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Pentagon Moves Toward Monitoring Media

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_IRAQ_MEDIA_MONITORING?SITE=7219&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2006-08-31-22-29-00 Aug 31, 10:29 PM EDT Pentagon
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2006
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      Aug 31, 10:29 PM EDT

      Pentagon Moves Toward Monitoring Media

      MATTHEW PERRONE
      AP Business Writer

      WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. command in Baghdad is
      seeking bidders for a two-year, $20 million public
      relations contract that calls for monitoring the tone
      of Iraq news stories filed by U.S. and foreign media.

      Proposals, due Sept. 6, ask companies to show how
      they'll "provide continuous monitoring and near-real
      time reporting of Iraqi, pan-Arabic, international,
      and U.S. media," according to the solicitation issued
      last week.

      Contractors also will be evaluated on how they will
      provide analytical reports and customized briefings to
      the military, "including, but not limited to tone
      (positive, neutral, negative) and scope of media
      coverage."

      The winner of the contract will likely also be
      required to develop an Arabic version of the
      multinational force's web site.

      Attempts by The Associated Press to contact officials
      connected to the project via telephone and e-mail were
      not successful Thursday night.

      The program comes during what has appeared to be a
      White House effort, before the fifth anniversary of
      the Sept. 11 attacks, to take the offensive against
      critics at a time of doubt about the future of Iraq.

      President Bush addressed the American Legion's
      national convention in Salt Lake City on the issue
      Thursday, stressing that a U.S. pullout from iraq
      would lead to its conquest by America's worst enemies.

      He continued a theme set by both Defense Secretary
      Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza
      Rice when they spoke to the administration-friendly
      group earlier in the week.

      The military last year was criticized for a public
      relations program in Iraq that included hiring a
      consulting firm that paid Iraqi news media to carry
      news stories written by American troops.

      Pentagon officials have defended the program as a
      necessary tool in the war on terror. But critics have
      said it contradicts American values of freedom of the press.
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