Ahmed Chalabi: Five Years Later

ARoston_3_21.jpgThe Iraq war is five years old, the U.S. death toll has hit 4,000, and media coverage has declined, “from an average of 15% of news output last August to just 3% in February this year,” according to a Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism study.

Meanwhile, NBC News investigative producer Aram Roston has a book out on the man who many say “duped” journalists in the months leading to war: Ahmad Chalabi.

From a Roston interview with TVNewser:

“What most of the TV and print reporters weren’t really aware of was that Chalabi’s people used U.S. taxpayer funding to pay all that PR and propaganda,” Roston says. In fact, Chalabi and his team were so good at spin, they were even rewarded for it. Says Roston, “After the invasion, the INC [Iraqi National Congress] and its PR firm won an award from PR Week lauding them for their publicity skills.”

PRNewser tracked down a Guardian article covering the 2003 PR Week Awards, which states, “Then there was the bizarre spectacle of agency Burson Marsteller picking up a gong for best public affairs campaign for working with the Iraqi National Congress – a smashing PR success in every respect (‘Of particular importance was positioning INC founder Dr Ahmad Chalabi and other Iraqi opposition spokespeople as authoritative political leaders,’ read the award).”