Patterico's Pontifications

11/20/2006

Fighting the Information War

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,War — Patterico @ 6:32 am

I spent much of the weekend chasing down a story about the L.A. Times‘s misreporting of an incident in Iraq. As part of my investigation, I corresponded with the press folks at CENTCOM. We ended up exchanging a few e-mails, as I tried to obtain a clear and unambiguous statement that I could use. (You’ll likely be reading more about this in the next 2-3 days.)

The final e-mail I received began this way:

Sir —

Thank you for your support for the troops; we appreciate your attempts to set the record straight on your blog; which by the way is very impressive and does have quite a following. However, this forum is reserved for credentialed media outlets. If we stop to answer every blogger in world who has a question we will be inundated. Our first priority is getting the credentialed media the correct information as quickly as possible so that they can present a balanced story. That in itself is quite a challenge, as you can imagine, in the fog of war and with intricacies of this mission. I hope that you will not take offense and understand, but please refrain from contacting the Press Desk unless you can provide media credentials.

Translation: “Let me say this politely. You are just a blogger and we have real media to deal with.”

I’m not a prima donna who thinks that the military should have to respond to my beck and call. I was actually rather sheepish about contacting these folks in the first place, and continually apologized for taking up their time when I sent follow-up e-mails. I understand that the press officers have limited resources, and can’t respond to every blogger in the world. I have no beef with this particular press officer, and I understand the limitations she is operating under.

However, I find it ironic that, in the very next line of the e-mail, the press officer confirmed that the L.A. Times had misreported a significant detail about the incident in Iraq. Namely, the L.A. Times had reported an airstrike when, according to the military, none had occurred. (More about the significance of this in coming days.) What’s more, the L.A. Times still has not reported the military’s denial.

Take a look at the bigger picture here. According to the military, the L.A. Times has failed to accurately report an important detail regarding an incident in Iraq. In other words, Big Media journalists — the very same journalists to whom press officers feel primary dedication — aren’t getting the facts out. But when a blogger writes to get the true facts, the military says, however politely: stop bugging us.

Big Media has a poor track record of reporting the military’s side of the story in a fair fashion. When a blogger contacts the military seeking to correct a major misstatement by the media, the military should want to communicate with the blogger.

If they don’t, there’s a problem there.

It has nothing to do with me, or this press officer.

It has everything to do with the fact that we are fighting a war, and part of the war that the enemy is fighting is a propaganda war. In the context of the Israel/Hezbollah conflict, we’ve already seen evidence that Muslim terrorists are willing to manufacture fake stories of civilian casualties. And the press is often too eager to accept them.

The military has to recognize that our enemies are not simply trying to kill our soldiers with bullets and IEDs. They are also trying to kill our will with false facts.

Bloggers want to get the truth out. They want to correct misleading press reports. But if they are going to do that effectively, the military needs to work with them.

On the bright side, this appears to be an isolated incident. Other bloggers have put me in touch with press officers who have been excellent in providing context and additional information. The military needs more of that.

UPDATE: Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the link.

In light of Michelle’s post, I should probably make it clear that I did not feel entirely “blown off” by the Press Desk. I exchanged several e-mails with a couple of different press officers before I received the message quoted in the post above. They were trying to be as helpful as possible, but I was seeking a definitive statement that the lower-ranking press officers seemed unable to provide. Perhaps for that reason, one of them apparently got a Captain involved — at which point I got my definitive statement, but was also told not to contact them again without “media credentials” (whatever those are).

It may be that, in my concern to be precise and absolutely accurate, I tried the patience of the Captain. In any event, I don’t fault her; it’s nothing personal; and I certainly don’t want to appear whiny or self-important. My overarching point is simple: I think that the military should view bloggers as allies in the mission of getting the truth out — especially in cases like the one I described, where Big Media has proven itself incapable of reporting the military’s point of view. And while they can’t respond to every blogger, I think it makes sense for them to respond to polite queries from bloggers seeking to correct major errors in Big Media.

103 Responses to “Fighting the Information War”

  1. FWIW, I once read a CENTCOM press release of a mission, and it said to contact the press officers for photos. I did, and they supplied the images, some snaps of captured IEDs, without quizzing me for my bona fides.

    The Sanity Inspector (dd32b8)

  2. My guess is that the problem was the fact that it took a few e-mails to get a definitive answer, and a higher-up got involved as a result.

    Patterico (de0616)

  3. Shorter Patterico:

    “They made me feel less important.”

    The Liberal Avenger (c93dac)

  4. With the MSM losing market share to the blogs daily, it would seem logical for CENTCOM to designate a few responsible blogs, like this one, as “credentialed.” That way, official statements by CENTCOM would actually be received by the public instead of ignored by the MSM. Such a policy would help CENTCOM accomplish its mission without offending anyone while focusing a bright light on media outlets whose reporting is selective and biased.

    Richard W. Ressler (a8b062)

  5. What’s sad is that this is exactly the liberal interpretation of the First Amendment freedom of the press.

    The left sees The Press as being a group of certified journalists that operate under a separate set of laws & access. They get indignant if a “reporter” is subpoenaed to testify in front of a grand jury to reveal a source or is prosecuted for publishing top secret information.

    But I don’t think that’s what the First Amendment really means. I think the freedom of the press applies to everyone in the US. Of course, the implication is that “publishing” doesn’t inoculate illegal actions or speech (libel, shouting fire in a theater, publishing top secret information, having to answer subpoenas, etc.).

    Anon E. Mouse (66ca18)

  6. So why not just form a an organization (around Northern Alliance Radio or some Web ring) and get credentialed? It’s a lot easier than getting the Army to change its mindset.

    Jay Lewis (cb7860)

  7. Liberal Avenger, Patterico doesn’t need a twit like me to defend him, but (1) he IS a pretty big deal in the blog world; and (2) more important, his complaint was written with tremendous modesty.

    His conclusion — that the military should use helpful bloggers and not blow them off — is spot on.

    Attila (Pillage Idiot) (68fd1f)

  8. Pointing out a completely fallacy in a story about the military by the mainstream media should promote you to “important”. Of course, folks like Liberal Avenger prefer utter falsehoods in print, as a. they identify better with boldfaced lies and b. those lies support their world view.

    Matt, Esq. (7bb792)

  9. I have written to CENTCOM several times since they began to make themselves available to bloggers and to send out their press notices via email to interested parties. I have had my questions answered directly most of the time and occasionally I’ve been directed to other resources for the information I was seeking. In all cases, I felt the CENTCOM contact was willing to keep the contact open until I was satisfied my question was answered sufficiently.

    That said, I can also see how “inundation” for them could be a major problem. There are millions of blogs, many of them who do not have CENTCOM’s best interests or the military’s best interest at heart.

