December 04, 2005

Spinning To Victory?

E&P looks at the man behind Bush's new "Victory" buzzword. It seems much of Bush's latest speech, and much of his "Plan for Victory" document, was authored by Dr. Peter D. Feaver, a 43-year-old Duke University political scientist who joined the National Security Council staff as a special adviser in June. Feaver argues that the US public will continue to support the war in Iraq as long as they believe that victory is in sight.

For a more realistic view, here's Paul Krugman on Bush's "Plan for Victory":
It's simply the same old talking points - "victory in Iraq is a vital U.S. interest"; "failure is not an option" - repackaged in the style of a slide presentation for a business meeting.

It's an embarrassing piece of work. Yet it's also an important test for the news media.
Krugman de-constructs some blatant lies about progress in Iraq by way of example. He says the continued lies from the Bush administration exhibit contempt for both the public and the news media:
And why not? The truth is that the level of misrepresentation in this new document is no worse than that in a typical speech by President Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney. Yet for much of the past five years, many major news organizations failed to provide the public with effective fact-checking.

So Mr. Bush's new public relations offensive on Iraq is a test. Are the news media still too cowed, too addicted to articles that contain little more than dueling quotes to tell the public when the administration is saying things that aren't true? Or has the worm finally turned?
E&P also has more on those out-sourced US PsyOps in the Iraq Media:
A June 11, 2005, Washington Post article reported that the Pentagon had just awarded three contracts, potentially worth up to $300 million over five years (if the effort panned out), to three companies to handle "psychological operations" to improve foreign public opinion about the United States, particularly the military. The contract winners: Lincoln Group, Science Applications International Corporation, and SYColeman, Inc., a subsidiary of L-3 Communications.

O'Dwyer's, a leading trade publication in the public relations field, reported in July that BKSH & Associates, one part of the giant communications company, Burson-Marsteller's, had been hired by The Lincoln Group, "one of three firms selected last month by the U.S. Special Operations Command to wage psychological warfare on behalf of the Pentagon in Iraq and other hot spots. BKSH has experience on the Iraqi front earned from work for Ahmed Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress. Col. James Treadwell, director of the Joint Psychological Operations Support Element, said TLG was selected to develop 'cutting-edge types of media,' including radio/TV ads, documentaries, text messages, Internet spots and podcasts for the U.S. military."

BKSH & Associates is a Washington-based firm that provides government relations services for domestic and international clients. It's headed by Charles R. Black Jr., a leading Republican political strategist and former advisor to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
A few facts to chase right there, for anyone interested. Wonder who Arthur Chrenkoff is working for these days...?

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