White House Pentagon Profiling Reporters

Uh oh:

Contrary to the insistence of Pentagon officials this week that they are not rating the work of reporters covering U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Stars and Stripes has obtained documents that prove that reporters’ coverage is being graded as “positive,” “neutral” or “negative.”

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

Well, it doesn’t look like the Pentagon was telling journalists what to write, they just did ops research on the journalists to chart and graph what they write and predict future favorable/unfavorable behavior.

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I’ve had mixed feelings about embedding reporters. However, with Al Qaeda and the Taliban as enemies, getting reporting would be nigh to impossible because they like killing reporters [Daniel Pearl]. So, it seemed like a possible necessity.

Anyway, the White House has “profiled reporters” too, I’d guess. No one more masterfully manipulates them individually and collectively than Barack Obama. So, he’s either got an internal computer deciding who to call on when, or he’s got an Axelrod with a bulging file filled with research on individual reporters–who to use for which story, when to allow a certain person to ask a question, etc. Nothing is left to chance with these people.

Only Helen Thomas has had the sense thus far to see how she’s been managed and manipulated, but she has a very long history to draw upon.

As to the Pentagon. It would seem to me, that doing background checks on reporters would seem wise. And then, one thing leads to another. As long as reporters weren’t told, at gunpoint, what to write, it seems like no big deal. Besides, reporters are independent-minded and above these sorts of head games, right? These are the people, who with straight faces, claim to be objective. So any sort of influence by the military would be negligible, right?

I mean, they’re not influenced by President Obama.

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