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Surging the Media

In a blurb yesterday I noted the PR surge being conducted by Gen. Petraeus in advance of the report on the progress of the surge strategy. As with anything sort of campaign designed to sway public opinion, a key component is the media and how it will portray it. It's one thing to convince a wayward member of Congress. Seems nowadays all it takes is a well orchestrated junket, complete with uplifting PowerPoint presentations and trips to cordoned off markets filled with smiling Iraqi patrons straight out of central casting.

But when it comes to the media, the standard talking points and choreographed field trips should be more of a tough sell. Yes, it should be but with some notable exceptions, the media has bought into the campaign hook, line, and sinker.

One of them is CBS News' Katie Couric who says that there are "signs of life that seem to be normal". And even though she's willing to admit this assessment comes from what the military wants her to see, the problem arises because those caveats are often never the focus of the story. The Bushies know this all too well. They are, if anything, very adept at playing the media like a Stradivarius. They know that certain narratives will be pushed more than others and that those whose expertise or experience far exceeds what is scrolled across a teleprompter will be ignored at best and at worst, maligned. Which makes Couric's comments all the more reprehensible because in lending her celebrity as a news spokesperson, she is giving credibility to claims which might otherwise prove to have very little basis in fact.

And with the media still willing to regurgitate whatever is fed to them, is it any wonder there are those who worry they haven't learned the lessons of the past and are doomed to repeat them?

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

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