    It is short-sighted to go with a “big media” only attitude to the exclusion of the blogs. On the other hand, having CENTCOM mocked or the military trashed on a blog is not good at all. A fine line for the decision maker.

    Perhaps we need an “embed” system of bloggers. In other words, bloggers who want to cover CENTCOM news and verify military matters can apply for CENTCOM designation the way a reporter applies to be an embed. A coalition of bloggers like the Milbloggers have for military bloggers only this would be for “civilian” bloggers blogging about the military. Some bloggers may want to embed in war zones, but many of us who cannot take that big a step, can still be clearing houses and provide the press rooms and editors for the boots on the ground.

    Sara (Squiggler) (47b627)

  10. Another fine example of why we are losing the info/news/propaganda war.

    Squidly (e6bdb0)

  11. To echo some earlier comments, what is involved in getting credentials? Maybe Patterico should apply and see what happens.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  12. Perhaps this was the same CENTCOM spokesman who, when questioned as to why we did not attack a large gathering of Taliban gathered for a funeral, replied, “That’s not the way we do things.” Thinking like that and the response to Patterico is the reason we’re in the mess we’re in. This war is as much, or maybe even more, about PR than military tactics.

    Larry Barleen (9f37aa)

  13. The Army is a very big organization with a statistically predictable quota of idiots. There have been milbloggers (Michael Yon was one) who have been turned down when they applied to be embedded. Yon had already been there once, was a former soldier and had a unit which had requested him specifically. I would probably have spent a career in the Army except that I ran across just such an idiot in my reserve days. He was a bird colonel and did not know the regs. I was a Lieutenant and figured that I did not want my life run by people like him. There are still some there.

    Mike K (6d4fc3)

  14. The Liberal Avenger,

    Dude, you shouldn’t allow your persistent anger at Patterico to cloud your understanding of the context of his post.

    It’s not about Patterico’s “feelings,” rather, it’s what CENTCOM actually said, which is, “You’re a blogger, therefore, you’re not as important as the credentialed media.”

    Patterico’s larger point is that the military’s old school bureaucratic preference for “old media” (LA Times, et al)—who ironically wish to undermine the military—is counterproductive to winning the PR battle regarding the war.

    And I will add that recently-departed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was disliked by many of the old school military bureacracy simply because he was attempting to make a modern transformation of it.
    Patterico’s example of CENTCOM is yet another reason Rumsfeld’s transformation of the military to modernity is sorely needed.

    Dan Rather is “out,” and the new media are here.
    And the Pentagon is never going to see the memo as long as they continue to rely on CBS, ABC, LA Times, Washington Post, et al, for their news.

    Desert Rat (ee9fe2)

  15. As a result of being profit driven, the ‘old media’ is subject to influences that you are not. For example, consider your own ” L.A. Times Prints Not One Word of Yesterday’s Reports That Chemical Weapons Were Found in Iraq” post. The LA times was compelled via economic incentive to confirm / validate the story before running with it (good thing, as they avoided having the egg on their faces that Santorum ended up having to wipe off). You, on the other hand, were free to write whatever you wish without major economic consequences.

    The very same construct that allows you to, without much in terms of accountability, publish such things is the very reason why CENTCOM (justifiably, IMHO) isn’t prepared to see you as a viable means through which to disseminate information.

    You preach to a choir, and that provides you a good deal of leeway with respect to your content. Take the blessing for what it’s worth and quit bitching about the liability it inherently entails.

    McCoy (88a6ac)

  16. Patterico:

    I think he was being helpful. Write back and ask him how to get “proper credentials” so you can get that info whenever necessary and they don’t have to worry about releasing information to non-press.

    Nethicus (4ce207)

  17. Desert Rat:

    I’m rather fond of Patterico.

    The Liberal Avenger (c93dac)

  18. Too Matt, Esq.

    It is just more courageous to displace the anger (ie BDS) and attack the messenger. This is a common tactic because those on the left know what’s best for all of us and that we don’t give a shit anyway.

    Herosmith (fd3093)

  19. Blogger Blow Off?…

    He may feel slighted that CENTCOM was giving him the “brush off”. But they weren’t. They were actually offering help. If he gets the press credential, probably something relatively simple, then he can freely communicate without the appearance of bia…

    The Autopsy (59ce3a)

  20. CentCom Blows Off A Blogger…

    Not the right move, in my humble estimation. What's funny is that I've had some interaction with Centcom in the past, and my experience was 100% the opposite of Patterico's. PR people from Centcom have probably sent me a dozen or so emai…

    Say Anything (e43591)

  21. Patterico,

    You point out one information battle that the US military is losing, the one on the home front. I don’t hear anything about us engaging in the information battle in the Middle East. The war against Islamic extremists will not be won until we can convince the population of the Middle East that Jews are not descendents of pigs and that the perpetrator of rape should be punished, not the victim. Why are we not more engaged in the information battle over there?

    Mike S (d3f5fd)

  22. “I don’t hear anything about us engaging in the information battle in the Middle East.”

    Gosh, hadn’t you been born yet when the MSM went hysterical at the US military’s use of public relations firms placing articles in the ME press last year? It was the crime of the century, and the MSM did their best to point out all the articles and smear them with ‘pants on fire’ rhetoric, and blame Bush while they were at it.

    Insufficiently Sensitive (01397c)

  23. ok, i’ll bite. saw this thread on malkins blog and found it interesting. i gotta go along with the service media guys on this one as theres thousands? millions? of blogs, some serious, some not. patterico appears to be in the serious category so there should be some way to sort this out? how hard is it to get credentials anyway?

    james conrad (7cd809)

  24. If Patterico is seriously committed to writing news he should disassociate himself from the word blog. When I hear it, I do not think legitimate news source, I think stupid teenager full of self importance. As I stated he should disassociate himself from any form of the word blog and try to be as professional as possible.
    For starters try removing the copy of the “Los Angeles Dog Trainer” with the headline Patterico! Public Enemy #1 out of his flag. Second he should pick up a copy of the Associated Press Style Book or take a journalism class and learn how to be a journalist then write stories for his “local news Web site,” which sounds much better than blog. Once he his “local news Web site” has a decent looking flag, the title of a newspaper, and he is using professional grammar, style and punctuation his sight might not be looked at as a blog, but as a legitimate news source with 25,000 readers and growing.

    Matt Roe (cfee12)

  25. Longer Liberal Avenger: I’m bound to miss any and every point that isn’t on my head.

    Xrlq (daf1c2)

  26. We must not give up on trying to get the MSM (hard as it is) to report ALL the news and not just what they want us to see/hear. By sheer force of numbers, every time they deliberately avoid reporting a story (and that’s often), we should inundate them with emails, mail and telephone calls, demanding that they report it.

