Sunday, August 26, 2007

One Soldier's Free Thoughts

The Pentagon has shut down as many soldier's blogs as they can find. Here's one that they haven't shut down, Army Dude. A guest blogger (Steve Clemons) at Andrew Sullivan's blog at the Atlantic Magazine online, Dish, posted this information. Read it before the government kills it.

As you may have read, the administration is setting up a 24/7 "Iraq Communications Desk" in Baghdad that will provide more immediate information about military activities in Iraq. Here's a link to the information posted at Talking Points Memo. Here's the nut of it:

The Defense Department insists it simply wants to disseminate reliable information quickly and efficiently, and this has nothing to do with serving any political agenda. Fine. Here's a fairly straightforward test: will the "Iraq Communications Desk" be just as diligent in publicizing discouraging news as it is putting a positive spin on developments on the ground? Will it back up assertions with data that is open to public scrutiny? Will it steer clear of White House-approved political rhetoric?

If the answer is "yes," it's a helpful public resource. If "no," it's a propaganda tool. Time well tell.

Control of the narrative is the quintessential urge of the present and it will be the most highly developed and rewarded skill of the future. The odd and unexpected emergence of the web and its bloggers is the one thing standing in the way of this controlling urge. It is the most important media challenging this rapid movement toward control of the story. Our main stream media is lost to us, wholly owned and controlled by corporate interests. Our political parties are locked-down in talking points and in the gaming of ideas.

As messy as the blog scene gets, it is one reliable place where a free press is at work. I still think it is amazing that the web came along when it did, to provide a challenge to the Rovian ethos and to become the new free press, when the MSM failed us.

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