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US Military Explored Hiring Bloggers As Propagandists

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the meme-warfare-has-been-going-on-for-a-while dept.

United States 355

Zeinfeld writes "Wired reports that one time Clipper Chip supporter Dorothy Denning wrote a report on using blogs for information warfare in 2006 (a report available from cryptome). Amongst the proposals were hiring bloggers directly as propaganda agents and using military media resources to 'make' a blogger posting favorable material. Notably, and most unfortunately absent from the report, is the very real question of whether the military should be manipulating domestic media." Is meme warfare just another battleground, or is this dirty pool?

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Cool (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931394)

So there will finally be propagando to counter the countless other bloggers who spew out nonsense about the war.

Re:Cool (5, Insightful)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931724)

Who needs propaganda bloggers when you have fools like Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O'Reilly?

Re:Cool (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22932048)

We need more like them to counter the rest of the "reporters" in the media.

No matter how many times you mention Hannity and O'Reilly, the vast majority of the media will still be in bed with the left.

Re:Cool (2, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22932060)

Are you referring to the bloggers who are against the war, or thise who support the ill-concieved travesty that has done nothing except kill 4,000 troops and bring Al Quaida, our sworn enemies, into it?

If all the bloggers are against the war maybe that might suggest that folks aren't too keen on our being there and ought to leave? OTOH if all the bloggers are for the war then they should stop whining about taxes, especially those with "support the troop" stickers.

But I think if you had more than three brain cells you would realize that there are already bloggers pro and con. What is NOT needed is more astroturf [wikipedia.org] . Reasoned discourse is good, marketing disguised as reasoned discourse is dishonest.

My government and its politicians are already less than honest.

-mcgrew

PS: That was the worst troll I've seen all week. Go back to junior high school, youngster.

Just another form of media... (4, Informative)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931408)

Blogging is just another form of published media - it can be used for any reason. People have just been lured into believing blogs are personal posts from individuals.

Someone [xkcd.com] is going to be very busy...

Re:Just another form of media... (4, Insightful)

jtev (133871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931472)

Very good point. Blogs aren't nearly as driven-snow pure as people think. Remeber folks, the reason politicians love Democracy (or forms of government resembling it) so much is because it is the easiest form of government to maniupulate.

Obligatory (0, Redundant)

fishdan (569872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931512)

In Soviet Russia, Military makes memes about you! ummm... wait...

Re:Just another form of media... (0, Troll)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931474)

True but where is the integrity? Pretending to be an individual when your Uncle Sam Blog is actually many individuals is deceitful.

Re:Just another form of media... (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931546)

Just what makes you think the person writing the blog wouldn't be an individual?

Re:Just another form of media... (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931606)

Read the First Post again.

They do it on TV as well (2, Insightful)

billstewart (78916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931988)

Lots of organizations put out canned news stories for TV, often with a "reporter" interviewing someone. Occasionally the government gets caught doing this kind of deception, but it's also used for commercial propaganda as well.


The big difference is that on the Internet, everything you read is true.


The other difference is on the Internet, nobody can tell that the government is a dog.

Re:Just another form of media... (2, Informative)

doom (14564) | more than 6 years ago | (#22932010)

binaryspiral wrote:

Blogging is just another form of published media - it can be used for any reason. People have just been lured into believing blogs are personal posts from individuals.

They were "lured" into this because it used to be almost exclusively true, but once the medium became popular, it became infested (note: it could be I'm editorializing here) with pseudo-human beings, hired to push different products and causes.

The question, I would say, is how is the on-line community going to react to this? Are you happy with the state of affairs where hundreds of "slashdot users" could be sock puppet accounts run by Karl Rove and/or Microsoft?

And still another question, of course involves the dubious (at best) legality and ethics of this practice. You're marketing department may think it's cute to pretend it's a horde of sincere fans of your products ("guerrilla marketing"), but your customers may not enjoy being deceived. What exactly is the difference between this behavior and "fraud", eh?

And when it's the government involved, there are additional legal restrictions in-play (e.g The Hatch Act). The incumbent has a big enough advantage already without being able to treat government agencies as publicly-funded campaign organizations.

