Will people listen to a General?

The recent news an Army general is writing a biweekly column for a US newspaper caused a stir. The column by Major General Rick Lynch is shown as having to contributors, at least one of which is an Army public affairs officer, has raised questions about the division of news and propaganda, or self-promotion. But does it really matter that he’s writing at all? Will anybody read it buy it, truthful or not?

A recent Pew Research Poll has some interesting findings:

Four years into the Iraq war, most Americans say they have little or no confidence in the information they receive – from either the military or the media – about how things are going on the ground. Fewer than half (46%) say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence that the U.S. military is giving the public an accurate picture of the situation, and even fewer (38%) are confident in the press’s portrayal of the war…

On the negative side, 21% now say they have no confidence in military reports, while 27% have no confidence in press reports on the war. At the start of the war, virtually nobody expressed such views.

Perhaps has the Georgia paper was on to something: publish military authors to boost the paper’s cred.

I suggest you at least glance at the whole Pew Report for comparisons between news interest / coverage over Iraq, Anna Nicole Smith, Brit sailors enjoying some R&R, and the 2008 campaign.