Pentagon Memo Reveals Launch of New PR War
By Lolita C. Baldor
The Associated Press
Monday 30 October 2006
Washington - The Pentagon is buttressing its public relations staff and starting an operation akin to a political campaign war room as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld faces intensifying criticism over the Iraq war.
In a memo obtained by the Associated Press, Dorrance Smith, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, said new teams of people will "develop messages" for the 24-hour news cycle and "correct the record."
The memo describes an operation modeled after a political campaign - such as that made famous by Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential race - calling for a "Rapid Response" section for quickly answering opponents' assertions.
Another branch would coordinate "surrogates." In political campaigns, surrogates are usually high-level politicians or key interest groups who speak or travel on behalf of a candidate or an issue.
The plan would focus more resources on so-called new media, such as the Internet and Weblogs. It would also include new workers to book civilian and military guests on television and radio shows.
Pentagon press secretary Eric Ruff did not provide the exact number of people to be hired, or the costs.
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