How Can Government Mind Manipulation Be Bad?

Over at Winds of Change, noted Internets savant Armed Liberal explains that people who dislike propaganda are great big sillyheads:

The usual suspects are going bonkers - bonkers! - over the notion that the Pentagon briefed a cadre of retired military men who served as 'expert commentators' in the media.

The thing is, you see, that we are involved in a "counterinsurgency" (against foes who include Hezbollah and the Palestinian Authority, as AL explains in his comments -- I did not know that) and that therefore the American government really should be relentlessly evangelizing and radicalizing the American people for the purposes of crushing the mighty forces of Islamofascism:

So here's my problem. If we're engaged in counterinsurgency, public diplomacy and information warfare - which the insurgent side are very good at, spends a lot of time doing, and where the mainstream media only recently grudgingly backed away from the most egregious, falsified examples of their work - is a critical component, according to pretty much everyone who has written on the subject.

But - our government can't play. Not only are there legal restrictions, but the simple fact that information was given to commentators, bloggers, or reporters by the government - in the hopes that it can shape the information battlespace - is illegitimate, and is itself a major meta-story.

I don't think it's wrong to be concerned about the government shaping the news. I think it's necessary to shape perception as a part of any successful counterinsurgency.

But those two principles seem to be in a midair collision, and as a consequence it's going to keep raining aluminum.


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