Feb. 4, 2005

CNN.com - Pentagon�sites: Journalism or propaganda? - Feb 4, 2005

Pentagon sites: Journalism or propaganda?

Friday, February 4, 2005 Posted: 11:40 AM EST (1640 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Department of Defense plans to add more sites on the Internet to provide information to a global audience -- but critics question whether the Pentagon is violating President Bush's pledge not to pay journalists to promote his policies.

The Defense Department runs two Web sites overseas, one aimed at the Balkan region in Europe, the other aimed at the Maghreb area of North Africa. It is preparing another site, even as the Pentagon inspector general investigates whether the sites are appropriate. The Web sites carry stories on subjects such as politics, sports and entertainment. The sites are run by U.S. military troops trained in "information warfare," a specialty than can include battlefield deception. Pentagon officials say the goal is to counter "misinformation" about the United States in overseas media. At first glance, the Web pages appear to be independent news sites. To find out who is actually behind the content, a visitor would have to click on a small link -- at the bottom of the page -- to a disclaimer, which says, in part, that the site is "sponsored by" the U.S. Department of Defense.

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"Magharebia" is one of the news Web site sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.

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