(A reminder to the kids in the audience: there are rules the government is supposed to follow. I admit it often doesn't seem like that under the Bush regime and it's enablers in congress.)

The military decided it wasn't worth paying for it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931440)

Since there are so many sites that will do it for free:

Free Republic [freerepublic.com]
LGF [littlegreenfootballs.com]
Michelle Malkin [michellemalkin.com]
Etc.

Re:The military decided it wasn't worth paying for (3, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931520)

And just what makes you think they're doing it for free?

Re:The military decided it wasn't worth paying for (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931616)

And just what makes you think they're doing it for free?

Well, dailykos.com is on the record saying that they take money to endorse candidates.

Shhhh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931788)

You'll upset the fragile sensibilities of a leftard.

Re:The military decided it wasn't worth paying for (1)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931902)

Well, dailykos.com is on the record saying that they take money to endorse candidates.

And Obama sure can afford them this fall.

Re:The military decided it wasn't worth paying for (2)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931792)

You think the Free Republic is on the side of the government? Do, please, go back to your universe ... you aren't welcome here.

The Future of Warfare (2, Interesting)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931446)

While we think propaganda is bad, the alternative is almost always worse. Gandhi never thought we'd rid ourselves of conflict, but instead envisioned wars in his utopia being fought by "propaganda armies". In the same way, would we prefer the army to use propaganda on its own citizens to convince us of its message or perhaps we would prefer being thrown in a secret prison for descent? Also, would anyone really have a problem with this if said bloggers were clearly labeled rather than astro-turfing?

Re:The Future of Warfare (5, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931526)


Yes - I'd have a problem. The role of the government and the military is to serve and protect us as the people who pay for them both. The role of these bodies is not to try and manipulate my judgement in their favour. When that happens, you know that they consider YOU a threat to themselves. And that strongly implies that your interests are not their interests.

Mod parent up, please. (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931574)

Very well said. Please mod parent up.

Re:The Future of Warfare (4, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931584)


And as regards Ghandi, I'm not familiar with him saying the above, but I imagine that if it is correct, that he was advocating propaganda as an alternative to warfare, not a means of persuading people to support it.

Re:The Future of Warfare (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931726)

Yes and no. Think about the propaganda in World War II, for example "loose lips sink ships". Now it could be in your best interest (in the short term for sure, maybe in the long term too if it didn't change the final outcome of the war) to make some money giving some information to the Germans, Italians, or Japanese. That is definitely not in the best interest for the military, government, or fellow countrymen you may be endangering. The question isn't if you are a possible threat (for there you can always be a threat), the question is how you handle threats. Frankly I would rather have signs above the area where everyone clocks in rather than controlled and monitored labour camps.

Re:The Future of Warfare (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931932)


What you are talking about has to do with suppressing information to foreign enemies. This story is about governments using propaganda to manipulate its own people.

Your weird choice of "I'd prefer signs rather than monitored labour camps" is not a choice that is in any way presented by this story.

Re:The Future of Warfare (2, Insightful)

c_forq (924234) | more than 6 years ago | (#22932016)

This story is about governments using propaganda to manipulate its own people.

That is exactly what Rosie the Riveter, Wendy the Welder, Loose Lips, Buy War Bonds, and a myriad of other campaigns were about.

Re:The Future of Warfare (3, Insightful)

xappax (876447) | more than 6 years ago | (#22932032)

Frankly I would rather have signs above the area where everyone clocks in rather than controlled and monitored labour camps.

You present a false choice between being deceived into obeying the government and being coerced into obeying the government. Your entire premise is based on the assumption that the government is always correct, and must get its way somehow or another.

However, sometimes the government is wrong, and it uses propaganda techniques to conceal its errors and suppress or disparage those who present embarrassing information. The choice in these situations is between being deceived into obeying the government and having the information you need to decide independently whether to obey the government.

Re:The Future of Warfare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931968)

You are mistaking the military for the police.

The U.S. military's job is to protect and uphold the U.S. Constitution.

Re:The Future of Warfare (1)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 6 years ago | (#22932028)

The role of these bodies is not to try and manipulate my judgement in their favour.

Agreed, but realistically the horse ran out of the barn quite a long time ago and this issue with bloggers is just natural incrementalism.

