Al Qaeda mastered media manipulation in Iraq


Well-Known Member
May 23, 2007
WASHINGTON (Map, News) - An aspect of the war on terrorism that gets too little attention, yet is as important as any other, is the media war. Whether they realize it, members of the mainstream media are participants in the war on terrorism, and nowhere is that more evident than in Iraq.

Blogger Bill Roggio, who has embedded as a journalist in Iraq and Afghanistan, says the enemy’s documents reveal that much of their strategy revolves around manipulation of the media. An enemy unable to beat us on the battlefield is employing a strategy of attacks planned specifically for maximum media coverage and effect.

Roggio recently told the Christian Science Monitor that most mainstream media reporters “display a lack of knowledge of counterinsurgency and the role the media plays in an insurgency’s information campaign.” He says al Qaeda and insurgent groups frequently choose their targets to get specific media coverage they desire.

He cited the way a suicide attack in the Anbar province was reported as an example. “U.S. success in Anbar was immediately negated when al Qaeda conducted a suicide attack in Ramadi in early May, and The Associated Press ‘reported’ that the attack dealt ‘a blow to recent U.S. success in reclaiming the Sunni city from insurgents.’ Al Qaeda conducted the attack to generate such an opening paragraph.”

Journalist Michael Yon describes a similar attempt to manipulate the media. “As the British increase their forces in Afghanistan, they are drawing down in Iraq. Although the drawdown in Iraq is based on pragmatism, the enemy apparently is attempting to create the perception of a military rout. So while the British reduce their forces in southern Iraq, they are coming under heavier fire and the enemy makes claims of driving ‘the occupiers’ out.”

He then describes how a ceremonial transfer of authority over the Maysan province from the British to the Iraqi government was used to “counterpunch in the perception war, by focusing on the progress being made by the Iraqi security forces in the region.” Yon says “some of the biggest battles in Iraq today are being fought not with bombs and bullets, but with cameras and keyboards.”

Gerd Schroeder, a major in the U.S. Army who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, sees a big problem with the lack of context in reporting from Iraq. In an article at The American Thinker, he explains how he came to that conclusion after studying the Brookings Institution Report, “IRAQ INDEX Tracking Reconstruction and Security in Post-Saddam Iraq.”

In the report, which he says is updated frequently and provides information from the U.S. military and other governmental agencies, he found some examples of how a lack of context can create a “misleading public impression.” One example was in the coverage of “ISF” figures.

“The Iraqi security forces (ISF) includes military, police, special police, Iraqi National Guard and border police. From early 2005 to mid-2006, the hot topic for marking progress in the war was how many ISF were being trained and employed. However, in mid-2006, this media reporting trend almost wholly dried up,” he said.

In an attempt to understand why, he examined information from the report: “In July-August 2006, the number of deployed ISF jumped from 269,600 up to 298,000. The previous months had experienced much smaller growth, but July/August 2006 experienced a 10.6 percent jump in ISF. The numbers jumped again in September by almost 10,000 to 307,800. October rose 4,000, and November rose almost 11,000.”

Schroeder concluded that when ISF figures became a good news story of progress, they received less media attention. He says there is “significant, unreported good news” in Iraq. He acknowledges there is plenty of bad news there, but that “the media has been doing a good job of reporting on those negative aspects.”

Schroeder makes the argument for more complete context in reporting saying, “Accurate, meaningful information that spans the full spectrum of subjects, including good news as well as bad, is critical to the American people getting a true picture of the war.”

Until the media start reporting the war in more complete context, it will be impossible for the public to accurately gauge the success or failure of “the surge” or any other aspect of the war in Iraq.
I remember vividly how we were just kicking ass in Vietnam too. Had the commies on the run... freedom was on the march. Sound familiar?

The truth is until the independent media gets into the battle zone the spin is all government propaganda... and you'd expect that.

Does anybody in their right mind think that the government is going to come out and say... Hey, we're getting torn to shreds over there? Come on... :cool:
A free press is one of our greatest assets and strengths as a country.

In peace time...

Press during war time can only harm the country's war effort. Ask Adams, Lincoln, McKinley, Wilson or FDR and they'd tell you that you simply cannot win a war with a hostile media.
I've been well aware of this for years. Everyone knows the best weapon American enemies have against us is our free press.

I completely agree. The current U.S. administration has used this so-called "free press" to its great advantage for years.
I remember vividly how we were just kicking ass in Vietnam too. Had the commies on the run... freedom was on the march. Sound familiar?

Yeah, we kicked some major butt in the Tet Offensive and was technically a major victory for us, however, the South Vietnamese deserted at a higher rate and, those that remained, dug in around their towns and villages instead of pushing forward to finish the job. They dumped that responsibility on us and completing the job would have required hundreds of thousands of additional troops and LOTS more money, both requested by General Wheeler and General Westmoreland after the Tet Offensive, which the American people were not willing to provide. So, in a sense, the media was right and the Tet Offensive was a defeat because the South Vietnamese were no longer willing to fight.

The truth is until the independent media gets into the battle zone the spin is all government propaganda... and you'd expect that.

There's no such thing as an independent media.

A free press is one of our greatest assets and strengths as a country.

That's debatable. It's only a strength if it advocates strength which it doesn't because it's liberal and not based on a foundation or of principle. Besides, the people who write our newpapers are the dregs of the journalist field. Most of them have the brains of small children and have no real understanding of complicated issues at all but people listen to them. The press is a strong force of control and its run by morons and a hell of a lot of Jews.They know how to write a theses and tell a story. Whoo hoo.