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Old 09-20-2006   #1
Stu-6
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Default A propaganda opportunity?

Quote:
Refugee who fled Iran's mullahs becomes first woman space tourist . . .

As the first Iranian-born astronaut was circling Earth last night, her remarkable journey from Tehran to the International Space Station was being hailed also as evidence of the continued power of another dream: the American one.
Mrs Ansari was 16 when her family emigrated in 1984 as the Islamic Revolution in Iran was at its peak and girls faced a strictly limited future. . .
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...364282,00.html
It seems to me that we (the US/west) should be making a big deal about this. If we are serious about defeating the philosophy of radical Islam then shouldn’t we be pointing this out as an example of our system being better than theirs? That was at least part of how we won the Cold War.
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Old 09-21-2006   #2
Steve Blair
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You're quite correct, but these days we seem to lack the fortitude to call a spade a spade, if you will.

One great American trait is our willingness to publicly and repeatedly bash ourselves over the head with past sins, real or imagined. At the risk of generalizing, you don't often see other countries doing this. While an admirable trait, it makes us much more vulnerable to hostile IO operations than other countries might be. When, for example, was the last time you saw France (a random example) apologize for *anything*? Instead of contrasting our conduct with opponents who routinely behead those they capture or kidnap, we insist on cudgeling ourselves with Abu Ghraib, GITMO, and so on. We should, and on average do, hold ourselves to a high standard of conduct. But we seem very unwilling to point out the conduct of those we are fighting.

I'll step down from the soapbox now...
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Old 09-21-2006   #3
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Default Building a better soapbox

Stay up on the soapbox, Steve!

This is exactly the sort of story that would be perfect - not only internationally, but at the grass roots level. I can almost see the agit-prop:
Where do you want your children to end up?
or
Steve, you are definately right about the self-flagellating tendencies of the Western Press. In some cases, we have a tendency to disregard "good news" as internal propaganda. I know, it's silly as a general rule, but it's a fairly normal reaction to decades of symbolic manipulation by politicians and advertising.

One of the really hopeful signs has been the develpment of the online media which can bypass the regular channels and reach a wide audience. Maybe SWJ should look at "publishing" an RSS feed that deals with good news .

Marc
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Old 09-21-2006   #4
Jedburgh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
You're quite correct, but these days we seem to lack the fortitude to call a spade a spade, if you will.

One great American trait is our willingness to publicly and repeatedly bash ourselves over the head with past sins, real or imagined. At the risk of generalizing, you don't often see other countries doing this. While an admirable trait, it makes us much more vulnerable to hostile IO operations than other countries might be. When, for example, was the last time you saw France (a random example) apologize for *anything*? Instead of contrasting our conduct with opponents who routinely behead those they capture or kidnap, we insist on cudgeling ourselves with Abu Ghraib, GITMO, and so on. We should, and on average do, hold ourselves to a high standard of conduct. But we seem very unwilling to point out the conduct of those we are fighting.

I'll step down from the soapbox now...
I don't feel that it is "lacking the fortitude". The media is a business, and "if it bleeds it leads" is still a driving force. The simple fact is that negative news sells better than positive news. And, being that we truly are a free country, the government does not control or significantly influence media reporting.

I do agree with you in the context that we should be doing more. Not that I am for active government interference with the media, but more can be done within acceptable parameters to raise awareness in select target audiences of positive stories like this.

However, this particular story is being widely reported across the Muslim world - meaning all of Asia, as well as the Middle East. Her Iranian origins, the fact she is Muslim and that she made her fortune in America are highlighted in the reporting in every country. At this point, a strong overt US focus on the story would throw perceptions of her legitimacy into question.
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Old 09-22-2006   #5
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Good point such affairs need to be handled with a bit of subtlety.

Still I think the represents one major unexploited front on the war on terror or at least under exploited. Muslim/Arab/Persian/Central Asian-American are potentially our strongest weapon against radicalized Islamic thought. Unfortunately I feel we are more likely to single them out for additional screening than enlist them in our shared fight.
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Old 09-22-2006   #6
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Default Red Cell Response

Extremist Propaganda: The Americans can do anything, look they even sent an Iranian woman into space. If they can do this, why don't they fix Iraq? They want to keep us down to exploit us for our oil.

I think the contrasting photos are great, as a westerner they represent a stark contrast of our two systems. However, I think anything that originates from us will be horribly twisted and turned against us. I don't think we have credibility with most of the world, because our foes and our own media to a large extent have effectively destroyed it.

However, it is worth a try, it defnitely can't hurt us anymore than our previous attempts at IO, and it just may work. Ideally someone besides the U.S. that is credible to the intended audience could point out the promise of one system and the despair of the other.
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Old 09-22-2006   #7
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Default Using their TTP

It simply amazes me that elements of the Muslim world can demand an apology from the Pope, while killing innocent nuns, destroying property, etc. and somehow largely get away with it. They should be condemned in the western media for spoiled rotten brat behavior and scolded. We're dealing with a spoiled teenager mentality, not a great religion, and it needs to get framed that way. Western leaders collectively should aggressively demand apologies from clowns like the Iranian President when he stupidly threatens to exterminate Israel. We claim to have freedom of the press, but our media quakes in fear at the possibility of upseting the Muslim world, and handles them with kid gloves. Take the gloves off, they have.

