Pentagon Is Profiling Reporters

Via Stars and Stripes:

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.”

This is disturbing on so many levels. How can we trust the information that we are receiving regarding our soldiers. This is not a statement as to the truthfulness of the reporters, as the article goes on to state:

One reporter on the staff of one of America’s pre-eminent newspapers 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.”

They can neutralize coverage or steer reporters?

Of course both the Defense Department and The Rendon Group are denying that this is profiling. However, the contract clearly states that the purpose is “News Monitoring and Media Analysis“. What else could this information be utilized to accomplish?

They didn’t waste any time on this contract, it was signed on January 21, 2009 for an amount of $1.5 million. Our tax dollars at work – protecting the Administration from bad press.

This quote from a servicemember says it all:

“It’s troubling that the military is contracting a private PR firm, paid with U.S. taxpayer dollars, to profile individual reporters,” said one servicemember who declined to be identified for fear of official retribution. “It shows utter contempt for the Constitution, which we in the service pledge our lives to defend.”

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5 Comments

Filed under Obama, Soldiers

5 responses to “Pentagon Is Profiling Reporters

  1. This has been normal procedure ever since the military was forced to stop actively censoring the reports filed by journalists.

    It’s not a new phenomenon in any way shape or form. Why start complaining about it now?

  2. speakmymindblog

    Yes, it is. This policy was ‘supposedly’ stopped and according to the Defense Department isn’t happening now. The evidence is clear it is happening.

    I’m complaining as I don’t like being lied to or told not to believe my eyes when I’m looking at the contract – which this administration seems to do a lot of – don’t believe your eyes or what you heard us say…………..

    If accurate information is not being given to reporters and reporters are free to report the truth – this puts our soldiers at risk.

  3. Here’s the thing – the Pentagon is trying to deal with the fact that we have no journalists left in the media, only reporters who exhibit strong biases – either their own or their employers.

    Since we don’t censor their reports anymore, the Pentagon works out ways to affect the “tenor” of the coverage – i.e. the bias.

  4. speakmymindblog

    Now that’s a circular argument if I’ve ever heard one – are you a politician ;o)

    So, we’re stopping censorship by the media with censoring by the government? Both are wrong.

    It doesn’t bother you that they’re lying to us?

  5. It bothers me, but it doesn’t matter to me which group is lying.