In move that really does a lot to reinforce one’s cynicism, Stars and Stripes reports that journalists looking to embed with the US military in Afghanistan will have their prior work scrutinized to see the slant of their coverage.
[Contracted PR firm] Rendon examines individual reporters’ recent work and determines whether the coverage was “positive,” “negative” or “neutral” compared to mission objectives, according to Rendon officials. It conducts similar analysis of general reporting trends about the war for the military and has been contracted for such work since 2005, according to the company.
Apparently this does not affect whether or not journalists get the assignment (or so the military says), but Stars and Stripes claims one of its reporters was barred two months ago for refusing “to highlight” positive news. Of course journalists’ groups are outraged, but the military is so scarily powerful they can really do whatever they want, can’t they?
In a follow-up AP story, the Pentagon outright denied this is their practice, but c’mon – what else would they say?