Military agencies plants stories overseas all the time and due to the way news propagates it doesn't take long for them to come back here and be reported as facts.

"Fact finding" junkets are run continually for reporters, pols, clergy, etc., but the military makes sure only one side's facts are exposed.

The military allows "embedded" reporters but it a rare individual who doesn't bond with the soldiers who are protecting him and that tends to seriously skew their reporting.

Plants in the press corps are a time honored tactic. It's no surprise that when a President want to get his message out early in a press conference he knows exactly who to call on.

The sad thing is that the end result of this is to make democracy less efficient. It throws up such a smoke screen that most people just give up on trying to find the truth and just shut down. Ultimately they disengage entirely and it is not all that surprising that 50% of people don't even bother to vote.

Re:The Future of Warfare (2, Funny)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931528)

Gandhi never thought we'd rid ourselves of conflict, but instead envisioned wars in his utopia being fought by "propaganda armies".
So, have we always been at war with Oceana or do I have to pull a 72 hour stint to change the history books to properly reflect this?

the ideal is (1, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931622)

to shape conflict into less arbitrary and deadly tactics. not prevent conflict. as gandhi implies, this is impossible. mankind will always live in conflict. but does he resport to bombs? or resort to airing his grievances in words and a court system? obviously the latter is better than the former, and the whole point of progress. so, in a perverse way, resorting to ideological blogs and propaganda is superior to real warfare, and a GOOD development, not a nefarious one

i would rather someone lie to me than kill me. so bring on the propaganda, from all directions. let it flow freely. beats suicide bombs and bombs from the sky

Re:the ideal is (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931948)

i would rather someone lie to me than kill me. so bring on the propaganda, from all directions. let it flow freely. beats suicide bombs and bombs from the sky

Are we really reduced to these two options?

Re:The Future of Warfare (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931636)

In the same way, would we prefer the army to use propaganda on its own citizens to convince us of its message or perhaps we would prefer being thrown in a secret prison for descent?

I'd prefer they'd do neither. There is no reason any military anywhere should be involved in politics at all. Period.

The military should be separate from the civilian government and should have no need to get the people to go along with it. In fact, the military should be be under the command of the civilians government which should be controlled by the people.

Not the other way around.

When the military is proactive trying to influence the ballot box then you no longer live in a democracy.

Re:The Future of Warfare (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931650)

In the same way, would we prefer the army to use propaganda on its own citizens to convince us of its message or perhaps we would prefer being thrown in a secret prison for descent?

Wait ... either I'm parsing that incorrectly, or are you suggesting an either or choice of being "lied to by your own military or thrown into prison for dissent" -- that can't be right.

If it is going to become US domestic policy to subvert and pollute the domestic media as a propaganda campaign -- just set off all the nukes now and save us the damned trouble. That's an undermining of most of the basic tenets of American society. At which point, nothing on the news can be trusted and you're basically entering into the worst form of Big Brother society I can imagine, because the "Ministry of Truth" will be telling us what we should believe and purging all dissenting opinions. Down that road, there be dragons!!

Also, would anyone really have a problem with this if said bloggers were clearly labeled rather than astro-turfing?

What would be the benefit if it was labeled as "biased, planted information designed to convince you of things which aren't true"?? This strategy can only work if you do is covertly. In a previous age, this would be where I would postulate that deliberate mis-information campaigns on domestic soil would likely be as illegal as domestic spying. Now, I'm not so sure it would matter.

Now, granted, CNN basically spent the last bunch of years being a bunch of uncritical mouthpieces for the policies of the administration. So, maybe people are already used to the idea of being lied to in the guise of news. But, having a deliberate policy of doing this by an actual government arm would be a really horrible precedent. An misinformed populace can't honestly evaluate what the government is doing. However, that plays right into the hands of those who have been using terrorism to subvert the rule of law.

