Monday, March 06, 2006

Hass MS&L and blogs go to war

William M. Arkin, The Washington Post

Word comes from RL that the Army has hired PR firm Hass MS&L of Detroit to offer "exclusive editorial content" to blogs willing to run government propaganda.

The blog pitch letter seems very reasonable, not unlike ones I have sent out.

American Forces Information Service

U.S. Central Command officials here took notice and created a team to engage these writers and their electronic information forums.

"The main interest is to drive their readers to our site," Army Reserve Maj. Richard J. McNorton said. McNorton is CENTCOM's chief of engagement operations.

Anyone who wants a virtual voice can create a blog and share information with the online world. The ease with which bloggers spread information is what public affairs officials at CENTCOM saw when they created the blog team.

McNorton said the team contacts bloggers to inform the writers about any given topic that may have been posted on their site. This outreach effort enables the team to offer complete information to bloggers by inviting them to visit CENTCOM's Web site for news releases, data or imagery.

The team engages bloggers who are posting inaccurate or untrue information, as well as bloggers who are posting incomplete information. They extend a friendly invitation to all bloggers to visit the command's Web site.

I am withholding judgment; but I cannot say that I am optimistic.

More from the indispensable Jim Horton.

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