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December 20, 2005



I'd like to say I think this comment of yours is one of the best elucidations of a policy-making principle I've heard in a long time:

"Any policy which does not take into account the inevitability of early public exposure is by definition a flawed policy. That applies to extraordinary renditions, torture, domestic spying, and Iraqi payola schemes alike. This should be a key concept for all policy making today, and a key way in which public diplomacy should be integrated into the policy process."

However, in the context of this administration (or any administration?) I kind of have to wonder if the thinking even if implemented wouldn't be more along the lines of "if/when it is revealed, how do we contain the damage and destroy the leaker" more than "how do we craft a policy which people will by in large agree with and accept if/when revealed". Bush's very public reaction to the recent domestic spying reactions unfortunately would be one of many such signs that this is how this administration behaves. Forget the Iraq-Vietnam comparisons, the Nixon-Bush ones are now growing too.

John Burgess

Not to minimize the issue, but I think what happened here is that the Franklin group got hired to improve the public information climate. Not having had any particular experience in that role, Franklin looked around to see what that climate was.

What they found was that Arab media is filled with "for-pay" or "for-service" articles, dutifully written by journalists who supplemented their income or lifestyles by being republishers of press releases; "helping out" the business of family, friends, or the powerful; doing favors in anticipation of favors returned.

This being the status quo--with few exceptions--Franklin say, "Hey, when in Rome...."

That this was antithetical to good journalism never even crossed their minds. They were task oriented, not oriented toward greater journalistic principles.

Aunt Deb

Well, that's certainly one way to look at it, John Burgess. But it raises the question of why turn this into a bottom-line product-producing private contract operation in the first place. I would have to contend that this administration thinks 'news' is simply a battleground of competing opinions and that almost all opinion holders are swayable, either directly through payola or indirectly through the products of those receiving payola. Works a treat for them, after all.


Lincoln Group previously Iraq-Ex.

Frankly having seen these guys in op in situ, I would say this was less about an understanding of the Arab media enviro and more about scrambling and short cuts in an enviro which they barely understood.

Rather like the rest of CPA-Iraq ops I saw. Amateur hour. The whole American game was gross amateur hour because the chuckle heads in DoD did not feel like learning and did not know the value of the same.

Well, what's a few billions pissed away, eh?

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