Friday, June 2


During the Nixon years, the president's staff included a number of advertising and PR flacks from J. Walter Thompson and the like, including Haldeman, the chief of staff. So spin, coverups, etc. were the order of the day rather than open, honest government. Likewise, during the Reagan years, the policy of lying to the American people was institutionalized (be sure and read the article linked). Under George W. Bush we have the same kind of mentality, operated by many of the same cast of characters, only it's so very much more pervasive. We can't rely with any sort of confidence upon a single word coming out of any department of this government, and this report to the Congress by the Defense Department, "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq," is just another example. Read the whole thing. You won't be surprised at how mendacious it is.

Hey listen, my business is public relations. But good PR depends upon framing, not lies. It means countering seemingly bad news with the larger story so that the impact is mitigated, not covered up. The adage "Get the story out early and completely" is still the hallmark of responsible PR. But the Bushies continue to rely on fake news, false and misleading data, and repeating the Big Lie until it takes hold.

IF THE UNITED STATES is to win in Iraq, it needs an honest and objective picture of what is happening there. The media and outside experts can provide pieces of this picture, but only the U.S. government has the resources and access to information to offer a comprehensive overview.

But the quarterly report to Congress issued May 30 by the Department of Defense, "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq," like the weekly reports the State Department issues on Iraq, is profoundly flawed. It does more than simply spin the situation to provide false assurances to lawmakers and the public. It makes basic analytical and statistical mistakes, fails to define key terms, provides undefined and unverifiable survey information and deals with key issues by omission. It deserves an overall grade of F.
Yet there is still a tendency to promise too much, too soon, to understate the risk and the threat, and to disguise the fact that the U.S. must be ready to support Iraq at least through 2008 and probably through 2010.



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