Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wire: Stars and Stripes Slams Pentagon, Alleges Attempt to Shape War Coverage

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2009 -- Newswire services today reported that contrary to the insistence of Pentagon officials this week that they are not rating the work of reporters covering U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Stars and Stripes has obtained documents that prove that reporters’ coverage is being graded as "positive," "neutral" or "negative."

Moreover, Stars and Stripes says the documents -- recent confidential profiles of the work of individual reporters prepared by a Pentagon contractor -- indicate that the ratings are intended to help Pentagon image-makers manipulate the types of stories that reporters produce while they are embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Stars and Stripes noted the following details:
One reporter [. . .] is rated in a Pentagon report as “neutral to positive” in his coverage of the U.S. military. Any negative stories he writes “could possibly be neutralized” by feeding him mitigating quotes from military officials.

Another reporter, from a TV station, provides coverage from a “subjective angle,” according to his Pentagon profile. Steering him toward covering “the positive work of a successful operation” could “result in favorable coverage.”

The new revelations of the Pentagon’s attempts to shape war coverage come as senior Defense Department officials are acknowledging increasing concern over recent opinion polls showing declining popular American support for the Afghan war.

“The purpose of this memo is to provide an assessment of [a reporter from a major U.S. newspaper] … in order to gauge the expected sentiment of his work while on an embed mission in Afghanistan,” reads the preamble to one of the reporter profiles prepared for the Pentagon by The Rendon Group, a controversial Washington-based public relations firm.
See link below for details.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: Files prove Pentagon is profiling reporters

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