Cheers

Re:The Future of Warfare (5, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931654)

would we prefer the army to use propaganda on its own citizens to convince us of its message or perhaps we would prefer being thrown in a secret prison for descent?
  1. That's a wonderful false dichotomy you have there. Brainwashing or being disappeared. Though choice, huh?
  2. The word is "dissent".
  3. "Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."
    "There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."
    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

  4. In a totalitarian state, it doesn't matter what people think, since the government can control people by force using a bludgeon. But when you can't control people by force, you have to control what people think, and the standard way to do this is via propaganda (manufacture of consent, creation of necessary illusions), marginalizing the general public or reducing them to apathy of some fashion.
                -- Noam Chomsky

Re:The Future of Warfare (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931674)

Also, would anyone really have a problem with this if said bloggers were clearly labeled rather than astro-turfing?
In a world full of splogs, shills, and guerilla marketers why would you take any blog at face value? The problem is that people want to judge the usefulness or correctness of information they receive based mostly upon their preconceived notions about the source instead of thinking for themselves. It is a trained response that is branded (pun intended) into the minds of young people from an early age by relentless marketing, consumer-oriented public education, and paternalistic government programs and policies so that when they grow up they are compliant, don't ask too many questions, and are easily manipulated.

Re:The Future of Warfare (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931822)


In the same way, would we prefer the army to use propaganda on its own citizens to convince us of its message or perhaps we would prefer being thrown in a secret prison for descent?

What I really just can't even fathom is why you think these are the only choices here.

I've got one for you.. would you prefer to be:

Killed outright.
or
Have your left hand cut off?

Cuz those are the only two possible choices.

I guess my choice would be to have a military that protects the people, and doesn't engage in propaganda campaigns because a democracy requires an informed citzenry. (Oh, and to NOT be killed OR have any hands cut off). Can you please tell me why those aren't among your options?

Re:The Future of Warfare (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931826)

perhaps we would prefer being thrown in a secret prison for descent
True, it was a criminally good game.

Re:The Future of Warfare (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931866)

Count me in on having a problem. Governments are elected officials who are accountable to the people. But how can you be accountable if you are the one making up all of the truthiness? Generals and the military in general are far less accountable, with almost zero successful prosecutions for war crimes against Americans, and yet are appointed to protect citizens against outside threats. Uhhh, and who decides what is an outside threat? Oh, the people with no accountability. Buy One Red Scare, Get One Free. Psychological warfare is also not always nicey-nice. The bombing of Dresden, the attrocities in Darfur - these are all simple military adaptations of propoganda. It's so much easier to create a myth around nuggets of truth.

This is not to say that the alternatives to propoganda are any better. More honest, perhaps, and shocking enough that people understand the consequences of their actions, as a classic Star Trek (old series) illustrated nicely. Shocking enough that after World War I, the link between the military and nationalism went into decline throughout Europe.

I don't believe there will ever be a "good" answer to conflict or an acceptable solution to war, but I do believe it criminal negligence to go from saying we can never do this acceptably to saying we should tolerate what we have. I believe it paramount to force the issue, force the evolution of new methods, never allow yesterday's limited understanding interfere with taking another fairy-footstep in a better direction.

Why hire? (2, Insightful)

taxman_10m (41083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931454)

Most bloggers on the right do it for free.

Re:Why hire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931660)

Most bloggers on the right do it for free.
Flamebait They also moderate as Troll anything that is critical to them, or goes against their world view. Seriously, I'm starting to think that they have a cabal around here.

Re:Why hire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931910)

Agreed. Not just Slashdot either. About a dozen of us on Digg who comment regularly in certain hot button topic threads are being automatically dug down daily by what appears to be a script run by each member of a fanatic conservative 'cabal' over there. Seems to be systematic harassment to discourage speaking out, and it's not just some single nutcase doing it. They sweep in like locusts and hammer all remarks anywhere, political or not, by target individuals down by as much as 10 points, in minutes. Scary. Scarier is that the rightwingers recently spoofed several people's names and posted ranting Muslim statements in our names in an attempt to discredit us. Yipes. Sure hope Slashdot stays a mostly level-headed place.

Re:Why hire? (1)

Derek Loev (1050412) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931744)

Damn, I knew liberals made more money.

This is the age of disinformation (1)

BlueshiftVFX (1158033) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931456)

not the age of information. there are so many conflicting opinions out there that people are either becoming zombies of one opinion or distanced from any opinion due to the confusion. this type of over saturation of information I think is only leading to the complacency of the people.

In the end this is an excellent propaganda machine.

