Waging Information War
A key problem in waging war at the information level is that the truth or falsity of the stories may make no difference. They will be taken as true or false as suits the predilection of the audience. Take, for example, today’s Telegraph story reporting shouting matches between Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki and Gen. David Petraeus. The story has been denied outright by the MNF-1 Public Affairs office. Who to believe?
The answer is: it makes no difference. The harm is already done.
The only ways I can think of to eliminate such problems categorically aren’t particularly appealing.
The real issue is that those who would perpetrate the lie (either in telling the story that wasn’t true or in denying the story if true) well face no social or financial penalties.
Imagine if the reporter who reported the lie and the editor who allowed it to be published were both ostracized from their profession. Or the PR flack and her boss were likewise persona non grata in their line. Then those who would tell the lie would have a strong disincentive not to lie. But instead, we tolerate the liar.
Heh. Every time the Telegraph prints one of its fabrications about Iran (the Austrian sniper rifles, mega-tunnels under Teheran etc etc) extreme right bloggers are all over it like flies on s**t but let it attack St. Pet and they’re up in arms.
How many times have I said in comments on OTB that the Torygraph is a rag not fit for wrapping fish in, with zero integrity or journalistic ethics?
Can you hear me now, Cptn Ed? (oh, they also got todays story about Musharaff and Bhutto wrong. There was no deal made.)
Reports of tension between them also come from the AP (repeated by the marine corps times).
Imagine if the reporter who reported the lie and the editor who allowed it to be published were both ostracized from their profession. Or the PR flack and her boss were likewise persona non grata in their line.
If a reporter published a story based only on anonymous sources that turned out to be false, they and their editors should be fired? Boy, that would really have decimated the ranks of the domestic media over the past several years. And then the anonymous sources themselves would also be removed? There’s a novel path to a far smaller and much less inept government than we have now.
What is interesting, however, is not whether a shouting match occured [who cares], but that the spokesperson does not directly deny the contention that Maliki wants Patreus replaced.
The latter is more significant since it fundamentally questions US performance in the country and the committment of the ostensibly autonomous Iraqi “government”. The interpersonal stuff is largely irrelevant.
Worse still, the country voted him in twice.
Experience tells in the end, I guess. After the constant stream of lies and obfuscations over the past six years, its hard to believe anyone or any organisation associated with the Bush regime.
You seriously have to ask whom to believe between a newspaper (even a bad newspaper) and a military
propagandapublic relations office?
The Telegraph may not be the best news rag but their job description isn’t literally “lie to people to make them think we’re swell.” The same cannot be said of the PR boys.