    Don’t forget, one of the big reasons the other side won is because the MSM handed the election to them. The general viewing public falls for it because they are deliberately kept in the dark, except for Fox News.

    rightisright (2cbc9b)

  27. Fighting the Information War …

    Fighting the Information War Patterico (H/T: Michelle) I spent much of the weekend chasing down a story about the L.A. Times’s misreporting of an incident in Iraq. As part of my investigation, I corresponded with the press folks at CENTCOM….

    Bill's Bites (72c8fd)

  28. That was a poor business decision by the Pentagon. Instead of saying “No, we’re too busy” they should say “Yes, sir, we’ll do our best to answer your questions.” Maybe their best would require bloggers to wait a few days or weeks for an answer but the answer should never be “Bug off.”

    Every successful business tries to help customers when they come calling.

    DRJ (1be297)

  29. Spot on commentary by Matt Roe. Patterico, it doesn’t matter whether your commentary is insightful, truthful, or cogent. What matters is that you are a slave to impartiality or neutrality (because we know reporters don’t have biases), follow a certain “style guide” or you haven’t committed the cardinal sin of splitting an infinitive or ending a sentence with a preposition.

    galloglass warrior (80d467)

  30. While all here have made excellent points, I would like to throw something else out here.

    Releasing any info from any U.S. Military source is a big deal. Not only what you release, who it is released to and when, but its written down in black and white with demotion or a real ass chewing if you don’t follow the regs.

    Even Generals have to think three times before they open their mouths and some still get their ass in a sling.

    But, that is the U.S. Military and no amount of “transformation” is going to change those basic information handling regs.

    Especially in this “PC”, liberal, leaning toward socialism world we live in.

    BTW, someone commented: “I dont hear anything about us engaging in the information battle in the Middle East”.

    Well, I don’t speak arabic, but I’m well known on several blogs in the ME, most hate me with a passion and promises to me of death in the most terrible manner, a few tolerate me as someone “learning about the ME”.

    It doesn’t have to be our government that engages the ME,it can be you.

    Papa Ray
    West Texas
    USA

    Papa Ray (d32c8f)

  31. Why does the military even deal with the press? They should post all relevant information on the net, and let the media (and others) go directly there. No more dealing with the press. And the MSM will never again be able to publish half-truths and lies about our military.

    Stanley (add0a3)

  32. Comment on Matt Roe: A criticism of “professional style, grammar, and punctuation” would be more impressive if not immediately followed by “his sight [sic] might not be looked at as a blog…”
    FYI, Patterico is a practicing attorney, and as such knows more about fact gathering, verification, and analysis, as well as about writing style, than the vast majority of “journalists” (scare quotes copyright Reuters) I see in the MSM.
    About the only thing he could learn from taking courses in journalism is to be totally unbiased (short break for cynical laughter): i.e., no bias in favor of his country, his ethical system, or “what’s right”, because “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter (see citation above).” God save us from bias.

    great unknown (71415b)

  33. This is odd. Last week I received this email…

    Subject: U.S. Central Command
    Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 09:39:20 -0500
    From: “Erickson, Christopher J. SPC USA” Add to Address BookAdd to Address Book Add Mobile Alert
    To: jake.jacobsen@sbcglobal.net

    Greetings!

    I came across your blog today and did some reading. Your interest in Iraq caught my eye.

    Our team is part of Central Command Public Affairs and has been reaching out to many of you in the electronic media world. As military PA reps our duty is to inform the U.S. public of what we’re doing militarily. As the public turns to the Internet and the blogosphere as a news source, we have to do our best to find ways of getting information to the public via these avenues.

    With that said, would you like to be on our mailing list? We send out via email press releases and news stories. Many times we can get this information out to the blogs before it becomes available via the main stream media outlets. We also have two newsletters, CENTCOM News and the Coalition Bulletin, that tell more of what our forces are doing.

    Also, if you feel it would be appropriate, we are always looking to get links to our web site on blogs that are read by people who might be interested in our site. If that would be a good fit for your blog then we would love to have a link.

    Thank you for your time today and I hope to hear back from you.

    V/R

    Spc. Chris Erickson
    Electronic Media Engagement Team
    U.S. Central Command Public Affairs
    erickscj@centcom.mil
    http://www.centcom.mil/

    Talk about mixed messages.

    Jake Jacobsen (cd26b6)

  34. Slant or bias, those are just buzz words. I don’t really care which way any of you go, I just want to see sound journalism. If blogs are to be taken seriously writers need to play by the most basic rules of the game.

    matt roe (cfee12)

  35. Paterrico,
    I sympathize with you, and salute your efforts on behalf of God and country, but it just occured to me…why not get credentials?

    I mean what does it take? A face, a mailing address, a background investigation? As the man said, he is impressed with your blog (as he should be). There are probably a handful of good mil-bloggers who could get credentialed. Go for it, man!

    Mike Netherland (1725a5)

  36. matt roe:
    Can you offer any examples of unsound journalism on this site? Or, say, Pajamas Media. Or, Michelle Malkin, etc., etc.
    The only differences I can see between the aformentioned and the MSM I occassionally pick up is the completeness of the information I receive, the speed and prominence with which errors are acknowledged and corrected, and the acknowledgement of biases. MSM can’t begin to compete – and apparently does not wish to.

    great unknown (71415b)

  37. My guess is CENTCOM hopes there will be no media follow-up to the Ramadi strike. Had there been NO air raid and no collateral carnage, they’d be furiously calling “credentialed” journalists disavowing witness accounts.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-shootings15nov15,0,2527533.story?coll=la-home-world

    Perhaps someone will cite some authority this story is wrong. I understand it’s sourced to witnesses and begs for follow-up confirmation. But CENTCOM is not customarily shy about correcting the record. On-the-record comment extends the news cycle.

    steve (1fd41b)

  38. Jake, you probably just ruined that Specialists Army career by posting that…

    Jake Jacobsen (cfee12)

  39. Shorter Liberal Avenger:

    I’m an antiwar idiot.

    Yr. Fthfl. Svnt. (7e527d)

  40. Take it from an Army officer with a journalism degree, marketing MBA, and a decade in the business. The military is terrible at media relations. I’d say at least 33% of our Iraq problem is due to the military’s inability – nay, icompetence – when it comes to media matters.

    RCJP (7e1ac4)

  41. File some FOIA requests. For your data, and for their blog policy.

    actus (10527e)

  42. Say, Matt Roe. Your last name isn’t Hiltzik, is it ? Sounded kind of familiar, especially the part about grammar.

    Mike K (6d4fc3)

  43. I’ve inquired numerous times what is needed to obtain credentials. No one has ever responded. The emails have been ignored. My guess is, the answer is no one knows.