So what's new? (5, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931462)

The U.S. government and military have routinely engaged in propaganda and information control at least since WWII (and, more informally, since long before that). Hell, they had an entire agency [wikipedia.org] that did nothing but this sort of stuff (an agency which John McCain wants to bring back [johnmccain.com] , incidentally).

How on earth anyone could be shocked by this at this point is beyond me. This kind of stuff is fairly benign next to the kind of stuff they do in SECRET. It's when they actually start talking about killing reporters to silence dissent [wikipedia.org] that they REALLY get nasty.

Re:So what's new? (0, Flamebait)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931626)

They are looking nly now for bloggers to do this because it's near he end of President Bush's term. He had been spamming all the blogs and blogging everywhere about pro USA and pro War agendas cince 2001. but because they expect someone to come in the White house that will actually do something other than surf porn, eat hot dogs, and watch frederator podcasts they felt the need to recruit people.

All current posts on the net that is for the war were posted by G.W. Bush himself. That's how dedicated of a president he is.

Re:So what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931844)

What clueless dipfucks modded this flamebait? It's fucking April 1st.

Even I got the joke and it's a good one.

Re:So what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22932046)

What clueless dipfucks modded this flamebait?
Look around, anything that is critical of Bush, or even Republicans is getting tagged 'Flamebait' within minutes. I suspect that someone with unlimited moderation points is really pushing a viewpoint.

i'm not defending the usa (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931686)

i just wonder at the point of criticizing the usa alone for what every country does, has ever done, and will always do

american? [wikipedia.org]

american? [wikipedia.org]

american? [wikipedia.org]

american? [wikipedia.org]

all of your complaints are valid in the context of bad HUMAN nature. they are invalid in the context of bad AMERICAN nature. what is the intellectual value in your mind of prosecuting the usa alone for crimes all of humanity is guilty of?

you need to be morally and intellectually honest. or you are just another useless pointless partisan. the world has enough of those and their tribal venom

Re:So what's new? (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931690)

This kind of stuff is fairly benign next to the kind of stuff they do in SECRET.
FTFA: Military Report: Secretly 'Recruit or Hire Bloggers'
A study, written for U.S. Special Operations Command, suggested "clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers."

Four-Minute Men (2, Informative)

Belisarivs (526071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931728)

It goes back, formally, at least to Woodrow Wilson and his Committee on Public Information. They recruited 75,000 - 100,000 (called Four-Minute Men [wikipedia.org] ) volunteers to give four-minute speeches supporting the case for war against Germany - including before hostilities between the nations.

But they have killed Reporters (3, Interesting)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931808)

It's when they actually start talking about killing reporters to silence dissent [wikipedia.org] that they REALLY get nasty.


During the Kosovo crisis Serbian State TV (equivalent to the BBC) was showing the effects of NATO bombing on civilians. To stop this NATO bombed the Serbian State TV station killing 15 civilians. NATO justified this by saying that the station was a tool of propaganda. By this rational, if the US/UK go to war with Iran, the BBC and many American news outlets will be viable targets. General Wesley Clark was confronted with this war crime during a conference and he seemed very sheepish about it and resorted to saying that his orders had come from the top.

Re:So what's new? (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931810)

There's a big difference. Of course psy-ops has a long history going back to WWII, however, it was always directed at foreign media, never at US media.

In this age of Google News, it's easy for a propaganda story planted in a foreign paper to make its way back to US readers. You can call that psy-ops collateral damage. Targeting psy-ops stories specifically at US citizens is 100% illegal. I'm not talking about press conferences and interviews. Those are still ok, regardless of the truthiness of information dispensed.

Re:So what's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931942)

"an unpublished memorandum made within the British government which purports to be the minutes of a discussion..." Blah Blah Blah.

Seems that this is what should most properly be called propaganda.

The future is now (2, Insightful)

Higaran (835598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931468)

This is just basically an updated version of dropping propaganda phamplets from air planes, just it's a digital format instead of analog.

Re:The future is now (2, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931562)


Slight difference - they're "dropping" the propaganda pamphlets on us.

Re:The future is now (1)

Higaran (835598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931642)

Yes, but they did the same thing during the cold war, about how the communism was horrible, and about Hitler during WW2, so it's not really anything new.

