Information Warfare: "Setting the Record Straight" Department


November8, 2006: After more than two decades of studying Information War (and inventing the term), the U.S. Department of Defense has finally gotten its act together. Taking a tip from it's own combat doctrine, the Department of Defense has formed a special unit to hunt down and correct inaccurate media reporting on the war effort. Calling it "Setting the Record Straight," the basic drill is to identify inaccurate news stories that are gaining some traction, and to shoot them down with blunt corrections from the White House press office.

The current situation is what the military calls a "target rich environment." The reporting, especially on the war in Iraq, has long since veered off into fantasyland. This gets in the news from time to time when the media bothers to ask some of the troops how it's going. In addition to getting some very accurate information (which most mass media are not interested in releasing), there are also comments along the lines of, "what are you (the media) talking about?" Most of the troops have Internet access, and then they check out the mass media coverage of the war, they have to wonder if there's another Iraq out there, where a different situation exists.

The Department of Defense hasn't said how they expect the media to react to this return fire approach. Because of the growing alternative media (blogs, especially), the mass media cannot just ignore ("bury" is the term of art) the refutations from the Department of Defense. So all this to-and-fro may get very interesting.


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