Wikileaks Documents Show U.S. Hand in Afghanistan Media

Wikileaks’ Sunday data dump of 90,000-plus U.S. military documents concerning the war effort in Afghanistan has yielded evidence that the U.S. is running a payola scam of sorts with local media in the war-torn country.

John Cook of Yahoo News writes: “Several reports from Army psychological operations units and provincial reconstruction teams … show that local Afghan radio stations were under contract to air content produced by the United States. Other reports show U.S. military personnel apparently referring to Afghan reporters as “our journalists” and directing them in how to do their jobs.”

Cook observes that a similar strategy deployed in Iraq backfired, and says that USAID had touted one on-the-take Afghan radio station,
Radio Ghaznawiyaan, as a budding local-media triumph. “So its listeners may be surprised to learn that it is an outlet for paid U.S. ‘PSYOP radio content.'”

As some pundits express boredom over the Wikileaks data, other writers are wrestling with the volumes of primary documents to test them for news value. We’re beginning to wonder if the jaded commentators yawned too soon.