Re:The future is now (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931778)

That's funny...I don't remember having any leaflets dropped on me from airplanes during the Cold War...and I was in the U.S. during the whole thing. Strange...

Re:The future is now (1)

Higaran (835598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22932058)

Yes, but they did put up posters, and make kids in school watch movies on the stuff.

Yeah Right (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931478)

I don't know what country you guys are from, but this would never happen in my beloved U.S. of A. We're above that kind of thing.

Re:Yeah Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931796)

All right guys I think it's time we put a few things out in the open:
1) There's really not much difference between democrats and republicans
2) Yes, Kazakhstan is a country. Pick up a map sometime.
3) No Paris, France, not Paris, Texas
4) No, it's not ok to eat McDonald's every day. Yes, it will make you fat.
5) Gay people aren't evil

And this _decreases_ the believability of blogs? (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931482)

C'mon folks, if you're getting your "hard facts" from blogs, you're already toast. Everybody has an agenda, it's just that some folks get paid for it. Don't think of them as military propaganda arms, think of them as paid public lobbiests (aka astroturfers) . Whole different form of slime, but slime nonetheless.

It's not like this is anything new... (3, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931490)

Notably, and most unfortunately absent from the report, is the very real question of whether the military should be manipulating domestic media.

The rest of our media is manipulated...why not blogs? Compared to the other forms of media, blogs are notoriously easy to manipulate. With the ever-growing cacophony of voices on the internet, it's more and more difficult for Joe Sixpack to adequately fact-check a given story...so they increasingly just believe what they hear from their mouthpiece of choice. I personally have to debunk all of the ridiculous stories my wife's family mindlessly forwards around to each other without question....the latest was that Obama is Muslim.

Re:It's not like this is anything new... (3, Funny)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931794)

the latest was that Obama is Muslim.

Yeah, well, he turned me into a newt! Burn him! Burn him!

All's Fair In War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931492)

I don't see what this is front page news.

Information warfare and propaganda have always been a vital and necessary component of military planning. It's much easier if you can get your enemy to surrender rather than shoot them.

I applaud the US military for doing everything they can do in this field. I know this is not a popular view here, but its what needs to be done. How is this news for nerds again??

Re:All's Fair In War (0, Redundant)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931544)

It's better than the OMG PONIES I was expecting to see today :)

Re:All's Fair In War (1)

rholland356 (466635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931592)

All's Fair in Love, too, and I find I have to pay BIG BUCKS to get favorable blog treatment.

Re:All's Fair In War (0, Flamebait)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931552)

Information warfare and propaganda have always been a vital and necessary component of military planning. It's much easier if you can get your enemy to surrender rather than shoot them.

It's our own media that's being manipulated. Are you implying that the citizens are "the enemy"?

Just pay DailyKos.com! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931496)

Did you think Dailykos.com endorsed candidates just because Markos thought they were decent people? Nope. Democratic candidates send him payola.

Of course, it might not be a good idea. Every candidate endorsed by dailykos has gone down to defeat.

All your old N. Korean Bloggers are belong to us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931500)

Insert meme here.

Depends (3, Insightful)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931540)

It really depends on what news they publish and how they spin it.

If the military hired bloggers post mostly postive news stories that's fine, because typically those stories are completely ignored by main stream media.

The problems begin if they start putting heavy spin on bad news to make it sound good, fabricating stories, or pretend there is no bad news and not report it, then we have a problem.

Re:Depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931678)

Goooooooooooooooood Morning, Vietnam!!!!

turnabout is fair play? (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931542)

When the "enemy" is doing it, you need to do it to some extent as well.

Re:turnabout is fair play? (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931918)

When the "enemy" is doing it, you need to do it to some extent as well.
I'll remember that when they're doing deplorable acts to their own peoples mothers that you have no problem with me doing it to yours.

Operation Mass Appeal (4, Insightful)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931548)

This doesn't seem to compare to "Operation Mass Appeal" which was a programme by M16 to plant stories in the British media in the run up to the Iraq War. They needn't have bothered really though since the Mainstream Media is quite capable of printing flimsy government accusations as fact without the intervention of the Secret Service.

