How do you make a very unpopular war ring favorably to Americans surfing the net? Pay the bloggers to spin your message. Just don’t tell anyone.
Danger Room reporter Noah Shachtman uncovered a 2006 report written for U.S. Special Operations Command that suggests “clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers.”
"Hiring a block of bloggers to verbally attack a specific person or promote a specific message may be worth considering," write the report's co-authors, James Kinniburgh and Dororthy Denning.
Admitting the creepiness of this idea, the authors continue:
…Such operations can have a blowback effect, as witnessed by the public reaction following revelations that the U.S. military had paid journalists to publish stories in the Iraqi press under their own names. People do not like to be deceived, and the price of being exposed is lost credibility and trust.Therefore, don't rely on the bloggers to sell out, simply create your own propaganda machine.
An alternative strategy is to “make” a blog and blogger… (T)here are people in the military today who like to blog. In some cases, their talents might be redirected toward operating blogs as part of an information campaign.A spokesman for the U.S. Special Operations Command called the report a “thought provoking” “academic exercise” and said the views expressed don’t represent those of the U.S. Government or Department of Defense.
The 33 page report (download the PDF) also highlights the relationship between mainstream media and the blogs, opening with the story of how right leaning sites like Free Republic and Little Green Footballs took down CBS news and Dan Rather in the now infamous Killian memo forgery.