We may not win their hearts and minds, but we darn sure should be able to bring the Western coalition together. We need more unity, and "if" worse comes to worse, then we collectively need to be prepared to take stronger, perhaps drastic, actions against our foes. That will require political will, and that is what we need to regain. Show the contrast in life styles, aggressively challenge and condemn their child like behavior, and demand apologies, and for a change put them on the defensive.
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Old 09-22-2006   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
It simply amazes me that elements of the Muslim world can demand an apology from the Pope, while killing innocent nuns, destroying property, etc. and somehow largely get away with it. They should be condemned in the western media for spoiled rotten brat behavior and scolded. We're dealing with a spoiled teenager mentality, not a great religion, and it needs to get framed that way. Western leaders collectively should aggressively demand apologies from clowns like the Iranian President when he stupidly threatens to exterminate Israel. We claim to have freedom of the press, but our media quakes in fear at the possibility of upseting the Muslim world, and handles them with kid gloves. Take the gloves off, they have.

We may not win their hearts and minds, but we darn sure should be able to bring the Western coalition together. We need more unity, and "if" worse comes to worse, then we collectively need to be prepared to take stronger, perhaps drastic, actions against our foes. That will require political will, and that is what we need to regain. Show the contrast in life styles, aggressively challenge and condemn their child like behavior, and demand apologies, and for a change put them on the defensive.
As I mentioned earlier, one reason they CAN get away with this is the largely American reflex to immediately look at ourselves and see what we did wrong. We have been doing this for many years, and you can even see signs of it during the 1800s. It is, I believe, an admirable national trait, but it can (and has been) carried to extremes. One reason (in my opinion, your mileage may vary) that the PC movement has been so successful in the US is this very masochistic reflex on our part to assume blame and/or responsibility for things that do not go as planned.

In order to deal with the situation we are in, we MUST be more aggressive in the media, to include holding others accountable for their actions. Will this happen? Who knows.
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Old 09-22-2006   #9
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Default PC media

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
As I mentioned earlier, one reason they CAN get away with this is the largely American reflex to immediately look at ourselves and see what we did wrong. We have been doing this for many years, and you can even see signs of it during the 1800s. It is, I believe, an admirable national trait, but it can (and has been) carried to extremes. One reason (in my opinion, your mileage may vary) that the PC movement has been so successful in the US is this very masochistic reflex on our part to assume blame and/or responsibility for things that do not go as planned.

In order to deal with the situation we are in, we MUST be more aggressive in the media, to include holding others accountable for their actions. Will this happen? Who knows.
You know, Steve, I was just reading your post when I got an email that really stuck me.

Quote:
As you may know, the journal publishers Reed Elsevier are also involved in organising arms fairs.

Those of you who are concerned about the role of the arms trade in military escalation around the globe may like to consider a 'conscientious' decision not to publish in Elsevier's journals. If so I would advice informing the editors of the journal involved so as to bring pressure on Reed Elsevier to withdraw their support for the arms trade.

More information and petition here....

Sign this?
http://www.idiolect.org.uk/elsevier
The tendency towards "self"-flagellation and induced guilt isn't just an American cultural trait. I see it in Canada and the UK as well. I think it is especially strong in Academia; then again, hat's where I am based so it may just be that my perceptions are skewed to noticing it there.

Marc
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The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
Carleton University
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Old 09-22-2006   #10
Steve Blair
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I agree with your observations, Marc. It is especially pronounced in Academia, unless it involves them admitting they may have made mistakes. I do feel that the trend is more pronounced in the US than it is elsewhere, although Canada and the UK seem to be trying hard to catch up with us.

I tend to follow BBC news, and they are running some stories about the Pope and Muslim reaction to his recent talk that are fine indicators of this.

Quote:
The Pope should be dismissed for "encouraging war and fanning hostility between various faiths" the hundreds of senior Muslims said in a joint message.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5369328.stm

I seriously doubt if there will a meaningful reaction to this kind of talk, although there certainly should be.

It's hard to conduct a meaningful IO campaign when you start yourself so far behind your opponent and try to keep yourself there....
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Old 09-22-2006   #11
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Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
I agree with your observations, Marc. It is especially pronounced in Academia, unless it involves them admitting they may have made mistakes.
Us?!? Steve, don't you know that academics are *always* right - especially when we are wrong . (said comment accompanied by the sound of uproarious laughter as Marc falls of his chair...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
I do feel that the trend is more pronounced in the US than it is elsewhere, although Canada and the UK seem to be trying hard to catch up with us.
It may be, but I think both Canada and the UK have a somewhat unfair advantage - we can always blame the US for all the evils in the world. And believe me, I see that attitude all too much in Canadian academia (sigh).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
I tend to follow BBC news, and they are running some stories about the Pope and Muslim reaction to his recent talk that are fine indicators of this....
I seriously doubt if there will a meaningful reaction to this kind of talk, although there certainly should be.