    So, for this embed to Iraq, I incorporated as a media company and wrote a sponsorship letter on my own company’s letterhead. I’m hoping that works…

    Bill Roggio (22d0e5)

  44. The whole issue of credentialling is bogus. If Centcom wanted you to be credentialed, they’d issue you credentials.

    I cover the auto industry for some web sites I publish. Credentials are issued by auto shows and other events based on either an assignment letter from an editor, review of submitted bylined samples of writing, or a review of your web site. For the matter, the major shows do credential some blogs like autoblog.com.

    Bill Roggio’s approach seems most sensible, Patterico. Set up an LLC, called it something like New Media News Group, mock up some letterhead, and write your own assignment letter.

    Ronnie Schreiber (dc19a7)

  45. “I have no beef with this particular press officer, and I understand the limitations she is operating under.”
    ….
    “Other bloggers have put me in touch with press officers who have been excellent in providing context and additional information. The military needs more of that.”

    ????????

    When you request information you should refer to your blog an on-line magazine. You could put “on-line magazine” in the banner at the top of your page template too.

    ydt5vytfe4egj (793c7b)

  46. […] If you are going to piss off a blogger, you don’t want to piss off one of the most influential in the blogosphere — Patterico. Here is his story: I spent much of the weekend chasing down a story about the L.A. Times’s misreporting of an incident in Iraq. As part of my investigation, I corresponded with the press folks at CENTCOM. We ended up exchanging a few e-mails, as I tried to obtain a clear and unambiguous statement that I could use. (You’ll likely be reading more about this in the next 2-3 days.) […]

    Tsk Tsk, CENTCOM (Part One) « The D-Ring: Where the military and new media collide (1f4f89)

  47. Also, let me say Patterico’s criticism of the military public affairs in general is spot on. He is right, there are some good, hard working and understanding PAOs out there, particularly in the USMC..

    Bill Roggio (22d0e5)

  48. Comment #6 by Jay Lewis “So why not just form a an organization (around Northern Alliance Radio or some Web ring) and get credentialed? It’s a lot easier than getting the Army to change its mindset.”
    Comment by Jay Lewis — 11/20/2006 @ 11:05 am

    is right on the mark! I’d go a little bit further. That organization should be an alliance with “townhall”, “Northern Alliance Radio”, and “Pajamas Media” together so there is more weight and influence. Somehow get Atlasshrugs on board because she has lots of contacts of credible people and has done a lot of work in the field, national and international.

    Dennis (4866b1)

  49. Patterico: “The military has to recognize that our enemies are not simply trying to kill our soldiers with bullets and IEDs. They are also trying to kill our will with false facts.”

    I see we are back to blaming the media for the negative public perception of how things are going in Iraq. If Patterico doesn’t think that the uncontested reporting from Iraq has been more than enough to sour Americans on his Iraq Adventure, then he really hasn’t been taking the matter seriously enough. The facts themselves are already damning. Identifying “false facts” – whether they come from our own military (see Tillman, Pat) or from malicious witnesses in Iraq – is certainly laudable. But this undertaking seems like a method for Patterico to avoid the issue of the Iraqi quagmire rather than being one for him to confront it.

    m.croche (85f703)

  50. I’m sure all this credentialing advice is offered in good faith and is based on common sense but there no way in the world I would form an LLC or anything like that just to get on a Pentagon list. The record-keeping requirements alone would eat into your blogging time and possibly your day job, not to mention the fact that you might owe Federal, State, and/or local taxes.

    Why should you have to affiliate with PJM et al. just to ask the Pentagon a question? Maybe the Pentagon get so many inquiries it can’t handle them all but presumably that is why they have a public relations office. According to the DOD’s website, the office that handles public inquiries is called the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs). Certainly it’s appropriate that the main focus is responding to media inquiries but the last time I checked, bloggers were part of the public just as much as media reps.

    DRJ (1be297)

  51. My guess is the CENTCOM press officer does not want the Ramadi air strike story challenged because even if tanks pulverized the homes and killed 30-35 civilians, it’s better not re-visited.

    http://electroniciraq.net/news/2647.shtml

    A spokesman for the U.S. military in Baghdad said he had no specific details of the incident and that “the U.S. military has been conducting ongoing patrols and security details in Al-Anbar for months now. Our efforts are always to attack the terrorists and protect the civilian population.”

    The best hope for CENTCOM is no follow-up. Credentialed or virtual.

    steve (1fd41b)

  52. I see we are back to blaming the media for the negative public perception of how things are going in Iraq. If Patterico doesn’t think that the uncontested reporting from Iraq has been more than enough to sour Americans on his Iraq Adventure, then he really hasn’t been taking the matter seriously enough. The facts themselves are already damning. Identifying “false facts” – whether they come from our own military (see Tillman, Pat) or from malicious witnesses in Iraq – is certainly laudable. But this undertaking seems like a method for Patterico to avoid the issue of the Iraqi quagmire rather than being one for him to confront it.

    Perhaps croche would like to identify the passage where I say that everything is going swimmingly and that only misreporting is responsible for negative perceptions.

    I have discussed the undeniably bad situation in Iraq in a couple of posts, so the claim that I have not discussed this is ill-informed or a lie; take your pick. I don’t discuss it every day because, unlike lefty bloggers, I don’t see the point in cutting and pasting every media report of a bad incident in Iraq and saying: “Yup, it sure is still bad over there.”

    croche claims that he believes identifying false facts is laudable, but when someone actually does it, then he puts words in their mouth, misrepresents their opinion, and chastises them for not being a repetitive one-note Johnny on the depressing state of the war.

    Patterico (de0616)

  53. My guess is the CENTCOM press officer does not want the Ramadi air strike story challenged because even if tanks pulverized the homes and killed 30-35 civilians, it’s better not re-visited.

    Gee. I wonder why they directly challenged it, then.

    Patterico (de0616)

  54. I’ve seen that story, steve. It’s by a noted anti-war journalist. Yet it doesn’t say that any of the dead are women or children. And it doesn’t say that the journalist actually saw any of the allegedly destroyed houses.

    Patterico (de0616)

  55. I’ve seen that story, steve. It’s by a noted anti-war journalist.

    Must apply to this one, as well:

    http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L14466597.htm

    In one part of the district, a Reuters reporter saw several bodies of adult men lying in a street, some being placed in coffins by relatives, and a number of body parts. One small structure was burnt out in that street.