Jeff Gannon (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931554)

Is this kind of the same as when they used Jeff Gannon [wikipedia.org] or was he just lucky [rawstory.com] ?

apologies to carl von clausewitz (1, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931564)

"blogs are a continuation of war by other means"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_von_Clausewitz#Cultural_References [wikipedia.org]

Re:apologies to carl von clausewitz (1)

Butisol (994224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931850)

References are more funny when you don't go, "Here's a link. It shows how smart I am to make up this devilish reference to an influential military theorist from the Napoleonic era."

on advice (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931880)

taking advice on how to be funny from the unfunny is like ...

finish the quote from the original source, asshole xoxoxoxox

If Anti-Military Orgs Use Bloggers (3, Interesting)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931586)

. . . to place their propaganda on the internet (ahem, Huffington Post [huffingtonpost.com] , DailyKos [dailykos.com] , etc, ad nauseum), then why can't the military use bloggers to post its point of view?

Seems like another double-standard to me.

Re:If Anti-Military Orgs Use Bloggers (3, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931624)

Independent pro-military groups can have as much fun as they want. The problem happens when public funds are spent, really.

Re:If Anti-Military Orgs Use Bloggers (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931944)

The problem is that it is much easier to write antiwhatever propaganda than it is to write prowhatever propaganda.

Really, it is.

Nobody is "pro-war". Well, no reasonable person is. However, there is a time and place for war. So while even I hate war, I also realize that there is a time and place for it. If you are "Anti-war", you can speak against war, generally or specifically, and it is quite easy. And if you speak in general enough terms, I might even agree with much of what you say.

For an exercise in application, try to write a pro-war piece. Most people would have an awful time trying. Now write an Anti-war piece. Just about everyone could.

And no, I'm not making excuses for GWB. In fact, if you want to blame anyone for this, blame congress, who has the power to declare wars and such. And who exactly are we at war with now anyway? It surely isn't the current Government of Iraq, is it? :-D

Re:If Anti-Military Orgs Use Bloggers (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931644)

First of all, please try not to use the pejorative term "anti-military". We're all pretty sick of that straw man.

Second, we're not talking about a "pro-military org" placing propaganda, as opposed to your "anti-military org". We're talking about THE MILITARY. If you can't see the difference, there's little point in continuing this conversation.

Re:If Anti-Military Orgs Use Bloggers (1)

rholland356 (466635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931704)

The result of the study - and this is probably a reflection on the quality and influence of blogging - was that the military decided to not feed into the blogosphere.

THAT should be the real story here: what is it about blogging that the military, in a pro-military environment, would find inadequate?

Dear Army Of None (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931594)

All your ammo are belong to us.

And your RPG are up Cheney's ass.

ALLAH-AKKBBAARR! [jihadunspun.com]

Not surprised (1)

sl8r (104278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931596)

And it wouldn't surprise me if the mongs at pajamasmedia, LGF et al were paid by the gov't, especially in the run-up to the war up until the whole "mission accomplished" fiasco started biting the administration in their ass.

The very real question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931600)

Notably, and most unfortunately absent from the report, is the very real question of whether the military should be manipulating domestic media.
Obviously the military doesn't really think it's much of a question.

The Military? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931628)

Who needs the military to issue propaganda? Our own media and news outlets are nothing more than commentary and propagandists. I can't remember when I've heard anything of substance in the news. It's stories of alligators on the freeway or a couple of political stooges arguing over some irrelevant issue that doesn't benefit anyone. Or... better yet it's some vicious talk show host arguing with a guest which climaxes with the host telling the guest to "SHUT UP!" This isn't news; it's propaganda. If you think the US media companies give news then I have a bridge I'd like to sell you. America is fast becoming a fascist police state and the media is doing their part in providing an outlet for the propaganda the government and special interests would like to shove down your throats and, by God, aren't the good American people opening wide.

Military propoganda directed domestically (2, Interesting)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931630)

Is, to some extant, against the tenants of democracy. My reading on democracy is that there are rules about what people are allowed to do to eachother physically, but no rules about memes. I think it's questionable as to whether using physically coercive means such as taxes to further memetic warfare directed at our own citizens is at all valid within this framework. The government here is trying to enforce rules about memes on its own citizens.

