"From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." -Andrew Card
, speaking about what would become Operation Iraqi Freedom.
People who lauded Bush as the 'CEO President' forgot that deception and manipulation are a marketer's primary tools. Here we see what happens when they're turned to the service of selling death
:One of the most powerful people in Washington, Rendon is a leader in the strategic field known as "perception management," manipulating information -- and, by extension, the news media -- to achieve the desired result. His firm, the Rendon Group, has made millions off government contracts since 1991, when it was hired by the CIA to help "create the conditions for the removal of Hussein from power." Working under this extraordinary transfer of secret authority, Rendon assembled a group of anti-Saddam militants, personally gave them their name -- the Iraqi National Congress -- and served as their media guru and "senior adviser" as they set out to engineer an uprising against Saddam...
...Indeed, Rendon is already thinking ahead. Last year, he attended a conference on information operations in London, where he offered an assessment on the Pentagon's efforts to manipulate the media. According to those present, Rendon applauded the practice of embedding journalists with American forces. "He said the embedded idea was great," says an Air Force colonel who attended the talk. "It worked as they had found in the test. It was the war version of reality television, and for the most part they did not lose control of the story." But Rendon also cautioned that individual news organizations were often able to "take control of the story," shaping the news before the Pentagon asserted its spin on the day's events.
"We lost control of the context," Rendon warned. "That has to be fixed for the next war."
The Rendon group responds here
, rather feebly. A less sensationalist approach than Rolling Stone
's can be found in Truth From These Podia
, by Paul Wolf. The United States (and UK) conducted a strategic influence campaign that:
* ... distorted perceptions of the situation both before and during the conflict.
* ... caused misdirection of portions of the military operation.
* ... was irresponsible in parts.
* ... might have been illegal in some ways.
* ... cost big bucks.
* ... will be even more serious in the future.
In either case, one is reminded of William Randolph Hearst's telegram to Frederic Remington, on the advent of the Spanish American War. The 'newspapermen' are again creating our wars, and the 'journalists' again merely provide photos of the bodies.
As an update: A bit more about the Rendon Group here
, in an article from last Sunday's Chicago Tribune
, and an expose' of a Rendon-backed astroturfing campaign here
.The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 (22 U.S.C. ' 1461), forbids the domestic dissemination of U.S. government authored or developed propaganda or “official news” deliberately designed to influence public opinion or policy. The Pentagon has made aggressive use of various information warfare techniques, developing new programs and hiring outside media consultants in executing their various missions in the Global War on Terror.