Writers
"WASHINGTON — As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.
The articles, written by U.S. military 'information operations' troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country.
Though the articles are basically factual, they present only one side of events and omit information that might reflect poorly on the U.S. or Iraqi governments, officials said. Records and interviews indicate that the U.S. has paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of such articles, with headlines such as 'Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism,' since the effort began this year."
If things are so good on the ground in Iraq, why do we have to lie to the Iraqis? The question is merely rhetorical. As Chris Matthews pointed out on Hardball yesterday, if this deception had worked, then copies of those fake stories in the Iraqi press would soon be touted as evidence of how well the Iraqis thought of our occupation. Bulsh lies to us and the Iraqis, but when your country is going up in flames around you, it may make you, well, kind of skeptical. Are they going to believe us or their eyes?