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Sparse coverage of Iraq-aganda-gate

Reported by Chrish - December 2, 2005

Bret Baier reported on Big Story today 12/1/05 that there is still no official response to the LA Times article revealing that the US Military has been paying Iraqi newspapers to publish positive articles written by US soldiers.

He said "US commanders said the US does not, uh does provide stories to the Iraqi papers to counter what commanders call misinformation about terrorists, but there has not been a response about the payment part of that allegation."

Baier asked US Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khallizad, about that story, and he replied he just didn't know "and it would be improper for me to comment before finding out." Goes on to comment "whether this was money to buy advertising, or was money to build infrastructure for free media, or something else..."

Comment: FOX's choice of that clip, including the speculation of what money might have been for besides paid propaganda, gives viewers talking points, or excuses, for the US to be paying Iraqi papers.

That was pretty much it on the so-called Big Story. FoxNews.com had an article about the scandal, saying " White House officials said on Thursday they "were very concerned" about reports that the U.S. military paid to run stories in the Iraqi media though the Pentagon has yet to confirm or deny the reports.". Nobody at the White House, the Pentagon, or the Joint Chiefs of Staff knew anything about the matter, natch.

Ambassador Khallizad was quoted from his interview with Baier, so the excuses are documented and the talking points amplified.

FOX News Contributor Bill Cowan was referenced as follows:

Retired Lt. Col. Bill Cowan, of the U.S. Marines and a FOX News contributor, said the United States needs to do more to get positive coverage in the face of massive propaganda against it.

"We, the U.S. and the coalition forces, have not done a good job not only in Iraq but throughout the Arab world of getting the other side of the story out. We're butting up against Al-Jazeera, which certainly has parochial interests, and the idea that there's something wrong with trying to make sure that good stories get in the Iraqi or Middle East media is preposterous," he said.

"We continue to let the bad guys have their say about anything and everything and never get to stand up against that all. We're just not out there really to win this war in my judgment."

Missing from both the website and Baier's report on Big Story was the revelation that Cowan is an advisor to the Lincoln Group, the Washington DC firm which was responsible for the translation and placement of the propaganda in the Iraq papers.

We expect this story will be obfuscated and dropped quickly.

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