As if the scandals with fake news, VNRs, Mike Brown, and corrupt congressmen weren't enough.. now the LA Times reports that the US Military is teaching Iraqi reporters about the benefits of democracy and transparency by paying them to write nice stories about the US in the Iraqi media.
So much on our ranking on transparency and pay for placement. We're right up there with Russia and Poland now.. Doesn't anyone care about our reputation at all? Will anyone ever trust us again? Probably not.
The only good news is that at least a few people are questioning the point. According to the article: Daniel Kuehl, an information operations expert at National Defense University at Ft. McNair in Washington said that he did not believe that planting stories in Iraqi media was wrong. But he questioned whether the practice would help turn the Iraqi public against the insurgency.
"I don't think that there's anything evil or morally wrong with it," he said. "I just question whether it's effective."
Since there's no evidence anywhere that there is any sort of system in place to measure success in Iraq -- they won't be able to tell... and with luck they'll stop doing it.
Granted, it would be nicer if people saw this pracice as immoral and unethical and reprehensible and stopped it because it's not what we want to teach Iraqis about democracy. But if it takes a financial reason -- i.e. we don' t want to waste any more money -- that's good enough for me.