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Freedom of the press…but maybe not in the Green Zone?

August 25, 2009

Stars and Stripes has a disturbing article today about a PR service called Rendon, which the Pentagon uses to screen journalists before they embed with US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not, of course, to censor anyone. Just so they “know who with whom we’re working.”

A spokesperson maintains the government has never denied access to anyone based on whether their military coverage ranks as “positive,” “negative” or “neutral” per the PR company’s review. But Stars and Stripes notes:

“U.S. Army officials in Iraq engaged in a similar vetting practice two months ago, when they barred a Stars and Stripes reporter from embedding with a unit of the 1st Cavalry Division because the reporter “refused to highlight” good news that military commanders wanted to emphasize.”

So much for the presidency of transparency? Lots needs vetting here, but I might start with how Rendon was chosen, and by whom.

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