U.S. Urged to Stop Paying Iraqi Reporters
By DAVID S. CLOUD
WASHINGTON, May 23 ? A Defense Department investigation of Pentagon-financed propaganda efforts in Iraq warns that paying Iraqi journalists to produce positive stories could damage American credibility and calls for an end to military payments to a group of Iraqi journalists in Baghdad, according to a summary of the investigation.
The review, by Rear Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, was ordered after the disclosure last November that the military had paid the Lincoln Group, a Washington-based Pentagon contractor, to plant articles written by American soldiers in Iraqi publications, without disclosing the source of the articles. The contractor’s work also included paying Iraqi journalists for favorable treatment.
Though the document does not mention the Lincoln Group, Admiral Van Buskirk concluded that the military should scrutinize contractors involved in the propaganda effort more closely “to ensure proper oversight is in place.” He also faulted the military for failing to examine whether paying for placement for articles would “undermine the concept of a free press,” in Iraq, according to the summary.