External or Internal? (1)

sigzero (914876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931676)

The blurb didn't say. If they are trying to propagandize in the origin country, then no that isn't a good thing but it probably happens.

why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931706)

The enemies of the US military have been manipulating domestic media for their benefit since at least the 60s, so why should one side have all the fun?

Incorrect question (1)

musides (127384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931722)


  "the very real question of whether the military should be manipulating domestic media.""

  You can't be serious. Of course the military should have a media relations group: media relations is all about language and manipulation of the facts. That is normal and reasonable.

  Bribing the media, however, is the "real question". This is a question of ethics, and has less to do with the military than it has to do with freedom of the press. When government is bribing the press, free press is put on notice.

  Analogies to Fox news cheapen the weight of this discussion. While Fox is a mouth piece for US government, it is not paid to do this, and that is a significant distinction. They operate within the market, and make alot of money as a propaganda outlet. If the market had been fundamentally altered such that only propagandists could be successful, again you'd have a fair comparison.

Unethical? Try illegal. (3, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931740)

Notably, and most unfortunately absent from the report, is the very real question of whether the military should be manipulating domestic media.

Not to mention the legality... The Hatch act still exists, to the best of my knowledge. And although people generally interpret it somewhat more liberally than intended, this seems like exactly the form of corruption targetted thereby... The executive branch, using federal funds to make the war look better, to improve the chances of McCain getting in come November.

Then again, since when has the current administration bothered with obeying all those pesky little laws? "Four more years - Why should the constitution matter this time?"

Re:Unethical? Try illegal. (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931892)

I'm sad to say it, but if this Hatch Act is a law against military or government propagandising its own people, it's a law that doesn't amount to squat, given the evidence lately.

My eyes are failing (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931742)

I think my eyesight is getting worse.

I read the headline as "US Military Hired Exploding Bloggers As Propagandists" !

Isn't that illegal? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931748)

I thought it was illegal for the military to distribute propaganda domestically.

Not that legality has ever stopped the government. Especially this one.

Why not (2, Insightful)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931798)

Slashdot is every bit propaganda for a dozen or so issues. We shoud not be offened by this. Especially if some of us constantly do anti- military and US propaganda.

Since when have they NOT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22931882)

Puh leeze, the spooks/dotmil have been using reporters as long as I can remember, JFing google for it, overtly and covertly. Look at the 2004 election when they got to the NYT to sit on the "no weapons of mass destruction" story-among others- until after the election (and the neocon/freepers/dittohead loons thinks the NYT is "liberal", what a buncha idjits, the NYT is the military industrial complex mouthpiece along with the WSJ) Using "bloggers" is just saying the same thing under more modern parlance. On the net, anyone who has run mailing lists or forums since..there's been those things..knows that various "agencies" and other employees of different clothing styles have had a long and established presence in disseminating propaganda, although now a days they tend to use proxies a lot more, and do a lot of copy and pasting across the "blogosphere" (easy way to see which are the plants and FUD spinners who are on the taxpayer payroll). And they not only type shit up, the more active wet work mercenaries they use-no, they are not "heroes", they are chump change mercenaries- have a long history of offing reporters that are trying to work against mil/industrial complex dictators they support all over, you name it, the americas, africa, middle east, asia. Again, JFing google it, it's out there.

The main stream media-print and broadcast- is by and large a full tool of the globalist wall street pirates and their hired muscle boys in "service". They are only jumping on blogs because the internet started slipping out of their complete control, and it is about the only way to counter it outside of the "great firewall of everywhere" model they want to introduce.

Psychological Operations (1)

th3rmite (938737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931954)

This doesn't surprise me at all considering the US Army still has propaghanda units, they just call them Psychological Operations [wikipedia.org] .

Shills, but not fabrications (1)

PMuse (320639) | more than 6 years ago | (#22931984)

Shills are shills. They have always been with us. We know how to deal with a guy who stands up and takes a position because he's being paid to -- we expose his bias and smart people stop paying attention to him thereafter.

What is not OK is lying. (1) Making a false statement about whether he's accepting funds or (2) making up a fake person to be the speaker are both impermissible.

why not? MSFT does it, doesn't it? (1)

bball99 (232214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22932014)

c'mon... we all know about that FUD is just about the same...
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