Some tidbits from Pentagon Spending Billions on PR to Sway World Opinion:
This year, the Pentagon will employ 27,000 people just for recruitment, advertising and public relations — almost as many as the total 30,000-person work force in the State Department.
On an abandoned Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas, editors for the Joint Hometown News Service point proudly to a dozen clippings on a table as examples of success in getting stories into newspapers.
What readers are not told: Each of these glowing stories was written by Pentagon staff. Under the free service, stories go out with authors’ names but not their titles, and do not mention Hometown News anywhere. In , Hometown News plans to put out 5,400 press releases, 3,000 television releases and 1,600 radio interviews, among other work — 50 percent more than in .
The service is just a tiny piece of the Pentagon’s rapidly expanding media empire, which is now bigger in size, money and power than many media companies.
At times it’s difficult to know who is fooling whom and for what motives. The article points to one case in which, when General Petraeus was asked by a reporter about the popular mood in Iraq, he held up a poster of the Iraq soccer team as a way of showing how the country was putting sectarian feuds behind it and was rallying around its national sports team. The article implies that Petraeus himself didn’t know that the posters hadn’t been produced to meet the demand of some upwelling of sports fever in Iraq, but had been manufactured by a U.S. PsyOps team.