Monday, January 05, 2009

Israel follows US lead—planting blog comment propaganda

Remember when the US military got a lot of negative publicity for "planting" favorable stories in US media and blog sites? I recall another story about military "bloggers" planting positive comments about the Iraq War in blogs, but can't seem to find it online...

Gaza: Foreign Ministry Media Manipulation

Jan 5th, 2009 by Richard Silverstein | 0

The hasbara brigade strikes again! You always hear about Israeli attempts at media manipulation. Everyone knows it’s going on but usually the process happens through dedicated volunteers like those involved with Giyus. Now, we know that the Israeli foreign ministry itself is orchestrating propaganda efforts designed to fill news websites with pro-Israel arguments and information.

A friend has received the following e mail which documents both the efforts and the agency that originated them. The solicitation to become a propagandist also includes a list of media links which the ministry would like flooded with pro-Israel comments:

Dear friends,

We hold the military supremacy, yet fail the battle over the international media. We need to buy time for the IDF to succeed, and the least we can do is spare some (additional) minutes on the net. The ministry of foreign affairs is putting great efforts in balancing the media, but we all know it’s a battle of numbers. The more we post, blog, talkback, vote - the more likely we gain positive sentiment.

I was asked by the ministry of foreign affairs to arrange a network of volunteers, who are willing to contribute to this effort. If you’re up to it you will receive a daily messages & media package as well as targets.

If you wish to participate, please respond to this email.

My friend did so and received this official communique from the ministry with talking points about Operation Solid Lead which s/he was to use in her/his propaganda efforts. Here are the links s/he was asked to respond to:

English (comment on Anti-Israeli posts, post your own)



Material to use

Video - Israel history in 10 minutes -

Amid Gaza violence, Israeli and Palestinian doctors save baby’s life -

– CNN’s Amanpour interviews Tzipi Livni -

Military incursion should be seen as part of War on Terror,

Blog from Southern Israel, Morit Rozen -

If you visit any of those articles you will identify the hasbaraniks easily through the pseudo-polite style they adopt and the programed arguments they advance.

Remember when the defense department was paying public relations companies to insert articles praising the Iraq war in U.S. newspapers? There rightly was a media uproar about the manipulation. We’ll see whether the same happens over this.

I just hope the foreign ministry doesn’t get a pass on this one. They view this as maximizing their efforts to “explain” Israel’s position in the world media. I view it as a cynical attempt to flood the web and news media with favorable flackery in a vain attempt to tilt the war effort favorably toward Israel. Not only does it do Israel a disservice, it stains every legitimate effort that the ministry might make to explain Israel to the world, since no one will believe a word it says knowing it engages in such outright propaganda efforts.

Not to mention that this is such cheap pennyante s(^t. What do they gain by this? How effective can it be and how many can be convinced? By the way, I’ve even noticed the hasbaraniks here in this blog. You can tell them a mile away because they’ve never published a comment before yet write something like: “I’ve enjoyed your blog for a long time, but anyone with a brain in their head knows that Hamas is out to destroy Israel blah, blah blah.” Pretty formulaic stuff. Also, you can Google a few phrases of the comment and if you find it appears elsewhere on the web you know you either have a hasbaranik or someone who has repetition compulsion.

In the meantime, over 500 Gazans are dead. An entire family of seven killed in their home. Claims are flying that Israel is using depleted uranium, cluster bombs and white phosphorus munitions. But thank God, hasbara never sleeps.

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