Live from Baghdad, it’s Bush TV!

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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Live from
Baghdad, it’s Bush TV!

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