Commentary: Dumping media analysis contract was a wise move

Don’t try to put a pretty face on wars

Maintaining public support for U.S. involvement in two wars is difficult for any administration.

George W. Bush faced it when he was president; now Barack Obama does. But it doesn't benefit any president or the military to try to hamstring press coverage of the wars in an effort to gain favorable public backing.

It always works against the administration once the shenanigans are revealed. Stars and Stripes, an editorially independent newspaper that receives Defense Department funding, recently reported that the U.S. military had a contract with a private public relations firm based in Washington, D.C., to "profile" journalists. The Rendon Group rated journalists' previous work as "positive," "negative" or "neutral."

Stars and Stripes reported that the secret profiles were used by military officials to prevent "disfavored reporters" from being embedded with the troops in Afghanistan. U.S. military officials deny the allegation, saying the reports provided background information on the journalists enabling commanders to know about the reporters assigned to their units and the topics that might interest those journalists.

However, authorities were wise to terminate the $1.5 million media analysis contract. It didn't pass the smell test of the military trying to control the independent work of the press.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.