This just depresses the hell out of me. The L.A. Times has this story today about how the U.S. goverment is covertly funding efforts to place pro-U.S. stories, written by U.S. troops, in Iraqi newspapers. Um, if you can't convince reporters to write positive stories about the war, maybe that's because the stories aren't actually all that positive.
"Here we are trying to create the principles of democracy in Iraq.Every speech we give in that country is about democracy. And we'rebreaking all the first principles of democracy when we're doing it,"said a senior Pentagon official who opposes the practice of plantingstories in the Iraqi media."
I know people have this common complaint about the media, that reporters have an agenda, that they only focus on the negative, that they're biased toward one point of view. While I won't try to argue that reporters are all unbiased, I will argue that my job, as a reporter, is to report the truth as I see it. My loyalty is not to the government, or any insitution, but to the truth of a situation. And often that truth is at odds with the way the official spokespeople want to spin it.
It should be disturbing to any citizen to find out that a government, or a corporation, or a special interest has hijacked the media. I mean, it's one thing if the media outlet in question wears that bias on their sleeves. If these papers ran stories from American soldiers and properly identified them as such, that would be different. But that's not what's happening. The government is disguising stories as independent journalism. That's just wrong.
Of course, it's not much different from what the government has been doing right here at home. Ugh. No wonder trust in the media is so low.