Planting The News?

Wow! The FT today has a very long and extensive story about how the US military have been ‘placing’ stories in the Iraqi press. While I don’t disagree with the observation by one commentator in that “I don’t think that there’s anything inherently evil or morally wrong with it” in a war situation, I do agree with another Pentagon spokesman quoted who argues that it is more than just efficacy which is at stake:

“Here we are trying to create the principles of democracy in Iraq. Every speech we give in that country is about democracy. And we’re breaking all the first principles of democracy when we’re doing it,” said a senior Pentagon official who opposes the practice of planting stories in the Iraqi media.

All this takes me back to my Afoe post last week about alleged suggestions that it might be a good idea to bomb the Doha headquarters of the Arabic satellite TV channel al-Jazeera. The point is, you don’t bomb people just because you disagree with their opinions. That in fact is terrorism, not anti-terrorism, and if you want a free and independent pressthen that is what you have to accept, that it won’t necessarily agree with, or support you. The big danger is that the official Iraqi press loses credibility through this kind of thing, and as a consequence the fragile Iraqi democracy also loses credibility.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".