    And this one:

    http://wtop.com/?nid=105&sid=594186

    Police and medical workers said at least 20 Iraqis were killed in clashes Tuesday in Ramadi, where U.S. ground troops and warplanes have conducted a series of operations over recent days targeting Sunni insurgents.

    steve (1fd41b)

  56. Why bother with CENTCOM? Yes, regarding the failure to bomb the Taliban funeral, they really did assert that “Its not the way we do things” Really? Who is we? Since when?

    So, Lt. Gen. John Abizaid, Commanding General of Central Command, who is in charge of the Middle East, has established rules of engagement which prevented the U.S. Army from the easy July air attack on approximately 200 Taliban soldiers drawn up in ranks at a funeral in a cemetery in Afghanistan. Well let us reflect for a moment. The General is an American of Lebanese background who speaks Arabic and would seem perfect for the job. In line with the old tradition that if you fight America, we can appoint American Generals who speak your language, understand your culture, and will crush you! In John Abizaid’s case, this has not, to say the least, happened!

    Consider for a moment, the same situation with General of the Army Dwight Eisenhower, an American of German extraction. In 1942, SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard “The Beast” Heydrich, head of the Sicherheitsdienst and acting “Protector” of Czechoslovakia, was assassinated by allied agents and, after the usual Nazi atrocities, the Germans subsequently held an elaborate funeral for the Obergrupppenfuhrer. Did General Eisenhower, out of concern for German sensibilities, order the great U.S. Army Air Corp not to attack German military funerals? Do pigs fly?

    It is time for John Abizaid to be assigned to a command within his level of ability. Enough is enough! John Abizaid has clearly been promoted well beyond his level of competency. Not too shocking, as it has happened many times before, and will again. Gen. Abizaid may feel that things were simpler and more basic in the days of WW II. No General, I was there, and they were not!

    Pat West (c6f649)

  57. steve,

    Yup. Seen them.

    You’re getting ahead of me. I haven’t written the post. But yes.

    Look at your first link, which says “Adult men.”

    Not women and children.

    I’ve seen pictures from the Reuters report as well. Lots of men standing around. No buildings destroyed. Who’s dead? You can’t tell for sure. But hardly anyone looks too broken up, and there are no clear shots of dead women or children.

    As for your second link, I’ve seen that too. You selectively quote a general statement about operations involving warplanes. And it’s true; there have been such operations. Just not on the date in question. Your link not only doesn’t prove there was an airstrike as the LAT suggests, but it positively suggests otherwise: “Meanwhile, Ali al-Obaidi, a medic at Ramadi Hospital, said those killed were civilians who died in shelling by U.S. tanks.” A slew of stories says tank fire, including every single one you have cited so far.

    So whence the claim of an airstrike? The LAT won’t say. It says “witnesses” — and that’s supposed to be good enough for readers, despite a pile of evidence to the contrary.

    But why don’t you just wait for the post? I said it’s coming.

    Patterico (de0616)

  58. What “pile of evidence?” The stories mostly rely on witnesses. Something awful happened in Ramadi and accounts vary, as is often the case. CENTCOM apparently is not going to confirm or deny the LAT version and all we’re left with is an enigma. Did I miss a “no air raid” statement or some omnibus refutation?

    steve (1fd41b)

  59. The General is an American of Lebanese background who speaks Arabic and would seem perfect for the job

    What does being lebanese and speaking arabic have to do with the war in afghanistan?

    actus (10527e)

  60. Did I miss a “no air raid” statement or some omnibus refutation?

    Yes, you did. From my post above:

    However, I find it ironic that, in the very next line of the e-mail, the press officer confirmed that the L.A. Times had misreported a significant detail about the incident in Iraq. Namely, the L.A. Times had reported an airstrike when, according to the military, none had occurred.

    That’s not the only detail from the LAT story that is contradicted by other evidence.

    Details in my future post, which I’m working on now.

    Patterico (de0616)

  61. What “pile of evidence?”

    Such impatience.

    It’s coming.

    Patterico (de0616)

  62. Here is the kind of blogging croche wants to see from me on a daily basis. A list of atrocities in Iraq, most committed by Baathists, titled “Courtesy of George Bush.” Because Baathists would not be committing atrocities in Iraq, were it not for George Bush.

    Now that’s good pontificatin’!

    Patterico (de0616)

  63. It doesn’t have to be our government that engages the ME,it can be you.

    Roger that, Papa Ray

    Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group

    Cannoneer No. 4 (a1479d)

  64. Maybe CENTCOM’s lawyers should advise the public affairs staff of the ruling in Bidzirk (http://analysis.threatswatch.org/2006/04/constitutionally-protected-blo/)
    which states clearly that “media” is defined by content, not form. This destroys that myth of “media credentials” to which the public affairs officer clings. She needs to realize that because of blogging, those protected by the law as “media” (as good a credential as can be had), have grown immeasurably. CENTCOM can beef up its staff in order to start fighting the strategic war of information or they can continue as they are, letting the so-called “credentialed media” define how CENTCOM is failing in Operation Iraqi Freedom (which I don’t believe the U.S. is failing, but Iraq is very fragile at this point and susceptible of becoming a radical Islamic state).

    CENTCOM needs to understand the terms of the fight at home and to come to the battle armed and willing to win. Thanks Patterico for trying to correct the record. You are a stellar representative of the new media and the willingness of some Americans to win the war for the truth.

    Craig Martelle (7b92b7)

  65. How to Fight an Information War…

    What the Heck was I Thinking!? (feb53c)

  66. The problem with military Public Affairs personnel is that they themselves are on the “credentialled” career path–the military is their vocational school. Public Affairs people are career “journalists” or photographers who try hard to meet the standards of the AP (I am not making this up), but have no profit motive to keep them on their toes. Military journalism is propaganda-lite. They write what they are told to, and nobody reads it.

    Public Affairs Officers are sometimes just Officers who got handed the pariah “PAO” job. Perhaps the Captain you spoke to is not one of the career PA types. Was this a Navy Captain, O-6 as in Colonel Potter, or was this an Army/Marine/AF Captain, O-3 as in “get some coffee for the General, will ya?”

    I love the military. I can’t stand journalists. There are exceptions to both of those statements. But the shockah is this: the combination is far worse than regular journalism. Military journalists have all of the fecklessness of their civilian counterparts, but none of the skill. There are exceptions to that statement as well.

    But not many.

    root (d5ee61)

  67. If all of this fuss is about an LAT story stating that women and children have been killed by our forces when they actually weren’t, then would you be just as upset at the media for failing to report when women and children are being killed by our war?

    That’s been going on too. But you don’t seem to care about that.

    It is much more disturbing, even sickening, when the media attempts to depict killing as wonderful.

