In today's tour of state-sponsored propaganda, China's media mocks India, the Pentagon launches a misinformation campaign, the Cuban Central News Agency teams up with Occupy Wall Street, and a Communist newspaper is a capitalist success story. We begin in China.
In China, Size Matters
This week, China's regional foe India successfully launched a missile capable of striking deep within China's territory. China's media couldn't let India bask in its rocket glory so its state-run newspapers began bashing the Agni-V missile, calling it a "dwarf" when compared to China's own missiles. "India should not overestimate its strength," read an editorial in the state-run English language newspaper Global Times. "For the foreseeable future, India would stand no chance in an overall arms race with China." An April 20 editorial in the state-run Huanqiu Shibao newspaper mocked India's "backwardness" and said its missile program was merely in "early childhood." Then there's the Communist Party organ Renmin Wang, which said the country's "very serious" social problems were preventing the country from attaining its "cherished... dream of becoming a major power." The Middling Kingdom doth protest too much!
The Pentagon Wages a Propaganda War Against USA Today
In a strange story today, USA Today alleges that in trying to report on a propaganda program carried out by the Pentagon, the Department of Defense waged a separate propaganda program against USA Today reporters Tom Vanden Brook and Ray Locker:
For example, Internet domain registries show the website TomVandenBrook.com was created Jan. 7 — just days after Pentagon reporter Tom Vanden Brook first contacted Pentagon contractors involved in the program. Two weeks after his editor Ray Locker's byline appeared on a story, someone created a similar site, RayLocker.com, through the same company.
The fake sites and Twitter accounts claimed the two reporters were in cahoots with the Taliban among other things. The Pentagon denied it was involved. "I find it creepy and cowardly that somebody would hide behind my name and presumably make up other names in an attempt to undermine my credibility," Vanden Brook said. After doing a little sleuthing, Gawker's John Cook says he discovered the military contractor the Pentagon used to run the misinformation campaign. Why the Pentagon thought this type of thing would deter a reporter is beyond us. If anything, the Pentagon trying to use Twitter to discredit you is just about the most ideal grist for a reporter to use in stories for days, if not weeks.
Cuban News Agency Teams Up with Occupy Wall Street
It's a match made in heaven—kind of. Outside of advertorials about Cuban cigars and rum, the state-owned Cuban Central News Agency devotes its coverage to the so-called "Cuban Five," a group of five Cuban intelligence officers convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage and murder in the U.S. It's a pretty convoluted case but suffice it to say the Cubans believe these five are in fact "antiterrorists." As such, the news agency is delighted that members of the OWS movement are taking up its cause. It reports today:
Alicia Jrapko, US Coordinator of the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five, told ACN news agency, via phone call, that among other activities they are carrying out in the US capital, several activists of the Occupy movement will join them on a march in front of the White House.
“We will be accompanied by Danny Glover, Saúl Landau, Salim Lamrani and Wayne Smith, among other personalities, and we hope many others join us today” Jrapko said.
We're not quite sure what to make of this but we'll keep our eye on Danny Glover this weekend in DC and report back. Viva la revolucion?
Communist Newspaper Is a Capitalist Success
The People's Daily has been the Chinese Communist Party's newspaper since 1948. It's so pinko commie the calligraphic title is a copy of Mao Zedong's original handwriting. That's why last week, we tipped you off that it was going public and now, it turns out, it's a total capitalist success story. "The listed company will have an initial market capitalization of $872 million, not far behind the $954 million value of the New York Times Co.," reports Bloomberg BusinessWeek's Dexter Roberts. The communist publication apparently went public so it could raise capital for investments in its technology including its mobile platform. As BusinessWeek's Roberts puts it: "Mao Zedong may be tossing in his mausoleum."