A controversial article written for the U.S. Special Forces Command in 2006, which recommends that the military co-opt the blogosphere in a number of ways to improve its public image, has surfaced this week. Both the authors and DoD spokespeople assert that the article was more of “an academic exercise,” and it is unclear whether military has acted upon the methods the study advocates.
The study, Blogs and Military Information Strategy, recommends both using active soldiers as PR bloggers and also “clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers” to write sympathetic pieces about DoD operations. The report also includes strategies for undermining “enemy” blogs, including hacking to change content and destroy credibility.
The authors do acknowledge the danger inherent in systematically deceiving audiences, citing a public outcry over the U.S. military’s practice of ghostwriting pro-American articles to be inserted into Iraqi newspapers.