There’s been a backlash against Ken Silverstein’s post on the Pentagon’s Blogger Outreach program. It may be that the one paragraph I pulled and questioned may
not be entirely accurate. That said, the rest of the post still stands questioning to the role and purpose of Public Affairs. For a discussion on PA, see the comments on my original post.
See Silverstein’s update today. The intent of the blogger roundtable seems to be perception management by the Administration to. Charlie Quidnunc at wizbang, responding to Silverstein’s asking “how they would feel if a group of handpicked, administration-friendly liberal bloggers had done the same thing during the Clinton years,” said
Isn’t that what happens every day to thejournalistscovering Iraq? (Note the snicker quotes for Mike Drummond.) Don’t they just parrot all the Democratic talking points spreading anti-administration gospel? We’re just fighting back against their spin.
Not the best choice of words by Quidnunc, but perhaps befitting of the reality.
MountainRunner isn’t playing politics here but simply highlighting the overt political manipulations by the Pentagon’s public affairs apparatus (see Catharsis’s comments on OCPA on my earlier post). I agree with the need to get the word out of successes. Like a tree falling in the forest, if no one knows you’re winning, you’re not winning.
That said, the Blogger Roundtable seems to be a function of perception management more than PA, not having sat in on one and based on Silversteins arguments, which are more persuasive than Grim’s. Now granted the Roundtable can’t include every blog out there, but Quidnunc and others seem to parrot the undesirability of a contrarian view an themselves implicitly parrot the “you’re with us or against us” mantra.
So let me modify Silverstein’s question to his readers: is it the Pentagon’s responsibility or duty to influence US domestic public opinion?
The US military is sworn to uphold the Constitution and is beholden to two masters: the President as well as the Congress. Since World War II, the uniformed military has realized its place in between these two and manipulated the relationship extensively. However, the creators and managers of the Roundtable are civilian appointees, not uniformed personnel. Does this change your answer?