Live from Baghdad, it's Bush TV!

Pentagon gets around 'news filter' by starting own news outlet


| December 11, 2003


The Bush Administration has decided to stop whining about negative reporting on Iraq and simply begin its own news channel -- C-SPAN Baghdad -- with all information carefully chosen by the Department of Defense. The Pentagon hopes local news stations will use the live satellite feed for their news, reports Christopher Albritton, 'the Web's first fully reader-funded journalist-blogger,' on his weblog Back to Iraq 3.0. He writes that one of the most interesting things about the news channel is that it is run by the DoD and not the State Department. He suggests, 'it might be a clever legal hack getting around some pesky United States code forbidding domestic propaganda efforts, specifically, the Ban on Domestic Activities by the United States Information Agency.'

Mike Allen's Washington Post article about C-SPAN Baghdad does not mention the word propaganda, he says the station will 'make it easier for U.S. television stations to air government-authorized news about Iraq.' Thus, Albritton quotes reporting and communications law professor Joel Kaplan saying, 'It's up to the journalists to decide what is propaganda and what is not.' The American public, by this point, is used to 'government authorized news' yet it has been 'filtered' first-hand by journalists who are on the ground in Iraq, experiencing the conflict. As Albritton writes, 'By circumventing the journalists on the ground in Iraq, this DoD network insults the very idea of a free and independent press as a watchdog institution and as an agent of the American people.'
-- Joel Stonington

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