It's hard to conduct a meaningful IO campaign when you start yourself so far behind your opponent and try to keep yourself there....
Yeah, unfortunately I have to agree with that assessment (sigh). Emotionally, I want to kneecap some of the idiots I have to deal with here when they start with "Well, we all know that this is our fault and we just have to understand and support the poor oppressed people of (fill in the blank)." It's enough to make you believe in reincarnation. Then again, how many bodies can Neville Chamberlain actually reside in at any one time?

Marc
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Old 09-22-2006   #12
Bill Moore
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Default Take the self imposed hand cuffs off

There is nothing wrong with the press quoting the Muslim cleric's reaction, which is their job; however, what is missing is a very vocal response to these idiotic comments. These clerics should be portrayed realistically as simple minded idiots. Where are the western voices (not just government, but academic, artists, etc.) condemning radical Muslim behavior that fans hatred between the religions? Where are the factual statements on Muslims threatening the existence of Israel? Where are the factual statements of Muslims slaughtering Christian children in Indonesia in an attempt to start an ethnic conflict? Where are the statements about these clowns issuing death warrants against authors and movie directors that they disagree with? or encouraging, authorizing, and applauding the murder and wounding of thousands of innocent civilians in mindless terrorist attacks? Where are the factual statements about their ineffective economic models and corruption that condemns their people to a living a hell?

Oh no, we can't do that, we may offend the enemy. Obviously the Pope has no right to engage in an intellectual discussion/debate about Islam. Has the West lost all of their ability to reason and moral courage? Have we submitted to Islam at the tip of the car bomb? We don't need more military adventurism, that isn't the answer. There are several terrorists that still need killing, but that can be done without trying to establish democracies in the Middle East. We won't win the war of ideas by building schools in Iraq. What we need is more moral courage, the moral courage that enables the West and other allies to collectively describe radical Islam as the joke that it is. We need more cartoons, more movies, and more debate about it. They need to be on the defensive, not us! We need to destroy a cult, and the way to do that is attack their ideology, not submit to it. Our entire approach to winning this war has been off track.

Last edited by Bill Moore; 09-22-2006 at 04:40 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 02-22-2007   #13
Reid Bessenger
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Default Media as Part of the Environment

I think of the media in general, the western global media in particular, as an economic group. This group is burdened by a dual impetus for editorial decision - profit and journalistic ethic. I'm not evaluating the group's relative success in the latter or impugning them for pursuit of the former. I'm just describing.

The journalistic ethic is periodically the subject of scrutiny, typically in the wake of an incident that appears to include some agregious violation of propriety in reporting what has happened and what it means.

The profit interest was alluded to in earlier posts in this thread. What will people watch? What will people read? Who are these people, and what are their interests? What captivates their attention? A lot of effort is devoted to finding answers to these questions, and these answers shape editorial decisions through time. I think that the media's creative ability to frame news in a compelling story has come to be dominated by sensational stories that impugn western governments and institutions. I think that creative reporting of news which casts a postive light on those governments and institutions has been deemphasized through time in part due to the influence of profit interest. Okay, nothing earth shaking here.

We shouldn't be surprised that stories presented to a US audience are weighted against western governments and institutions. Check the most popular TV shows, movie box office and rental trends, and it paints a specific picture.

If I see the media as part of the environment in which I operate, I can then apply some thought to getting information operations off the ground that, without omniscience, foresee some possible and some probable opportunities to benefit from reports that address mistakes made on my part, and that capitalize on mistakes made by my adversary. In COIN this suggests a focus on both sustaining domestic and coalition national will, and addressing the population at the center of the conflict.

A positive story concerning reconstruction and return to operation of specific civil infrastructure is one that can be presented with a human interest approach detailing the benefit experienced by the local population. Likewise, an attack on that infrastructure by an adversary can be presented as negatively impacting the local population.
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Old 05-05-2007   #14
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Default Media

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I don't feel that it is "lacking the fortitude". The media is a business, and "if it bleeds it leads" is still a driving force. The simple fact is that negative news sells better than positive news.
The media also knows its market, which is human nature. On the day of the recent Virginia Tech shootings, everyone in my office building was standing in front of televisions, watching the events unfold. Usually these TVs are always on but nobody much is watching them. I remarked to some co-workers that all this coverage of the shootings was not painting Virginia in an accurate light, that they were only showing what was wrong with Virginia, not what was right with the state. Most of my co-workers caught the sarcasm. But one woman didn't and said she thought "happy news" would be inappropriate just then.

It's also human nature to gather around traffic accidents and gawk at disfigured people.

For what it's worth, the U.S. government did raise awareness of Anousheh Ansari's spaceflight:

http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/di...vecer0.1222956

http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/157366main_ansari.pdf

The flight was fairly well covered in the mainstream press, and Ansari herself has her own Website:
http://www.anoushehansari.com/about.php

She was a paying customer in a trip arranged by a company called Space Adventures, which, being a for-profit business, attempted to very slickly promote the flight.
http://www.spaceadventures.com/index...eases_Archives

Last edited by VinceC; 05-05-2007 at 03:07 AM. Reason: fixed typo
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