Friday, January 1, 2016

information war

Karen DeYoung reports that President Obama has ordered an increase in messaging about administration policy against ISIL in order to build support among a skeptical American public. My first reaction was that this was another effort to defend the policy by repetition rather than by logic and evidence. It also looks like blaming the public for "not getting it" rather than the policymakers for not making it coherent and effective.

On the other hand, this political season allows critics to fulminate without offering specific alternatives of their own. For that reason alone, the administration needed to step up its information war. I think the President failed to rally public opinion by his oval office speech because he gave too much emphasis to what he wasn't doing [getting involved in another big land war in the Middle East] compared to what he was doing [vigorous targeting of ISIL leadership and as much support as the Iraqi government was willing to accept].

DeYoung reports that the administration is also coordinating its efforts much better, so that military reporters learn about financial and diplomatic efforts and vice versa. This is a multi-pronged fight, Officials hope, and I agree, that reporters have an obligation to challenge candidates on what they would do and not let them escape with vague phrases.

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