'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Good Old State-run Media

According to the AP, this April the Pentagon will launch its own news service covering the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq that is "intended to allow small media outlets in the United States and elsewhere to bypass what the Pentagon views as an increasingly combative press corps" -- because, lord knows, it's just too difficult to reign in the hardnosed mavericks on FOX News or the NYT's pitbull Judy Miller; they get on the poor Pentagon's case and never let go. Apparently, expelling reporters who don't toe the party line, just isn't enough to get the right story to Peoria and Muncie.

The project is called the Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System, or DVIDS. I wanted to link to the DVIDS website, but apparently it doesn't have one; if you go to the Third Army's site, for instance, there's oddly no mention of the most expensive program of this kind in military history. It'll work like this: military reporters will send stories -- print and video -- to a central office at Third Army headquarters in Atlanta. The central office will allow accredited news sources to access the stories via a password-protected website for free (What's a couple of free stories among friends? -- running a small town TV station is a tough racket and the Pentagon cares!). They've already bought the satellite terminals ... so this isn't a rumor -- it's going to happen.

The spokesman for the Kuwait-based US-led Coalition Land Forces Command had this to say:

[The American public] currently gets a pretty slanted picture. We want them to get an opportunity to see the facts as they exist, instead of getting information from people who aren't on the scene. We have an unfair advantage. We're going to be able to get closer to the incident and provide better spokespeople to give the right information. The important thing is that we provide the public with accurate information.

Nice quote there, buddy. Um... which is it you want to provide? The right information or accurate information? Well, this guy still has a couple of months to get his talking points straight... In the meantime were going to have to make do with the wrong information, I guess.

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