    Psyberian (21f2f0)

  68. Matt Roe, why are slant and bias “just buzz words”? Could it be because they accurately decribe the MSM, which you seem to adore? Are these words now demoted to a lesser status for having been accurate about your corner of the world?

    Psyberian, I have yet to hear one peep out of the MSM over Muslim Honor Killings, or Palestinians murdering Jews, or Muslims murdering Christians, or Muslims murdering Americans (whom they equate with Christians), or Muslim women being beaten by Men for perceived slights(isn’t that sexism?). Have you?

    More disturbing is the complete lack of honesty, err reporting; when it comes to coverage on Muslims in general. Have you heard anything in the MSM about how the Muslims are all for murdering heads of state? How about the Jihadists tendencies of the Muslim world? No? Neither have I.

    So it comes down to they either don’t want to report the news or they don’t know what is going on (you know, the News).

    Must be some of that bias and slant I hear so much about. Oh wait those are “just buzz words”.

    Mark (a37d9a)

  69. Psyberian, I have yet to hear one peep out of the MSM over Muslim Honor Killings, or Palestinians murdering Jews, or Muslims murdering Christians, or Muslims murdering Americans (whom they equate with Christians), or Muslim women being beaten by Men for perceived slights(isn’t that sexism?). Have you?

    Are you seriously telling me that the media doesn’t cover palestineans killing jews?

    actus (10527e)

  70. Muslims killed Jews. Jews killed Muslims. Americans killed Muslims. Muslims killed Americans. Cycle of violence, yadda yadda yadda.

    I could have sworn the story was about press ethics and not who poked who in the eye first.

    This whole primitive debate over who threw the first punch is the one of the most low-brow displays of internet “literati” out there. How far back do you want to go? The Crusades? How about Alexander the Great? Further? Cain and Abel?

    In the end we’re talking about media slant, aren’t we? If Patterico proves the LA Times lied to its readers, does saying “Bob Jones of the Washington Times lied, too” excuse the LA Times? Maybe in some alternate liberaliverse… not on planet Earth.

    Coffeespy (2bcec1)

  71. […] So last time I posted, I talked about U.S. Central Command’s not-so-good news story with Patterico. For the second time, I am disappointed in CENTCOM. […]

    Tsk Tsk CENTCOM (Part Two) « The D-Ring: Where the military and new media collide (71aee5)

  72. Want to try an interesting follow-up? Remember when the war was young and near the Syrian border an attack was made on what the locals claimed was a wedding party but CentCom claimed was something else? This was the first big story about possible unnecessary deaths of noncombatants. Remember how they said an investigation would be conducted and the report forthcoming?

    Try to find that report. Try to get someone in the DoD/CentCom chain to acknowlege such an investigation was conducted. So far my FOIA filing has resulted in “we don’t have that” from the Pentagon PIO and a “oh, that guy’s on leave” from CentCom, followed by “we don’t know what attack you’re talking about, can you give us details?” after my request bubbled back to the top of someone’s in basket.

    A key lever of fourth generation warfare is information, just as a key lever in third generation warfare is tempo of operations. Right now we’re as inept with information as the Brits were in 1940 with tanks.

    Grognard (597383)

  73. Patterico: “…I certainly don’t want to appear whiny or self-important.”

    Well, there’s your problem. If you don’t act whiny or self-important like drama queens in the “real” media, you’re going to get nowhere.

    It is a sad fact that our culture of non-offensiveness has led to the situation where the whiny or self-important get priority attention, and credibility.

    Someone should hand that Captain a rifle and kick her ass out the door. Maybe she can shoot straight – she sure as hell doesn’t think that way!

    Sherlock (790917)

  74. If Patton were in CENTCOM today he would slapped that Captain in the face and called her stupid. Then he would been forced to make a public apology and would have rallied his own troops to his cause doing it. Meanwhile, the MSM would have made front page news of the slapping incident and forgot that it was their bad reporting that started the whole silly thing in the first place. Patton wins every time. I also think it was Patton who first said “Infidels of the world unite!”.

    Patrioticduo (50334c)

  75. Spc. Chris Erickson: “How can I help you get the word out?”
    Captain Suzy Flack: “Go away – my priority is kissing up to the MSM, so I can get a job with them later on.”

    Not hard to see where the difference in their attitude comes from, and no, it ain’t the difference in their gender. And guess which one gets paid more?

    Sherlock (790917)

  76. The negative PR person shoud be forced to watch good and bad accounts of the coalation’s work.

    Then the person should be sent out to the sharp end to see what the troops are doing.

    Then, and only then, should he/she/it be allowed to work in PR.

    Davod (5fdaa2)

  77. When CENTCOM started sending press releases to The Daily Brief I posted them. I sent them a question one time and they never responded so I stopped posting their press releases. I don’t mind putting out “The Official Word” but if you’re going to ignore me, I’m going to respond in kind. And I’m still active duty (for about 203 more days).

    Timmer (85b0d6)

  78. Patterico’s not happy……

    …An alternative explanation, a much darker one, is these same asshats are actively working to undermine……

    purpleavenger (59ce3a)

  79. I am going to defend the military a bit here. First I suspect this does not in fact concern a “major error” but instead is about a minor error about an insignificant detail. Second Patterico is asking for an “authoritative statement”. This is a lot of work for the military since there is a huge penalty for being wrong. So Patterico is asking press officials with no personal knowledge to spend a lot of time to track down all the relevant officers and hassle them (as they no doubt have lots of other important stuff to do) for definite statements which they may be reluctant to give. There is a real cost benefit issue here considering the military’s limited manpower in Iraq.

    How much has been wasted on multiple pointless investigations of the exact circumstances of Pat Tillman’s death?

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  80. I think this incident points out a need that could be filled, I think, easily. (caveat-I know diddly about what the idea might really take to accomplish) There needs to be a credentialling organization for Bloggers. Simple. Call it BCS (Bloggers Cerdentialing Service) so the College football Bowl people have to come up with a better acronym.

    Regards,

    Monte McWilliams

    Monte McWilliams (3f51c6)

  81. Namely, the L.A. Times had reported an airstrike when, according to the military, none had occurred. – Patterico

    And this was coveyed by phone or press release? Military PIO’s tend to split hairs. There could have been close air support for a ground assault. I’d hesitate to impute transparency and guilelessness to a bureaucracy not famous for either.

    The LATimes was not the only news agency reporting a Ramadi airstrike occurred the evening of November 14:

    In Ramadi, 110 kilometres west of Baghdad, a US military raid killed at least 30 Iraqis and wounded 17, Iraqi television reported Tuesday. Iraqi police said US military carried out ground and air raids Monday night and Tuesday morning, destroying more than 20 houses. Both Iraqi authorities and the US military refused to comment.

