U.S. Army Offers Content to Blogs Through PR Firm
Posted on January 12, 2006A post on William M. Arkin's Early Warning blog for the Washington Post says the U.S. Army has hired a PR company named Hass MS&L to get bloggers to run their content.
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.Arkin's post says bloggers at Black Five, One Hand Clapping and Fuzzilicious Thinking are a few of the bloggers that received the email from Hass MS&L. The following message was in the body of the email that was sent.
"The Army believes that military blogs are a valuable medium for reaching out," account executive Charlie Kondek has written to a number of pro-military blogs in a January 6 Email.
"To that end, the Army plans to offer you and selected bloggers exclusive editorial content on a few issues you're likely to be interested in," Kondek says
I'm writing from a PR firm on behalf of the U.S. Army. We're contacting a few bloggers to test a new outlet for public information. The Army believes that military blogs are a valuable medium for reaching out to soldiers. To that end, the Army plans to offer you and selected bloggers exclusive editorial content on a few issues you're likely to be interested in. If you do decide you are interested in receiving this material, whether you choose to write about what we send you is, of course, entirely up to you.Arkin calls the Army's content government propaganda and says "It all smacks of just another losing PR effort by a desperate team who seems to think that the only way it is going to get good press is to buy it or plant it." An army public affairs officer told Arkin it was an attempt to get more of the "good news" out there:
Like I said, we're only contacting a handful of bloggers at this time. If you are interested, please let me know, and we'll send you further information as it becomes available. Either way, thanks for your time.
But the "content" under discussion, an Army public affairs officer tells me, is not the nitty gritty of deployments and living conditions overseas. It is planned to be an official counter to the perceived unwillingness of the mainstream media to report the "good news" from Iraq and the war on terror.Those familiar with the recent news about a government clamp down on milblogs could also think this is a way to quash the bad news while also delivering more "good news" about the Iraq War. Fuzzilicious and John Donovan disagree with Atkins' concerns about the Army's "exclusive editorial content" being used as propaganda.