Is more “good news”:
Shaping the Bush administration’s message on the Iraq war has taken on new fervor, just as anticipation is building for the September progress report from top military advisers.
For the Pentagon, getting out Iraq information will now include a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week Iraq Communications Desk that will pump out data from Baghdad — serving as what could be considered a campaign war room.
According to a memo circulated Thursday and obtained by The Associated Press, Dorrance Smith, assistant defense secretary for public affairs, is looking for personnel for what he called the high-priority effort to distribute Defense Department information on Iraq.***
The Pentagon dismissed suggestions that the communications desk will be a message machine or propaganda tool, and instead said it is being set up to gather and distribute information from eight time zones away in a more efficient and timely manner.
“I would not characterize it as a war room,” Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said Friday. “It’s far less sinister than that. It’s more like a library.”
I am fully willing to admit there is a chance I am wrong, and that things are going swimmingly in Iraq and that we are just about to turn the corner and peace and love and happiness are going to break out all over. Hell, I hope I am wrong. I hope all of this the past few years has not been a colossal waste, and I have no problem eating heaping helpings of crow if I am wrong. However, this sort of propaganda effort does not inspire confidence. In fact, quite the opposite.
All those reports of bad things going on- they don’t disappear if you pump out lots of good news. The basic statistics regarding life in Iraq do not change if you pump out stories about painted schools and markets that function some of the time (and even those reports are often dubious). No amount of happy fun talk about reclaimed streets due to massive troop deployment matters when the government is falling apart.
The problem is not that the good news is not being reported. The problem is that the bad news outweighs the good.