    © 2006 dpa – Deutsche Presse-Agentur

    http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/focusoniraq/2006/November/focusoniraq_November127.xml&section=focusoniraq

    steve (1fd41b)

  82. A lot of news agencies relie on other news agencies for their information, which I feel should be illegal. If your organization was not there to report it, then you shouldn’t look to other sources to report sources that report other sources. That’s one more middleman to which the flow of information is muddled.

    With that said, Iraqi police has already tainted their credibility when they showed bias towards shia and sunni militias. It’s enough to say that when they are quoted, I would not put my full faith in there statements.

    Which brings me to my next point, if the media is willing to jump at any citizen’s statement whether confirmed or not, then they are merely looking for a story to fill space on their paper. It’s not that the papers jump at Democrat or Republican, they are not bias in such ways. They are only biased towards sensationalism. It’s not as sensational to jump at the good news, but more toward the bad.

    Papers in the end are corporate run, and are competing for the big bucks.

    steve (8896c0)

  83. […] Check out this comment from prolific milblogger Bill Roggio. […]

    Bill Roggio likes USMC PAOs « The D-Ring: Where the military and new media collide (8d3eca)

  84. “steve” 81 and 82 are not the same commenter.

    steve (de803b)

  85. I wonder who has the authority to certify people as legitimate reporters and whether they have read the first amendment.

    Yaakov Watkins (2715a4)

  86. The problem isn’t with you, Patrick. The problem is that those in charge don’t fully understand the Information War that we’re in, as I wrote about here. Given the frequent laziness and mistakes made by the credentialed press, there really isn’t a valid reason to prioritize them over bloggers who are better at getting the facts right and at getting to the truth of what’s taking place.

    Charles Bird (e643ec)

  87. Takeaway points:

    CENTCOM (and by extension DOD) is a very large and unwieldy bureaucracy. Sometimes deicisions made at lower levels don’t make it up the chain to where those with (sometimes) a broader perspective can countermand it.

    By the same token, as has been stated, release of “official” information is a cumbersome process. Not always the best approach, but the next headline that you read with “US ARMY OFFICIAL CONFIRMS HORRIBLE SOMETHING!” you can understand why they’d be a bit gun-shy in rushing out information that may later turn out to be incorrect. And also why you’ll find it hard to get “clear, unambiguous statements” from people–even PAO personnel.

    Accordingly, there’s no conflict b/w the E-4 that sent out that “mailing list email” and the response Pat got from CENTCOM. Those press releases have already been through the cumbersome process I mentioned. The official DOD version of the Ramadi strike, has, I presume, not.

    Should Patterico be credentialed? Sure, why not. But that places a hefty burden on folks at CENTCOM and DOD to (a) decide which blogs to credential and assuming no unfair restrictions are imposed on credentialing, (b) getting that info out to a whole buttload of people.

    Army Lawyer (498217)

  88. A blogger contrasts an LAT account of a Ramadi battle with a US soldier’s first-hand narrative here (they don’t agree–what a surprise). The link is via the very reliable Bill Roggio; beyond that, I can’t vouch for this website.

    [That blog post is what I have been investigating. — P]

    AMac (b6037f)

  89. As a start, I would encourage all bloggers to link to the DOD’s For the Record site. My guess is that when the webmasters see the traffic from the blogs — as opposed to the MSM — they’ll quickly arrive at the formula for getting the word out.

    Eyeballs == Relevance.

    directorblue (2a1900)

  90. First, I can completly understand their message. Enough said.

    And second, the only difference between bloggers and the “credentialed media outlets” is that those reporters work for news agencies with contracts. Bloggers, for my knowledge, work for themselves. Big news agencies have affiliates, big offices, insurance for employees, etc. Other than that, you both report the news. And isn’t that the only thing that is important?

    Brian (299e49)

  91. […] There was one media source that apparently reported the possibility that there were airstrikes: Iraqi television. Commenter steve notes a Deutsche Presse-Agentur story that appears to be based on Iraqi TV reports: In Ramadi, 110 kilometres west of Baghdad, a US military raid killed at least 30 Iraqis and wounded 17, Iraqi television reported Tuesday. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Is the L.A. Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda? Or Is There Another Reason The Paper Is Getting Basic Facts Wrong and Failing to Report the Military’s Side? (421107)

  92. […] It is truly disgustint that CENTCOM tries to blow off bloggers who are working to expose MSM errors that undermine the military. […]

    A Word To CENTCOM « The HILL Chronicles (7b1720)

  93. Congratulations. I get back from out of town and I’ve now read 4 major bloggers rambling on about how clueless the military/DoD/CENTCOM is, just because, after cooperating with you and answering several of your questions (without requesting media credentials, I might add) they weren’t willing to launch the kind of investigative effort that would have been needed to issue the official statement you requested.

    Is this the result you wanted?

    When you have a moment to think this over you might ask yourself if posts like this (and the totally predictable piling on of people who are themselves worse than clueless) don’t explain why military people don’t exactly leap at the chance to work with bloggers?

    FWIW, James Shearer and Army Lawyer make more sense than anything I’ve read on this subject, but they sound suspiciously like they might actually know something about the subject, which as we all know in the blogosphere not only disqualifies you from weighing in but pretty much assures that no one will listen to anything you have to say if you manage to get a word in edgewise.

    Cassandra (c9069a)

  94. Cassandra,

    Does anyone apologize for the Trojan horse deal? 😉

    Horace (cbe5f9)

  95. Cassandra,

    I believe I have read posts by you before complaining about blogger hubris in demanding answers from the military.

    But I find your apparent anger at me surprising.

    Read my post carefully. Do I sound like someone who acted in a haughty fashion? Tell me the truth.

    After Michelle Malkin’s post claiming I was “blown off” by CENTCOM, I sent her an e-mail with substantially the same content as the update, because I was afraid people might get the wrong impression.

    Here’s my question to you. If a blogger has probable cause to believe that major media is ignoring the military side of a story, and/or getting basic facts wrong, what should we do? If we e-mail PAO’s and they give us answers with wiggle room, should we simply shrug our shoulders and let Big Media get away with it?

    Patterico (de0616)

  96. I didn’t object to your taking the LA Times to task. I objected to this post, in which you went after the military for what is not an unreasonable policy after they had tried to help you.

    I sent her an e-mail with substantially the same content as the update, because I was afraid people might get the wrong impression.

    And did I miss Michelle’s update correcting her initial post? Because I looked for one. Not that this was your responsibility, but the reaction was completely predictable.

    This is what I don’t understand, Patrick: why go out of your way to complain publicly in a post about PAO/CENTCOM when they tried to help you?

    Yes, I’m angry, because I told you to go back to them for clarification and from my standpoint they got stabbed in the back when they tried to work with you. I tried to tell you that it wasn’t going to be easy to prove this. Whole investigations are done on questions like this – they take MONTHS. Yet the military is supposed to blithely issue an airtight official statement based on…. what???? A few phone calls? It’s not that simple.

    They gave you what was reasonable, considering what was at stake here, to *them*. If the military tried to bat down every false story that gets printed they’d spend all their time doing investigations that pointlessly tie up people in the field. And for what? All the press has to do is produce a few anonymous “eyewitnesses” who contradict them.

    Do you really think your frustration isn’t felt tenfold by every person serving in the military?

    There is a certain amount of arrogance in constantly assuming people in the military are unreasonable or clueless just because they don’t share your priorities. It could well be that they simply have more on their plate than you can imagine. Or even that there are entirely reasonable explanations that you simply aren’t privy to because you haven’t done their job.

    Cassandra (c9069a)

  97. I didn’t object to your taking the LA Times to task. I objected to this post, in which you went after the military for what is not an unreasonable policy after they had tried to help you.

    The intent was not to go after the military. I said in my initial post:

    I understand that the press officers have limited resources, and can’t respond to every blogger in the world. I have no beef with this particular press officer, and I understand the limitations she is operating under.

    And in my update:

    I don’t fault her; it’s nothing personal; and I certainly don’t want to appear whiny or self-important. My overarching point is simple: I think that the military should view bloggers as allies in the mission of getting the truth out . . .

    My point was that I most certainly did not want the specific people I had dealt with to feel that I was stabbing them in the back. To the contrary, everyone I talked to has been very helpful, and only one person told me not to contact them again.

    This is a big-picture issue, not an individual issue.

    why go out of your way to complain publicly in a post about PAO/CENTCOM when they tried to help you?

    Because my point was not to complain about the press officers specifically, but about the military’s general attitude towards bloggers. The importance of this is reflected in this statement of yours:

    They gave you what was reasonable, considering what was at stake here, to *them*. If the military tried to bat down every false story that gets printed they’d spend all their time doing investigations that pointlessly tie up people in the field. And for what? All the press has to do is produce a few anonymous “eyewitnesses” who contradict them.

    Do you really think your frustration isn’t felt tenfold by every person serving in the military?

    Exactly. That’s why they need the blogosphere. Not even the Bush Administration could bat down stories about Bush’s TANG service based on false documents. It took the collective work of many, many people to do that. That’s the genius of the blogosphere. And I think that the military should allocate more resources to feed that. It’s not the fault of individual CENTCOM people; it’s a more big-picture issue.

    By the way, I sent the e-mail to Michelle immediately, at lunch, and was somewhat surprised when she didn’t update. I couldn’t update at lunch but did so when I got home. This is not a post that I e-mailed to anyone; she happened to see it, and I think the “blown off” spin was the wrong tone. But I think many people read my post through the filter of her introduction.

    There is a certain amount of arrogance in constantly assuming people in the military are unreasonable or clueless just because they don’t share your priorities. It could well be that they simply have more on their plate than you can imagine. Or even that there are entirely reasonable explanations that you simply aren’t privy to because you haven’t done their job.

    I am quite sure there are reasonable explanations for the individual treatment, and I suspect that it’s because the individuals have a lot on their plate. I don’t know how I can be clearer that it’s more a big-picture issue — allocating resources, setting priorities, etc.

    I don’t consider it arrogant to have an opinion about the importance of this. Roggio, for one, encouraged me to do the post (which I was already going to do) because he agrees with me about the general importance of the military working with bloggers.

    What the Ramadi story has done is open my eyes to the full extent of the generally poor quality of information we’re getting about what’s really going on. If that’s the case, maybe the military needs to rethink its information strategy.

    They can “stay the course” and continue to devote only enough resources to the information operation as will allow them to feed the Big Media beast, which is, like one commenter noted, a variant of Battered Women’s Syndrome. Or they can realize that we’re in a full-blown propaganda war, and devote the resources to help the blogosphere fight it, as only the blogosphere can.

    Patterico (de0616)

  98. […] There was one media source that apparently reported the possibility that there were airstrikes: Iraqi television. Commenter steve notes a Deutsche Presse-Agentur story that appears to be based on Iraqi TV reports: In Ramadi, 110 kilometres west of Baghdad, a US military raid killed at least 30 Iraqis and wounded 17, Iraqi television reported Tuesday. […]

    Is the L.A. Times Repeating Enemy Propaganda? Or Is There Another Reason The Paper Is Getting Basic Facts Wrong and Failing to Report the Military’s Side? « Thoughts Of A Conservative Christian (52942a)

  99. Sir,

    I understand you ran into a bit of difficulty with our press desk last week. I hope we can consider that water under the bridge and as you say, it is an isolated incident. I would like to invite you to join our mailing list and get in the loop with the CENTCOM Blog Team.

    CENTCOM does in deed recognize the importance and value of blogs especially when it comes to getting out positive news in what seems to be an overwhelming sea of negative coverage of events in Iraq and the Global War on Terror in general.

    U.S. Central Command Public Affairs has a team of three individuals, an officer and two enlisted, whose main responsibilities are to reach out to those of you who operate blogs that discuss and write about matters in the CENTCOM area of responsibility.

    I do wish the events that lead to this would have been handled differently, your request should have been routed to us but, what is done is done. I can say that the event did generate a memo from the Deputy Director,

    “We treat bloggers as we do “traditional media’ in all respects.

    If you interact with bloggers please direct them to the appropriate staff section as you would traditional media.”

    For future reference, please directly media inquires to the blog team,

    Capt. Anthony Deiss deisaa@centcom.mil
    Spc. Patrick Ziegler zieglepa@centcom.mil
    Spc. Chris Erickson erickscj@centcom.mil
    electronicmedia@centcom.mil

    V/R
    Spc. Patrick A. Ziegler
    U.S. Central Command
    Public Affairs

    Spc. Patrick Ziegler (066f62)

  100. Nice comment, Spc. Ziegler. I’m glad Public Affairs is reaching out to bloggers.

    DRJ (0df497)

  101. […] Good news: I may have someone at CENTCOM willing to answer those questions. I got an e-mail today (also left as a comment on my site) which I view as a very positive step by the military media folks: Sir, […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Another Reason Not to Trust the Reporting Coming Out of Iraq (421107)

  102. […] It is truly disgustint that CENTCOM tries to blow off bloggers who are working to expose MSM errors that undermine the military. […]

    The HILL Chronicles » Blog Archive » A Word To CENTCOM (be0686)


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